Sustainable travel (also known as responsible tourism) simply involves being culturally and socially aware of your effect on the places you visit and trying to make a positive impact on the ecosystem. It is a universal term that encompasses all ethical issues like conservation, wildlife, tourism, volunteering abroad for a good cause among others.
Here are 15 sustainable travel tips you can use to enhance the positive impact of your next trip.
- Visit local restaurants instead of crowded restaurants. You’ll avoid crowds, the food will likely be healthier and your patronage will provide tourism revenue they need to stay in business.
- Think local… You’re on holiday to experience new cultures so try some of the local foods that feature fresh ingredients from the vicinity. Buy local souvenirs and enjoy the local culture. Where possible, hire a local tour guide to get a better understanding of the area and provide income for local people.
- Immerse yourself in the local scene; experience the music, explore the local art scene, discover cultural differences but respect local traditions because this is what sustainable travelling entails
- The Great Pacific Garbage Patch, a huge mass of human trash across thousands of miles includes bags, disposable cups, straws, lids, condiment packets, Styrofoam, among others. A good option is to dine in to avoid the large amount of waste that accompanies eating out.
- Slow travel is taking over and you can become part of the trend by going to fewer places and spending more time where you visit. Train travel reduces your carbon footprint. If you have to fly, book non-stop flights to decrease carbon emissions from landings and take-off.
- When booking a hotel, look for green hotels that conserve energy and promote local produce. Such as hotels that use wind power or solar energy.
- When you go out, instruct housekeeping not to clean your room daily. This way you save on electricity washing bed linens, vacuuming and harsh chemicals used as cleaning agents.
- Use one bar soap for shower, sink, and take the soap with you at checkout or the hotel throws it out.
- Pack light, you burn less fuel with fewer luggage. You can swap books, clothes or magazines with other tourists rather than shopping new stuff. Your items should be easy to wash and quick dry so you can repeat severally during your trip.
- Most of the popular tourist attractions like South Africa, Kenya, Thailand, Indonesia, among others have some of the poorest people in the world. School supplies such as books, writing materials and shoes will go a long way in improving the quality of education the local kids require. Visit foundations like Pack For A Purpose to find out what materials they are require urgently.
- If you’re travelling in a group, pool your resources together for a road trip and increase fuel efficiency by 33% when you drive within speed limits. Alternatively, you could rent a hybrid or electric car reduces fuel consumption by over 50%.
- Do not take photos with Tigers as most of the parks and zoos that offer this service are involved in forced breeding, wildlife trafficking and malnutrition. Furthermore, if your guide asks if you want to walk with lions or ride elephants, say no as this promotes the industry that abuses thousands of animals annually.
- Don’t support businesses or tourist attractions that put animals on show. Avoid bear shows because the animals have undergone dreadful surgeries to declaw them and make the encounters safe for tourist.
- If you really want an animal selfie as a memorabilia from your trip, volunteer at a wildlife shelter that caters for orphaned or injured animals.
- Consider choosing a tour operator that has a wonderful track record for environmentally friendly practices. Ensure they support cultural heritage, wildlife and promote local communities where they visit. Do your research when shopping for travel cover on your trip too. Some companies are eco-tourism friendly and you support their efforts when you purchase a plan with them.
Read the small print and read the about pages of the places you buy. Support local and think green. You really can make a difference if you make the sustainable choice.