All about sustainable traveling!
Updated: Jul 6, 2020
In the wake of the pandemic, it is important to realize the impact of our actions on the environment. We might have seen social media posts about how, 'When the world stays home, the planet benefits' depicting the surprisingly clear water in Venice or clearer air due to reduction of nitrogen gas emissions in most countries. All of these instances instills a responsibility in us to do better and you can do better when you choose to travel sustainably!
So, What is sustainable traveling?
Travel is all about understanding and developing a connection with the culture, lifestyles, and customs of a new place. Sustainable traveling is the concept of visiting somewhere as a tourist and trying to make a positive impact on the environment, society, and economy.
We've curated a list of things you can implement to travel more responsibly!
1. When you travel internationally, travel intentionally:
A 2018 study published in Nature Climate Change showed that emissions from tourism add up to 8% of the global total, with flying making up the largest share of this. We often tend to hop on to planes to explore different places all around the world in a single year and contribute on a major scale. You can reduce the number of trips you go on by exploring a place for a longer time or in the off season which in turn enriches your travel experience. How we fly matters a lot too and it is always better to choose airlines who are conscious about their carbon emission offsetting and choose economy class over business class seats as they result in reduced carbon footprints. You can also consider volunteering or travel and learning opportunities to extend your stay and make it more meaningful. Sailing is a great alternative to flying and you can explore a ton of offbeat places and the vastness of the world at your own pace!
2. Exploring locally:
Make conscious choices of opting for travel agencies which make sustainable traveling a priority. Shop souvenirs from local handicraft stores and artists. Choose local transport or green mode of transportation to explore the place. Several destinations are economically dependent on tourism and it is wise to visit these places and help out the local vendors, research and learn their customs and lifestyles to make the most out of your travel experiences.
3. Do not litter:
We all know this one, right? But we still see tourist places flooded with plastic waste not disposed off properly and we sigh in disgust. Every tourist is a guest and we should leave the place better and not worse. So, not littering a place is good but not enough so participate in Beach clean-ups or take up an initiative to clean up a place you're visiting. It might be a small action but it definitely matters!
Check out Jordan's take on how to go Zero waste while traveling to get a better idea!
4. Choose Reusables:
You can choose to buy a reusable water bottle, refillable coffee mugs, pack up your own eco-friendly toiletries and cloth bags to reduce the waste we produce at all places we love! Treat your hostel/ hotel as your own home and use less water, cook locally sourced food and be a good guest!
Check out Bianca Caruana's list of reusable items that every traveler needs!
5. Choose experiences over destinations:
All of us have a list of places on our Post- COVID bucket list and we often get so lost in ticking them off that we forget to enjoy the journey altogether. With the offset of the pandemic, we have to travel responsibly by exploring local places with fresh eyes! You can try camping, star gazing, trekking, nature walks without having to travel too far. There can be a ton of hidden places that we've no idea about in your own cities and it's time to explore them. You can also choose travel agencies who offer experiential travel by organizing activities involving local communities which creates a great impact.
6. Caravan Traveling:
Caravan traveling isn't completely eco-friendly but it can be optimized to make it a very viable option. You can choose destinations which aren't very far and extend your stay at the destination longer which gives you a great opportunity to explore it. Pack light and carry reusable utensils to avoid one-time plastic usage, buy local produce to cook your own food and avoid wasting food, use less water. Caravan traveling is one of the best ways to travel as you take the comforts of your home with you everywhere go and explore at your own pace with beautiful views!
Read this blog by Erika on a sustainable travel packing list!
7. Let the animals just be:
If you love wildlife and nature, then you know better than to disturb them by locking them up in cages, going on elephant rides, feeding tiger cubs, watching trained dolphins performing tricks or sea lions posing for pictures. They are wild animals for a reason and it's high time we do not financially support these organizations who tend to make money off of such practices. Also, do not purchase any products made from animal skins, corals or ivory. Research more about such places and make the right decisions.
Check out Phoebe and Matt's take on why it is wrong to go on elephant rides!
As a famous quote goes, "Leave nothing but footprints, take nothing but memories and waste nothing but time", we hope you reduce your carbon footprints as well!