sustainable traveler

Eco-Friendly Tips to Be a More Sustainable Traveler

Tips to be a more sustainable traveler

Image by Te lensfix via Pexels

Every person has an individual carbon footprint they can try to downsize as much as possible by changing their behaviors and habits. One of these questionable activities is the way we travel and how it affects the ecosystems of our destinations. Thankfully, we are now more aware of climate change and environmental issues that affect the world, as well as of opportunities to help. 

So, when you consider your next destination, keep in mind these eco-friendly tips to be a sustainable traveler. Even the smallest efforts can make a difference in the future of the planet.     

Choose the shortest route

Every year, billions of people travel by plane to destinations all over the world. Based on estimates, by 2050, flight emissions are expected to triple in numbers, making up one-quarter of the total global carbon footprint. While flying is an essential means to travel, and therefore necessary, you can still prevent it from having such a high impact on the environment.

When booking a flight, choose the most direct route possible, since taking off and landing leaves the most carbon emissions behind. However, sometimes a direct route is not an option, so you should try plan B – carbon offset programs. Many companies offer this option to allow you to fund renewable energy and reforestation when you buy a plane ticket. It may not be ideal, but it’s still a way to bring positive change to environmental protection.

Stay at Eco-Friendly Accommodations

Choosing eco-friendly accommodations is also important to be a sustainable traveler. You can stay with friends or family, but in case you don’t have any familiar faces where you are traveling, decide on green options. These include hotels, apartments, camps and other accommodations dedicated to minimizing environmental impact.

For example, look for hotels using solar energy, ones with recycling programs and those who hire local employees. You can check all this by going to the hotel’s website to look for certification programs that will confirm their green and eco-friendly practices. 

Lend a Hand to Local Communities

If you are looking for new challenges and ways to help the planet, consider traveling to volunteer abroad. Animal care, environmental conservation and humanitarian aid are some of the projects you can apply for in countries like Nepal, Tanzania and Thailand. As part of the volunteer programs, you will stay in homestays and have a more immersive experience of the chosen destination.

This is a unique opportunity to make a difference and inspire others to follow suit. A lot of communities around the world lack basic amenities such as housing, sewer and electricity. Not only will you help build infrastructures, but also learn more about a sustainable way of life and its importance in reducing one’s carbon footprint. 

Reducing Your Emissions Footprint

Public transportation is more eco-friendly than renting a car, although you can save money and the environment by sharing rides. For example, if you join group tours, they often come with transportation arrangements, like a charter bus. 

Walking and cycling are the most eco-friendly ways to get around town and sites, not to mention a more personal experience of local culture and people. To reduce carbon emissions, some countries use electricity-powered public transportation, such as electric rickshaws in Thailand, Nepal, India, China and Japan.   

Use Reusable Items

The least you can do is use reusable items during your travels. This includes bringing a water bottle you can fill up at the public drinking taps, hotels or restaurants. However, please note, some countries may not have drinkable tap water, so you won’t have an option but to buy bottled water at the stores. 

If that’s the case, you can still go green by using other reusable items. For example, instead of plastic bags bring a canvas one with you to use when shopping. Some hygiene products, like a menstrual cup and facial cotton pads, are also useful to bring with you in order to reduce waste, especially if you are going in nature.     

Go to Less Visited Destinations

When choosing a destination, you should pick places that don’t have a lot of tourist traffic or allow only a limited number of people. For example, even if you go to popular places, go on hikes designed to take you off the beaten path to minimize the wearing down of the natural environment. This comes from the fact that a large number of people in one place leaves a bigger carbon footprint, as well as brings more degradation to the environment.

An alternative is to travel during low or off seasons when the destination sees the fewest tourists. Besides being sustainable, this is also the period when you will pay less for more options when it comes to accommodations and attractions. Sometimes more interesting things are found in less traveled places than in those overflowing with tourists.   

The Bottom Line

Even the smallest effort on your part can contribute to the collective action to reduce carbon emissions and save the planet. One of these eco-friendly tips to be a sustainable traveler is enough to help the ongoing battle against global warming and climate change. But if you choose all, the chances to leave a healthier world to future generations are significantly higher.

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