Travellers are no longer satisfied with being mere beneficiaries of this amazing planet.
As the world slowly awakens to the impact irresponsible overtourism has on our environment, many are seeking more sustainable ways of travelling that would help preserve our planet and its wildlife for the next generation of adventurers.
Below are several tips to help you get started on becoming a sustainable traveller!
1. Locally-run lodgings and Green hotels
Deciding on the perfect accommodation is an experience almost as exciting as the adventure itself! From charming pine tree cottages nestled in the countryside to luxurious 5-star hotels planted in the middle of a metropolitan city, modern travellers have unfettered access to a great variety of eco-friendly options.
You can find out about the sustainability initiatives your chosen accommodation has committed to by visiting its website. Some of the common sustainability practices would include solar power, energy-efficient lighting, recycling and so on.
In the case where locally-run lodgings are not an available option, keep your eyes peeled for hotels that are LEED-certified. As the most widely used green building rating system in the world, LEED-certification provides a framework for energy-efficient and cost-saving green building.
As the awareness of sustainable travel gains traction on a global scale, travellers can look forward to more eco-friendly options in the future.
2. Eco-friendly modes of transportation
The harmful effects of automotive emission need no introduction. From poorer air quality to natural disasters, the means in which humanity uses to get ourselves from one place to another are hurting our planet.
Whenever possible, opt for more environmentally-friendly modes of transportation such as electric vehicles, bicycle, or even walking!
Choosing to ride a bicycle or walk would grant you a greater appreciation for your immediate environment, allowing for spontaneous exploration of curious alleyways and conversations with locals that aren’t possible when one is behind the steering wheel.
3. Eat and shop local
One of the best ways to reduce our carbon footprint is by eating and shopping sustainably. Instead of eating at Mcdonalds, why not treat your palate to exciting new flavours by eating at one of the local restaurants? Not to mention, your tastebuds (and waistline) will thank you later.
Be it at home or abroad, shopping has become a favourite pastime of modern life. While consumerism often results in excessive waste, sustainable shopping encourages travellers to only buy what they need and to purchase fewer but better quality products instead.
When choosing to dine at local eateries that use sustainably-sourced produce, or shop at local stores that do not depend on wasteful practices to produce their products, travellers are supporting jobs and generating income for the local community while caring for the environment.
4. Sustainable tours and activities
Before you exchange your hard-earned money for an afternoon of sightseeing and adventure, do some research to ensure that your tour operator is one that conducts eco-friendly tours that are free of unethical practices that may be harmful to the environment and its inhabitants.
Watch out for accreditations such as Bcorp, Green Business Bureau, TRUE, Rainforest Alliance, and other regulatory bodies. A quick search for reviews on third party websites such as Trip Advisor, The Culture Trip, and blogs written by reputable travel bloggers can prove insightful, especially the negative reviews that raise glaring environmental concerns of other travellers.
5. Personal sustainability tips
Lastly, every decision matters. Each action we take in and outside of the comfort of our hotel room contributes inevitably to the global conservation efforts.
Simple acts such as turning off the lights when not in use, taking shorter showers instead of long baths, opting for reusable personal cutlery and water bottles instead of plastic products made for single-use can be some of the ways in which we can contribute to the health of Mother Nature.
For folks who live for the great outdoors, consider bringing along a solar-powered phone charger as a more eco-friendly alternative. What better way to keep our devices juiced up while the skin soaks up all the sunlight it needs for that healthy tan!