Living an eco-friendly lifestyle doesn’t stop when you go on vacation (or holiday if you’re British!). However, not many people know how to travel sustainably. Plus, with the millions of people that travel every day, it’s easy to forget about reducing your carbon emissions. To help you maintain your pact of going green and reduce the impact you have on the Earth, follow the tips below to make your next vacation eco-friendly.
1. Use Eco-Friendly Transportation
Instead of booking a flight, you should travel by train instead. Not only will you be lowering your carbon emissions, but you will also be traveling more slowly, which means you have more time to appreciate the places that you’re in. A few great train travel destinations in the world include India, China, and the African continent.
If you do have to book a flight for your travels, you should take non-stop flights. This helps lower your plane’s carbon emissions from the number of takeoffs and landings.
When you’re out sightseeing, you should walk, cycle, or use rideshare services to get to and from destinations, instead of renting a car. Not only are they healthier alternatives to the planet, but they’re also cheaper than booking a cab or renting a vehicle.
While you’re traveling, one of the best things you can do to help lower your carbon footprint is to take public transportation. It’s cheaper than other transportation options and it also lets you appreciate the local area more.
2. Avoid Plastic
Do yourself and the environment a huge favour and stop using plastic water bottles and trash bags. Also, start working on recycling throughout your travels and cut down on waste. The Great Pacific Garbage Patch is a large mass of plastic waste in the Pacific Ocean that has accumulated over the past hundred years. However, if it breaks down, it can seriously endanger surrounding ecosystems.
Keeping this in mind, do your part by not adding your recycling to this mass. Work on buying locally bottled water in recyclable bottles made of glass and using tote bags instead of plastic bags.
If you’re staying at a hotel, you should ask the front desk if they have a recycling program. However, if the hotel you’re staying at doesn’t recycle, think about taking your bottles and other plastic items home and recycle them then. Not only will this help you lower your carbon footprint, but it will make you feel better about helping the environment.
3. Support Local Businesses
No matter where you travel, you should make it a point to support the local economy and purchase locally made products. When looking for souvenirs, buy crafts and products that were made locally. Though these may cost a little bit more, they will have a direct, positive impact on the area that you are visiting and its economy. Try to avoid buying items that were made and shipped overseas. These products have a large carbon footprint.
You should apply the same principles when looking for a restaurant or grocery store to buy food. Try to purchase produce from a local market. Also, ensure that any restaurant or bar you eat at serves locally grown foods.
When buying products on your trip, avoid purchasing wildlife products. This includes purchasing seashells, plant products, and items made from animals. You should be especially mindful when looking at products made from endangered animals. If you do buy these items, you are only contributing to a growing marketplace of rare and endangered animals being trafficked for souvenirs and wildlife products. Avoid supporting this practice and just look for a different souvenir. Also, you will most likely not be able to get these items through customs anyway.
4. Research Your Tour Groups
Joining a tour group is a great way to see the popular attractions in the area where you are traveling, learn about the history and culture of the region, and even meet some other tourists. When you join a tour group, however, make sure you do your research ahead of time.
Determine if the company that runs the tour practices sustainability and gives back to the community that it shows off. Also, try to find tours that operate with smaller groups. Travelling with a small group has less of an environmental impact, so be sure to ask the tour guide about group size, too.
5. Be Mindful When Hiking
If you plan on going hiking during your trip, make sure you stick to the marked trails. Otherwise, you may disturb your natural surroundings or get lost in an unfamiliar area. Also, you should remember to maintain a safe distance from any animals that you may come across.
Do not throw any trash on the ground. Instead, place it in the marked containers or carry it with you when you leave the hiking trail. Additionally, you should only light campfires in the designated areas. When you leave, make sure you completely extinguish the flames. Otherwise, you can start a forest fire and cause a lot of damage.
About the author:
Craig is an American who loves to spend as much time as he can outdoors and he is an advocate for the wild. He runs the Green and Growing blog and regularly writes and edits content about the environment and sustainability.