How do you reduce your impact on your destination and how do you do it without spending a fortune on luxury items or expensive equipment?
With climate change and overtourism, travelers are more concerned than ever about their footprint (or the sky) when they hit the road. Sustainable travel has become a buzzword, but it can be a vague concept; how do you reduce your impact on a destination and how do you do it without spending a fortune on luxury eco-lodges or expensive equipment?
Minimize waste when you travel
Perhaps the most obvious way to start changing your travel habits is to invest in travel equipment that reduces the amount of waste you generate. These don’t cost a lot of money to purchase, and they can be used multiple times.
If you’re traveling in places that aren’t suitable for drinking water, avoid wasting plastic bottles by purchasing a personal water filter; Lifestraw can produce different products for different budgets, and all of them are free of bacteria and chemicals in water.
Goodbye, small airline planes
If you stick to a carry-on lifestyle and regularly buy small airplane cosmetic bottles, replace them with solid soaps and shampoos that can be washed multiple times and easily stored in jars. The same applies to toothpaste – choose toothpaste tablets instead of tubes for cleaning your teeth. Concerned about price? In any case, airplane minis are usually more expensive than full-size ones, so being sustainable will save you money in the long run. Companies like Lush and GoodFill are great places to start looking for eco-friendly travel cosmetics.
No more plastic forks
Eating on the go can also create a lot of waste, especially if you’re looking for something quick and portable. Replace the commonly used plastic cutlery with bamboo cutlery, which usually only costs you the price of an expensive cocktail.
Be smart with your money
When it comes to buying travel products, cheap items on Amazon.com are often tempting, but the quality can vary greatly. Instead, buy brand-name products that offer lifetime warranties or free or low-cost repairs; these products may seem more expensive at first, but they end up being economical because you don’t have to replace them every few trips (yay for less waste!) . Brands like Osprey, Patagonia and Cotopaxi Mountain all have great warranty policies.
Awareness of public service tourism
While “sustainable travel” often raises environmental issues, it also has a cultural component – sustainable travel means minimizing the negative impact of the destinations we are visiting on people’s daily lives and avoiding exploitation in the name of philanthropy. the guise of philanthropy into a situation of exploitation.
Some key tips: Only volunteer for positions for which you are particularly qualified; for example, teaching English when one is not qualified to do so may not be the best way to make a positive impact. Avoid short-term volunteering for children, as such service has proven to be detrimental to children’s development and some “orphanages” are designed to attract tourists and make a profit at the children’s expense. Instead, you can choose to participate in local beach cleanups or tree planting activities that will make your destination look (and feel) its best.
Travel in the off-season
Want to avoid overtourism and save some cash? Look for a less crowded, more affordable vacation in a destination outside of peak travel times. While there are some low seasons for a reason (look at you, rainforest rainy season), even booking during the flat season will benefit both the destination and the traveler; prices for airfare and accommodations often drop significantly, bringing in travel dollars when you need them.
Planes, trains and automobiles
As we begin to pay more attention to our environmental impact, the biggest questions relate to how we travel. Which is worse? How can we travel while keeping our global climate intact? Unfortunately, there is no simple answer – environmental impact is measured by a number of factors, including distance, length of stay, fuel type and carrying capacity of the vehicle.
The total score may be affected by how many people are in your car and how many seats you have on the plane. For example, business class seats have a higher emissions footprint than economy class seats because they take up more space on the plane, and sparsely populated flights have a greater negative environmental impact than normal flights. Likewise, driving alone on a long trip (especially in traffic) has a larger carbon footprint than if you’re going on a trip with 3 friends or if you’re going on a short trip. Fortunately, budget-conscious, flight instructors and carpooling are also better for your wallet – all the more incentive to participate.
In most studies, trains were the most environmentally friendly mode of transportation per passenger; in areas with good train infrastructure, this is also a solid budget option.
To Cruise or Not to Cruise?
Cruising is a very popular way to travel around the world, with cruising companies building larger and larger ships every year. However, these large vehicles are notorious for their pollutant emissions, and many well-known brands face criminal charges for dumping fuel waste, sewage and other pollutants into the water. From a social sustainability perspective, cruise travel may exacerbate the problem of overtourism in port cities, with much of the tourist money going to the cruise lines rather than local businesses.
Sustainability-minded people should probably avoid the larger cruise ships with longer itineraries in favor of smaller regional vessels. These facilities don’t produce (or emit) much waste, and they support local businesses that call at ports of call. Check these scores before booking your cruise vacation.
The best way to reduce your carbon footprint is to explore nearby areas; instead of traveling across the country to that big national park, check out the national parks near you. Try biking or multi-day hiking instead of road trips. Slow travel and local trips can also reduce your bills flying out of your pocket due to reduced fuel and lodging costs.
Resist the call of the all-inclusive
All-inclusive hotels are popular because they make vacation planning easier and are presumably a cheaper way to travel. While all-inclusive deals can undoubtedly offer attractive rates, the negative social impact of these large resorts can be significant. Some questions to ask before booking: Is this hotel locally owned? Do they pay their employees a fair wage? Is there a local community nearby that I can support with my business?
Choose smaller, local hotels, hostels that offer bed and breakfasts – where rates may go up, buffet from farmers’ markets, try affordable restaurants and/or sample street food.