Everyone knows that the best way to see the world and experience new cultures is by going traveling. While you’ll be surrounded by a stunning natural world on your getaways, most people are surprised to learn that traveling can hurt the planet- in more ways than one. To keep your carbon footprint low, try out some of these easy eco-friendly travel tips on your next vacation.
Don’t travel far
There is always the temptation to visit an exotic, far-away location when you’re on vacation. Unfortunately, long-haul flights can cause a lot of damage to the plant, and flying is expected to contribute 22% of the world’s carbon emissions by 2050.t
Luckily, this is quite easy to get around. All you have to do is fly less, so stick to staycations to cut your carbon footprint. It doesn’t matter where you live in the world; every country has some hidden gems to be explored. From camping in the Rockies to making the most of local beaches, pack your car with all you need and kick-start your first staycation.
Choose somewhere eco-friendly to stay
When you’ve been dreaming of bright, sandy beaches and fresh fruit cocktails, jumping on a plane is sometimes unavoidable. Yet, that doesn’t mean you can’t be eco-friendly in other areas of your travels. All around the world, there are various eco-resorts and environmentally conscious hotels. Staying in one of these not only keeps your impact small but adds a wholesome feel to any getaway.
If you can’t find a certified eco-resort in your search, don’t worry. There are thousands of resorts that are now adopting some important policies, such as bamboo drinking straws and packaging-free toiletries. These hotels sell out quickly as they rise in popularity, but you can still save on last-minute deals.
Make the most of local restaurants
One of the most exciting parts of going on vacation is sampling some delectable cuisine. Though luxury resorts and upmarket restaurants serve some wonderful meals, you should dine in at local restaurants. This is mainly because some restaurants don’t prepare local produce, and their food needs to travel further before it ends up on your plate.
In local eateries, you can be sure that you’ll have an authentic, eco-friendly experience as you try fresh, local food. Your money will also be helping local communities directly. With shopping. avoid going to the same stores you’d find at home, and explore nearby markets for handmade trinkets and clothes.
Think about the animals
When you travel somewhere new, the chances are you’ll have the chance to see some interesting wildlife. Animal attractions have always been popular, but there have been some questions about how ethical many of these attractions are.
SeaWorld has become the most infamous example in recent years, as reports emerged their captive species were mis-treated and kept in inhumane conditions. In places like Thailand and Indonesia, elephant experiences allow tourists to ride on elephants for a small price. This can cause a lot of harm to the elephant, so seek out ethical, non-riding sanctuaries instead. You’ll have the time of your life, but you can leave knowing you’ve done something amazing to help the local eco-system, too.
Try out new forms of travel
Vacations and luxury go hand in hand, but private transfers and car rental does nothing to minimize your carbon footprint. If you can, skip the car travel and depend on public transport instead. In big cities, metro systems are a cheap and easy way of getting around. In more rural places, ask your resort if they have a shuttle bus to help you get around.
This can help you have a true adventure, but there are some exceptions. If someone in your group has a disability, or you are traveling with a young family, renting a car may be a better choice. Just make sure to rent an electric vehicle where possible.
Re-think your packing strategy
There are some eco-friendly tips which are harder to adjust to, and some which take very little effort. Packing light is one of these. There is rarely a time when someone needs every single item in their suitcase, and the worst thing is that this extra weight can increase your carbon footprint on flights.
When you are preparing for your vacation, be ruthless about what you do and don’t need. If you’re going away for a weekend break, fit all your items into your carry-on. If you are going away for longer, share luggage space with a travel buddy to save on costs and carbon.
Say No to plastic
Plastic has been making waves in the last few years- and not in a good way. Plastic takes 1000 years to decompose in a landfill, and has also caused much harm to underwater species. As the horrors of single-use plastics emerge, follow the same golden rules you do at home and say no to plastic on your vacation.
Using a refillable water bottle, shopping with your own bag, and refusing plastic straws are all small ways to reduce plastic consumption. In many destinations, there are water stations dotted around that you can refill your bottle from. To avoid plastic altogether, take packaging-free toiletries with you, and make use of old clothes to protect your belongings from dirty shoes.