Sustainable Travel: Tips for Travelling and Having a Better Impact
So if we want to keep traveling and exploring the Earth, we have to start taking better care of it. But sustainable travel is about more than reducing carbon emissions; It's also about supporting local communities. Travel in a way that reduces our environmental impact as well as our social impact. Travel in a way that benefits the local culture and economy rather than harms them. Travel with respect for both people and the planet.
By practicing sustainable tourism, we can have a positive impact on the world. And being a more sustainable traveler is not difficult. It is a matter of being alert and making the right decisions.
Enjoy a staycation
Traveling is not always about distance; It's about opening up to new experiences. You don't have to go far to get out of your comfort zone. There are probably a lot of new and exciting things you can do close to home. Instead of spending a lot of money and traveling to the other side of the world, you can also enjoy traveling locally.
Check into a hotel in your hometown and get a small accommodation, plan a weekend trip to a nearby city, take a road trip, or why not go camping somewhere in your state or country. We are so obsessed with seeing the world, when there are likely to be many beautiful places that you haven't visited nearby.
Avoid mass tourism destinations
If you don't want to contribute to the negative impact of over-tourism, you'd be better off avoiding popular destinations on your bucket list. Many places are popular for a reason, but suffer from mass tourism.
So instead of planning a trip to the most famous places, why not choose something away from the crowds? Avoid cities like Amsterdam, Venice, or Barcelona, or tourist spots like Dubrovnik, Phuket, and Bali.
There are many beautiful places on this earth, so focus on the hidden gems rather than the big ones. You will be able to enjoy your vacation without large crowds, have a more authentic cultural experience and a more authentic journey. In addition, you will also help these small communities by providing them with income from your visit. Do you want to do what others do?
Indulge in slow tourism
Can you also travel slower and take the time to explore a country or region? They often have more to offer than a single capital city.
Take this opportunity to immerse yourself in the local culture and explore the countryside. You can really relax and go at a comfortable pace, rather than constantly jumping from place to place, rushing through the big tourist attractions, and spending most of your trip in transit. Isn't it really a vacation?
If you have time, planning a long road trip rather than flying from one place to another is a great option. So instead of taking several short transcontinental trips a year, plan a big one.
Use local public transportation, bike or walk
The choice of sustainable transportation doesn't end when you arrive at your destination. So instead of renting a car, consider using public transportation. Even outside the cities, there may be local buses or shuttle buses to get around. Driving is a sustainable option when carpooling with as many people as possible, especially in an electric car. Does anyone travel by road?
Or maybe you go on a biking or hiking vacation! Of course, the most sustainable way to get around is on your feet. Walking is also a fun way to explore cities; It's free, healthy, and great for the environment. Plus, you can see and experience parts of the city that you would otherwise miss.
Hire a local guide
The best way to get to know a place is through the eyes of the locals. Choose a tour with a local guide who knows all the details of your city and country. Or opt for cultural exchanges with Airbnb experiences, like learning how to make pasta with a real Italian grandmother. Take the time to learn about the local culture and history - isn't that what makes traveling great?
Spend your money locally
Travel also has great potential to make a positive impact. Tourism generates a lot of money and many economies depend on it to a great extent. Unfortunately, much of this money disappears into the pockets of large corporations and corrupt government officials.
But there is an easy solution: spend locally. As a visitor, you have the option of supporting local businesses rather than large corporations and chains. Instead of waiting for your money to flow slowly, you are investing directly in local businesses.
Eat at local restaurants, shop at small local stores, and hire local guides and drivers. It may not always be convenient or cheap, but it packs a punch. You can choose to support local businesses that offer quality products, maintain traditional practices, and support the local community. This is particularly the case with women-owned businesses that often give women much-needed financial independence.
As good as it is for supporting the local economy, donating money can do more harm than good. Giving money to beggar children encourages them to drop out of school, and the money is often raised through organized begging circles. It is best if you donate the money to a local charity that helps these children and gives them opportunities to give them a better life.
Reduce your plastic waste
More than half of the 300 tons of plastic produced each year is single-use plastic. Think plastic water bottles, plastic bags, and disposable cutlery. All that plastic ends up in landfills, or worse still, in rivers or the sea. Plastic pollution is a big problem, especially when it ends up in our oceans. It is estimated that between 1.15 and 2.41 million tons of plastic end up in the sea each year. It pollutes the water and damages marine life. The same goes for plastic that ends up in fields, forests, and roadsides.
Fortunately, there is an easy way to combat this: avoid single-use plastic. Say no to straws and plastic bags and choose unpackaged products that are natural and compostable. Make a few simple changes to swap common travel products for more sustainable alternatives (see link below).
Whenever you need to dispose of something, try whenever possible to recycle or dispose of it properly. Do not throw trash! It is a simple matter of respecting the living environment of others as a guest. If you're not going to litter your own floor, why would you do it in someone else's home?
Use less of everything
Try to reduce overall waste. Be more aware of the amount of water and energy you use. Especially when traveling to areas that suffer from drought and shortages. Just keep in mind that a 30-minute shower reduces the clean drinking water available to someone else. Be a good guest and don't take more than you need.
Taking shorter showers, unplugging appliances, and turning off lights when you go out are small changes that add up over time. As a hotel guest, you can avoid having fresh sheets and towels every day and not turning off the air conditioning while you are away.
So these are some of the top ways you can start changing your travel style to make it more sustainable and have a better impact on the world and the places you visit. Of course, traveling is an incredible thing, and although we should not stop traveling, we should be more aware of how we travel.