With more than a million people traveling internationally every year, tourism has undisputedly created a positive impact on the global economy. However, since most travelers are not environmentally conscious, it has also caused environmental damage. Even small changes in your travel routine can make a real difference and make this world a better place, one step at a time.
Don’t worry, eco-travel doesn’t have to break the bank. Just follow these simple tips and make your adventures more environmentally-friendly.
Say no to plastic bottles
As you probably know, there are a lot of places in the world where drinking tap water can lead to health problems. However, that doesn’t mean you should constantly buy plastic bottles in stores. Instead, invest in a water filter you will be able to use on your future travels and buy a reusable water bottle. In addition, you can also get water purification tablets which are a great budget-friendly option.
Don’t be one of those people who travel abroad and instead of seeking out traditional dishes they only eat at McDonald’s or go to Starbucks for their morning coffee. The best way to learn about a new culture is through their cuisine, so instead of eating the same thing you eat at home, try local meals which use local ingredients. Street food is not just inexpensive, but also a great way to experience what that particular region has to offer as well as benefit the local economy.
Make your flight a little greener
If you really need to travel by plane, there are some ways you can make your trip a little more eco-friendly. For example, pack as light as possible so you cut down on the weight of the airplane. Yes, packing can be stressful and boring, but by using packing cubes you will be able to easily organize your things and avoid packing unnecessary items. This way you will save fuel as well as baggage charges. In addition, you can choose airports that are doing their part for the environment. On the other hand, if you can opt for the train instead of a flight, do it! After all, rail is the most environment-friendly way to travel.
Who needs housekeeping?
Do you wash your sheets every day at home? Do you vacuum every day? Of course not, so why should you have your hotel room cleaned on a daily basis? You will do our planet a big favor just by hanging up a ‘Do not disturb’ sign on your door, since you will be saving the electricity needed to vacuum, and the water needed to wash linens. Speaking of hotel rooms, make sure you always turn off the lights and the AC when you go somewhere.
Choose not to see unethical animal attractions
Keep in mind, just because an attraction has the word ‘sanctuary’ in its name, doesn’t mean it is animal-friendly. Therefore, do your research before you book any animal-related tours. As a tourist you will surely take a lot of pictures, but make sure you only take photos from a safe distance allowing the animal to move freely.
Use your voice
If you see something is done right, whether in a hotel, restaurant, or someplace else, don’t hesitate to leave a positive review. Before your trip, contact places to check out their eco-credentials, so you support only those accommodations that are eco-friendly. A lot of hotels use renewable energy or have an effective waste management system in place, so ask around. On the other hand, you can always leave a comment and say what bothers you and offer suggestions on how it can be remedied.
Choose souvenirs carefully
When you go someplace your loved ones have never been, you surely want to bring them some interesting souvenirs. However, make sure they are not made from protected plants and endangered species. Unfortunately, not all souvenirs are legal, so before you make the purchase be sure to ask about the item, what it’s made of and where it came from.
Not all sunscreens are the same
If you are traveling during the summer, you will surely need to use sunscreen on a daily basis. However, keep in mind, some of these products may protect you, but will harm the environment. Some sunscreens contain harmful chemicals so, before you put your swimsuit on, be sure to use only biodegradable sunscreen products.
From the tiny insects to the majestic elephants, from flowering weeds to breathtaking oaks, from creeks to rivers and oceans, there are so many wonderful things to see in this world. By choosing to eco-travel you will avoid harming the environment while still being able to enjoy traveling the globe.