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Sustainable Travel: How to Travel With a Lighter Footprint

by Steph

It doesn’t take much to see that our planet is currently facing some pretty serious environmental issues. Travel is one those things that can really open your eyes to what’s going on in the world, but it can also have a negative impact on the environment. There’s no doubt that tourism takes its toll on nearly every destination it touches, but that doesn’t mean that you have to stay at home to do your part for the Earth. By taking just a few sustainable travel steps, you can explore the world in more eco-friendly way.

Stay Longer in One Place

It’s a nice idea to try to see as much of a country or destination as you possibly can, but the more cars, buses and boats you take, the more carbon emissions you create. Plus, how can you really get to know a place if you only spend a day or two there? Take the time to immerse yourself in one spot. Walk or cycle to visit local shops, cafes and restaurants. If you want to explore a bit, visit places that are closer to where you are based. You’ll probably find that the less you travel, the more enriching your holiday will be.

Use Public Transportation or Shared Rides When Possible

What’s the first thing you do when you land in a new place and step outside the airport? If you’re like most people, your first move is probably to hail a taxi. Now imagine that every traveller coming out of the airport does the same, and that adds up to a lot of carbon consumption. Public transportation and share rides are great for sustainable travel. Before you leave home, do some research on what routes and ride-sharing apps are available at your destination. As an added bonus, you’ll save money and may even make some new friends.

Treat Your Hotel Like Your Home

One of the biggest draws to staying in a hotel is that you don’t have to worry about things like cleaning, electricity and water, so it’s easy to get carried away. A little bit of mindfulness can go a long way when it comes to reducing your impact. Think of your accommodation like you would your home and make an effort to turn off the lights and air-con when you’re not using them. Avoid getting clean towels if you don’t need them, and take shorter showers. Even unplugging your electronics after they’re charged can make a difference.

Cut Back on Your Plastic Usage

Plastic pollution is one of the major problems the world is facing at the moment, particularly when it comes to the oceans. While some governments are taking steps to tackle the issue, there’s still a long way to go. You can do your part by refusing to use single-use plastics while on holiday. Bring your own reusable bags for shopping and don’t buy products wrapped in plastic. You can also bring your own refillable water bottle and make efforts to shop and eat at places that don’t use plastic.

Eat Locally

One of the best parts of being in a different part of the world is getting to sample the local food. Sure, it may be tempting to indulge in eats that remind you of home, but the further an item has to be flown or shipped, the more carbon emissions are created. Seek out restaurants that use local products like fruits, veggies and meats from local farms, locally produced oils, and seafood caught close by. Chances are the food will taste better and you might even discover a newfound love for particular dishes, ingredients and flavours.

Support Eco-friendly Businesses

Nowadays more business owners around the world are realising that they need to preserve the natural beauty that draws people to their homeland. They also know that their customers want to be part of a sustainable travel solution rather than a problem. Some things to look for in an eco-friendly business include green practices. This could include recycling, solar energy, reducing water usage, and bans on single-use plastics. A quick Google search of sustainable businesses at your destination can put you on the right track.

Bring or Buy Your Own Eco-Friendly Products

Have you ever stopped to think about what goes into the products we use every day like soaps, shampoos and sunscreens? Many contain harsh chemicals that are not great for our bodies or the environment. Ask your hotel what products they use, and if they’re not eco-friendly, consider bringing your own from home. Even better, make a point of buying green products when you’re at your destination. That way you have an excuse to go shopping and you’ll be supporting local businesses.

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