Traveling has its perks. There’s no doubt that sustainable travel is an incredible way to expand your horizons and see the world. You can visit new places and meet new people, expanding your perspective and enriching your life in the process. But how you travel can have just as big of an impact on your experience — not to mention on the environment and your wallet.
There are several ways to travel sustainably, but it’s important to know what they are to choose the most appropriate one for each trip you take. This guide will take you through all of these options, so you’re prepared no matter what kind of travel comes up next on your itinerary.
What is sustainable travel?
According to the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), sustainable travel (tourism) takes complete account of its current and future economic, social and environmental impacts, addressing the needs of visitors, the industry, the environment, and host communities.
Sustainable tourism is the practice of traveling in a way that supports the protection and conservation of our natural environment. It strives to ensure that visits have a minimal negative impact on the places visited and on the local people who live there. By following certain practices, we can travel sustainably and ensure that our trips are eco-friendly while maximizing enjoyment and minimizing harm.
Sustainable transportation options
One of the best ways to get involved in sustainable travel is by choosing eco-friendly transportation options. One easy option is to use public transportation such as trains and buses. Another option is taking a bicycle or walking. For air travel, choose eco-friendly airlines such as Alaska Airlines due to their significant investment in Sustainable Aviation Fuel.
If you’re flying, there are several factors to consider for the most environmentally friendly flight. These factors include the distance, duration, and whether you’ll travel alone or with others. You may use Google Flights to find out which flight has the fewest carbon emissions. As part of Google’s new sustainability drive, it would be beneficial if you also looked into the waste and recycling practices, carbon emissions, and other short- and long-term sustainable travel objectives of the greenest airlines.
Reducing your carbon footprint while traveling
For most of us, traveling is a thrilling and unforgettable experience, full of chances to visit well-known locations, get to know new people, enjoy unique cuisine, and even make new friends. But amidst all the fun, it’s simple to overlook how much our vacations and business travel affect the environment.
The carbon footprint of your trip can be influenced by various elements, including your mode of transportation, your lodging preferences, your dining habits, and even the items in your suitcase. When you fly, you can significantly lessen your environmental impact by making wiser decisions. Your environmental impact isn’t defined by a single activity, just like in your daily life, but rather by a mixture of many smaller ones that pile up over time. Additionally, you can buy carbon offsets to make up for those inevitable emissions and help the environment.
Choosing green accommodations
There are various strategies to lessen the carbon footprint of your lodging, regardless of the type of accommodation you select to stay in—hotel/resort, Airbnb/rental, or hostel.
Asking for a green room, where the hotel has made steps to reduce energy use, is one sustainable travel advice for travelers. For instance, several lodging establishments no longer give visitors plastic water bottles in favor of eco-friendly reusable water bottles.
Always keep an eye on your room’s thermostat and avoid preheating or precooling it while you are out. Make careful to switch off the lights when you leave as another way to save electricity. Try not to wash your towels every day to conserve water.
Supporting local economies when you travel
Supporting local economies is a great way to travel sustainably and in an eco-friendly fashion. Supporting local economies will help you stay connected with the people and culture of the place you’re visiting, not to mention you’ll be helping make your trip more affordable. And if you’re a business traveler, think of how much money your company could save by investing in sustainable travel options.
To promote ecotourism, ensure you support local economies by going to local restaurants or buying souvenirs like artisans made by local people at local shops.
Sustainable travel is one way you can make a difference in preserving the environment. You are part of the solution by choosing eco-friendly hotels, taking public transportation, and staying off the beaten path.
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