COVID-19 has completely upended daily activities and routines. Practically every aspect of life has been touched by the pandemic, whether you’re talking about social distancing and wearing face masks when you visit your favourite pub or working and attending school remotely.
Another major area of life that’s been affected — or more accurately halted — by the epidemic is travel. With each country in the EU constantly creating a menagerie of different regulations and gatherings of all sorts being regularly banned, everything from luxurious global vacations to small holiday get-togethers over the border has become difficult.
However, at some point, the pandemic-induced chaos will come to an end and travel will resume once again. The question is, how can you keep your travel sustainable in a post-COVID-19 world where everyone will now be aware of the added dangers of recklessly spreading germs when travelling? Here are a few suggestions to keep in mind as you plan out your future adventures.
Start Close to Home
While the pandemic remains an ongoing affair, it’s still possible to travel within the safety of your own hometown. You can do this in a few different ways:
- Look for local culinary or touristy hotspots that you haven’t yet been able to see yourself.
- Visit natural landmarks in your vicinity, from the Verdon Gorge to the Cliffs of Dover to the Alps, there’s always a natural phenomenon close by.
- Utilize remote options like “Covid-eos” to connect with others and learn about other locations without even needing to leave your home.
By looking local, you can explore both the natural and manmade wonders of your home region — and even sow the seeds for future travel by making national and international connections online. The best part is, the geographically limited characteristics of this kind of experience naturally reduces the impact that your travels will have on the environment, as well.
Batch Your Adventures
One of the simplest ways to reduce your impact as you get from point A to point B is by batching your adventures. Rather than spending a weekend across the pond in New York City or a week visiting Italy, plan less often multi-week trips that require as little long-distance travel as possible. Fly into Rome and then slowly move through France and Spain over the next few weeks, knocking three countries off of that ambitious bucket list with just two plane flights rather than six.
If you’re serious about the long-term travel option, the best way you can batch your adventures at minimal cost to the environment is by coupling your work and travel activities together. Look for a new position in a sustainable yet travel-heavy industry, such as becoming an international aid worker or travel nurse. This can allow you to both make a difference and see new places at the same time.
COVID-19 has rewritten the rulebook when it comes to safe interpersonal interactions, and there’s no guarantee that these guidelines will completely disappear once travelling becomes freer once again. By planning every trip well in advance, you give yourself a chance to research local rules and ordinances in your destination.
You can also use that time to look for more sustainable travel options, such as using trains, local bus systems, or even renting a bike — which happens to be the safest form of social distance travel, as well.
Don’t Leave Your Sustainable Mindset Behind
Finally, remember that when you travel you’re still on the same globe that you inhabit when you’re in your living room. In other words, the same sustainability principles that dictate your quiet rural English or busy Parisian lifestyles should also apply while you’re visiting Port-au-Prince or hiking Kilimanjaro.
From recycling and reusing items to avoiding unnecessary carbon emissions to considering where your food comes from, make an effort to carry all of your lifestyle choices over into your travel activities.
Now, it’s important to point out that many sustainable activities on the homefront won’t naturally translate to a travel setting easily. For instance, you can’t guarantee that a hotel will have high-efficiency heating or low-consumption water fixtures. However, it doesn’t change the fact that you should do your best to both live sustainably and support local sustainably-minded enterprises whenever you can locate and patronize them.
Keeping the Long-Term in Focus
The COVID-19 virus may be in the spotlight at the moment. However, there are still countless other important considerations that should not be lost in the pandemic chaos — including sustainability.
By doing things like planning ahead, exploring local regions, looking for sustainable travel options, and batching your trips you can ensure that your travels, whether tomorrow or a year in the future, remain both Earth-friendly and fun.
Most importantly, remember to maintain the right mindset as you travel. Don’t let a unique situation tempt you to abandon sustainable activity and eco-friendly thinking. Striving to maintain a sustainable travelling mindset throughout your adventures will enable you to thoroughly enjoy yourself with a clean conscience that you haven’t compromised on the Earth’s integrity in your attempt to see its wonders. On the contrary, you’ll be able to rest in the fact that you managed to successfully weave both terrestrial desires together.