It’s estimated that there are close to a billion tourists traveling across the globe each year. That’s a heck of a lot of sightseeing! Unless we plan carefully, and think before we travel, we run the risk of allowing our travel plans to take a harsh toll on the planet’s natural resources. Of course, nobody’s saying that you have to stay home during vacations – instead, it’s important to consider the small steps you can take to make your holiday adventures more enjoyable for you and kinder to the environment.
We’ve assembled a few of our top tips for Eco-friendlier travel. No doubt you’ll have some of your own suggestions to add too – so please share your ideas and comments below.
Many of the major, reputable travel operators now give you an option to automatically offset the carbon emissions associated with your journey. The costs of offsetting are linked to the intended length of your travel, but most regular flights will charge between $10 – $50 to offset your carbon. It’s a small price to pay to travel to reduce your conscience! And if you are traveling by plane, select a direct flight where possible, to avoid multiple carbon emissions. Of course not flying at all is better….
Change your mode of transport
Do you really need to take the plane? Can you take the bus? Or a train? Or even cycle? These are certainly more environmentally friendly modes of transport which will decrease your journey’s carbon footprint dramatically. If you’re going to drive, rent a hybrid car – they’re more fuel efficient and emit less pollutants into the atmosphere.
We’ve all been guilty of packing everything but the kitchen sink for our travels abroad. Try to be more disciplined when you pack your case. After all, the less weight you’re carrying, the less fuel your intended mode of transport will need to use. One good example is to collaborate with your traveling companions on toiletries. Instead of everyone bringing shampoo or shower gel or toothpaste, decide amongst you who will bring what – you’ll be amazed at how this small step lightens your load.
These days, more and more global destinations are developing eco-hotels and lodges which have strong environmental credentials. It’s easy to drop most hotels an email to find out more about their recycling programs, including:
• Waste recycling
• Towels and bedding – is there an option to re-use?
• Hotel energy efficiency
• Local corporate responsibility initiatives
You’ll quickly get an idea of the hotels that take their environmental responsibilities seriously – and you can reward them with your business.
Contribute to the local economy
If you’re staying in a half-board or all-inclusive resort, sometimes there’s a temptation to stay in the hotel grounds for the duration of your trip. However, exploring the local area, and frequenting local shops, restaurants and arts and craft stores can provide vital support to local people and the local economy. Hopefully, you’ll also have a more authentic in-country experience – and some great stories to share with friends and family on your return home.
Small changes in your travel plans can make a big difference. So, if you’re suffering from the winter blues, and you’re starting to plan your summer vacation, why not put these ideas into action?