If you’re an eco-conscious person, the mere idea of traveling can cause some uncertainty and hesitation. On one hand, it’s our innate human desire to see the world, explore foreign cultures and enjoy new and unique experiences. But on the other, the last thing you want to do is cause the planet to suffer simply as a result of your wish to travel. Thankfully, there are many ways to explore the world without hurting the environment in the process; all that is needed is some mindfulness and forethought. So, here are six simple tips that will make a greatly positive impact on your next holiday:
Choose eco-friendly accommodation
With the rise of ecotourism, a growing number of sustainable accommodation options keep popping up all over the world, all of which are a great way to offset the carbon emissions you might have caused while traveling. With the well-being of the environment in mind, these eco-friendly hotels and hostels make an effort to reduce their water usage and use electricity and heating/cooling responsibly, while building their establishments in sustainable locations and promoting positive environmental practices, such as beach and forest cleanup activities.
Avoid flights when possible
Unless you are traveling halfway across the world for business or visiting faraway romantic travel destinations with your loved one, try to limit the time you spend in the air. As airplanes are some of the biggest contributors to climate change, a much greener option would be to travel by bus or train. If air travel is your only choice, however, you can be more eco-friendly by opting only for direct flights and packing as light as possible in order to cut down on the weight of the plane, thus lowering your luggage charges and saving precious fuel.
Opt for greener cars
Another eco-friendly transportation alternative that is slowly gaining popularity are hybrid and electric car rentals. Healthier for the environment and incredibly comfortable to drive, greener car options are an excellent choice for family road trips and even easily exploring the surrounding area of your destination once you arrive. So before you book your next adventure, look into car rental options such as Avis car hire that can provide you with a safe and reliable vehicle, and help you explore your destination at your own pace.
Explore your destination on foot
While using public transportation is undoubtedly one of the more sustainable alternatives, the best thing you can do for the environment is to rent a bike or simply walk while exploring your destination. Apart from not producing any waste or causing CO2 emissions, both walking and riding a bike are also much more beneficial to your overall health than other forms of transportation. However, it’s important to always use clearly marked trails and tracks, as going off the beaten path might result in unintentional endangerment of nature and wildlife.
Eat and drink locally
Apart from encouraging and supporting the local economy, purchasing local ingredients and dishes at your destination is also the most sustainable way to eat while traveling, as it ensures no additional waste was created during production, and no excess fuel was used for transportation. What’s more, opting for local food will encourage you to try something new, instead of eating the same unhealthy food you try to avoid at home. At night, choose wines and craft beers that were produced locally, in order to cut down on carbon emissions caused by transportation, support independent local companies, and quite possibly enjoy a high quality and delicious drink.
Leave no trace behind
Regardless of your travel destination, the only things you should leave behind are footprints and a good impression. Some eco travelers even take this one step further, suggesting that each one of us should leave our destination cleaner and better than we found it. Whether that means picking up litter to prevent it from contaminating water and soil or even influencing other travelers to lead a more sustainable and eco-friendly life, every small effort you make will go a long way towards helping the environment.
Unfortunately, there still isn’t a perfect way to travel the world and experience its beauty firsthand without leaving a carbon footprint behind. However, with just a bit of thought and preparation beforehand, as well as making a few green decisions, you can be much more sustainable and kinder to the planet while traveling.