Taking a vacation can be a fantastic way to expand your worldview and experience another culture. However, it's important to be mindful of the impact our travels can have on the environment. If you're looking to take more sustainable vacations, here are some tips on how to make them as environmentally friendly and socially aware as possible.
6 tips for a sustainable travel
1. Choose alternative forms of transportation, like public transit
Air travel has a significant impact on the environment, emitting about 2.5% of global carbon dioxide emissions. Consider reducing your air travel and opt for other forms of transportation while on vacation, such as trains or buses. This way, you can reduce your emissions while potentially gaining more views of a new place!
If you're forced to travel by car, try keeping it to a minimum. If you're in a city, riding a bike or walking can be great options that are also beneficial for your health! Additionally, ride-sharing services like Uber or Lyft with carpool options can help reduce carbon emissions. Don’t be afraid to try something new and get out of the car every once in a while!
Public transportation is a sustainable and convenient way to get around during your vacation. It reduces carbon emissions and can be an affordable adventure. Learning about public transport in another country or location can be a fun challenge that’s worth the extra effort.
Private vehicles contribute significantly to carbon emissions, so when exploring a new city, consider utilizing the available public transportation options like buses, trains, and trams. It’s a great way to see a new place, and can often take you closer to your destination for cheaper when compared to other modes of travel.
2. Stay in green and eco-friendly accommodations
If you’re interested in taking more responsible vacations, it’s important to choose accommodations that prioritize eco-friendly practices. Look for hotels and resorts that have a focus on sustainability. These establishments often have practices in place that benefit both the planet and your wallet. For example, they may use energy-efficient appliances or green energy sources, and pursue initiatives that reduce the waste typically associated with hotels.
When it comes to choosing the perfect eco-friendly accommodation, it's essential to do some research. Luckily, with the power of the internet, you have a wealth of information at your fingertips. Take some time to explore the websites of your potential accommodations and delve into the exciting world of their eco-friendly initiatives. You may learn of their environmental efforts, from water conservation practices to recycling programs. By becoming an informed traveler, you can make choices that align with your values and contribute to a greener future.
Not only will eco-friendly accommodations give you a warm and fuzzy feeling for doing your part in preserving our beautiful planet, but they can also offer unique experiences. Picture waking up in a resort nestled amidst lush greenery, surrounded by nature. By selecting this eco-conscious haven, rather than a traditional hotel, you can enjoy a comfortable stay while becoming part of a global movement towards sustainable travel.
3. Support the local economy
By consciously choosing local businesses, travelers can contribute to the economic growth and well-being of the destination. One way to support the local economy is by opting for locally-owned accommodations such as bed and breakfasts, guesthouses, or locally-operated hotels. These establishments often have a smaller carbon footprint compared to large international hotel chains. The money spent there tends to directly benefit the local community, helping to create jobs.
Dining at traditional restaurants and purchasing food from local markets is another effective way to support the local economy. By indulging in regional cuisine and local specialties, travelers not only experience authentic flavors, but also reduce the carbon footprint associated with long-distance food transportation.
To go one step further, try exploring local markets rather than major chain souvenir shops. Buying souvenirs from local artisans provides unique, one-of-a-kind keepsakes while supporting local craftsmanship and cultural heritage. This can help you foster a stronger connection to the destination you’re visiting, and supports a craftsman’s small business! Explore Sunday produce markets with this sustainable and chic shopping bag!
4. Eat local foods and drink local beverages
Eating at restaurants that serve local fare helps sustain small businesses and promotes the culture of the destination you're visiting. Eating local foods while traveling also reduces your contribution to global carbon emissions by minimizing the transportation distance between the source of the food and the consumer.
Plus, local food systems often prioritize sustainable farming practices, resulting in lower energy inputs, reduced pesticide use, and overall lower greenhouse gas emissions compared to industrialized agriculture. You’ll be supporting local farmers and agriculturists while getting a true taste of the local cuisine.
Before your trip, research nearby restaurants that offer local cuisine or ask your hotel concierge for recommendations. Trying local food and beverages is a memorable way to immerse yourself in the local culture while still supporting sustainable tourism.
To up your sustainability game, bring along a stainless steel lunchbox for any leftovers from cool new restaurants you might try. These reusable lunchboxes are easy to clean and are the perfect food storage solution for your on-the-go travel needs.
5. Research the location thoroughly before you go
To become a better traveler, it's important to learn about the place you're visiting, what's happening there, and what the local people think.
If the locals or native groups are telling tourists to hold off on coming, it's a good idea to listen. Sometimes, popular tourist spots get too crowded, and the area can't handle all the visitors. This is known as mass tourism, and it’s becoming more and more of a problem around the world.
During the busy summer season, there may not be enough water and electricity because of population pressure. In that case, it's better to find a different place that can handle lots of tourists and save the other destination for a better time.
Local tour guides and people in the tourism industry might have important messages for visitors, too. They might want you to take certain precautions to protect the environment. For instance, they could ask you to clean your shoes before and after hikes to stop the spread of harmful plants or use a specific sunscreen to keep coral reefs healthy. Knowing and following these rules helps keep tourism sustainable in the place you're visiting.
Another thing to watch out for is unexpected emergencies. Travelers who don't research their activities well can end up needing help from local authorities and healthcare services, costing the local government a lot of money. Some tourists go on dangerous hikes without proper preparation, get dehydrated, or get hurt and need rescuing. This takes resources away from the local community. Knowing this, it's important to research and be prepared for the activities you plan to do on vacation.
By learning about the place you're visiting, you show respect for the location and the people who live there. It also makes your experience better because of the gained background knowledge! Some travelers make the mistake of treating their destination like their own personal playground, only thinking about their enjoyment. While the places we travel to can be amazing locations for self-discovery and exploration, they are also places in their own right, and deserve respect.
Consider using a sustainability travel agent or a booking site specially designed for sustainable travel, like bookdifferent.com. In most cases, spending 30 minutes online can bring you a wealth of information about tourism and sustainable tourism in the destination you’re planning to visit. It could even lead you to discover exciting new ideas for activities or things to see – without disrupting local livelihoods or ecosystems.
6. Use sustainable travel gear
Of course, at Green Eco Dream this is our specialty. Bringing a select few special items along on your trip can help greatly reduce the amount of waste you create while traveling. You’ll also be supporting brands that are genuinely trying to improve the sustainability of the travel industry.
Rather than buying plastic water bottles whenever you are thirsty, bring your own personalized reusable bottle that can be refilled wherever there’s a safe tap. If you’re concerned about the safety of the drinking water, you can even bring along water filter pods that are easy to travel with. Cutting down on your plastic usage alone is a great way to reduce your impact. A lot of the time, local waste management systems struggle to keep up with the amount of waste that tourists create.
Worried about using unsustainable products because they’re the only ones available in a travel size? Worry no more! Our website features sustainable travel-sized health & beauty products from toothpaste to hand & body cream. These products are low waste, all-natural, good for you and safe for our planet.
Making An Effort
Our planet is full of amazing opportunities, but if we continue to travel without considering sustainability and ethical practices, we risk losing these precious experiences. By even making a small effort, you can make a big difference in your environmental and social impact while traveling!
One effective step we can take is by adopting more sustainable travel practices and actively caring for the environment. The suggestions mentioned earlier are just a starting point, offering you a glimpse of how you can contribute to making a positive impact while exploring the world. Remember that there are numerous other ways you can participate in making a difference and traveling in an eco-friendly manner.
Let's work together to create a brighter and more responsible future for our planet through mindful travel choices. Shop sustainable travel essentials today and save 10% with the code: BLOG10.
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