The thrill of setting foot on new soil, the buzz of a bustling local market, or the serenity of a secluded mountain trail: the joys of travel are numerous. Yet, the passion for globe-trotting presents innumerable challenges for the environment and local societies. The answer? Eco-exploration!
Often integrated into concepts like “ecotourism” or “sustainable travel,” this refers to the practice of exploring natural areas while minimizing negative environmental impact. Additionally, eco-exploration should also positively impact the well-being of local communities and ecosystems.
Here are our top sustainable travel tips so you can indulge your wanderlust and still uphold your eco-warrior conscience.
Opt for Eco-Friendly Transport
Transportation is a massive contributor to the world’s carbon emissions. While reaching our dream destinations is essential, how we get there is equally significant. For those shorter hops, trains usually make an excellent alternative to airplanes, offering scenic views while producing a fraction of the emissions.
Then, upon reaching your destination, the simple joys of walking or cycling can be both an immersive experience and an eco-conscious choice. If you need to cover longer distances, think public transport or carpooling. Sharing your journey with others reduces individual carbon footprints and can lead to unexpected friendships along the way.
Stay in Sustainable Accommodations
The place you choose to lay your head can be more than a bed for the night; it can be a statement of intent. This is why a wave of sustainable accommodations has swept across the world. Not only are these places luxurious and comfortable, but they also observe responsible practices. Seek out those establishments that champion renewable energy, introduce water-saving techniques, and incorporate eco-friendly products in their daily operations.
Also, consider accommodations that embed themselves within the local community. For instance, you can ask about their hiring practices or whether they source local goods. Doing so helps ensure that the economic benefits of tourism are more equitably shared.
Pack Light and Smart
Every traveler knows the challenge of packing, but making environmental choices here can make a world of difference. Lighter luggage means less fuel consumed during transport. Plus, opting for reusable items like water bottles, cutlery, and shopping bags can drastically reduce plastic waste. Similarly, biodegradable toiletries minimize harm to the local water ecosystems.
Adapt a Slow Travel Philosophy
Slow travel is the art of immersing oneself deeply into a destination, often staying longer in one place and soaking up its essence. It reduces the frequent, often environmentally taxing transitions between locations and promotes a deeper understanding and respect for local cultures. The benefits? Richer experiences and reduced carbon footprints from decreased transit.
Support Local Businesses
When we travel, how we spend can play a role in sustaining local farmers and regional economies. Instead of international chains, dine in local eateries where the food is authentic, fresh, and hasn’t traveled thousands of miles to reach your plate. Buying handcrafted goods directly from local artisans can help preserve age-old crafts and traditions. This also ensures that money goes straight into the hands of creators.