6 Sustainable ways to be an eco-conscious traveler
After spending the last few months at home due to covid, it’s time to pack your bags and go back to travel. Discovering the world was one of the things we certainly missed the most but, now more than ever, we must do it in a more conscious, sustainable, and respectful way. When we decide to travel and visit other places, it’s crucial to make a positive impact on the environment.
There are no specific rules for traveling more sustainably but there are small tricks that can make the difference. Let’s not forget that when we are guests in other countries we should have the same respect and behavior that we adopt in our home country.
Here are some tips on how to make your travel greener. These tips are the result of personal research and experience, so feel free to do your research before making any decisions.
1. Choose a destination that promotes sustainability
Many countries around the world constantly promote respect for the environment, encourage a more sustainable lifestyle, and invite their visitors to support activities that have the lowest impact on their communities. For example, in some cities, public transports are increased during peak seasons to allow people to reach their destinations without renting a car. Before you decide where to go, ask for more information about your destination, to avoid places where sustainability is not a fundamental value for those who will host you. Moreover, some countries are only focused on making money, without caring about nature and the environment.
2. Consider how you get there
There are many ways to travel and, certainly, the most polluting one is traveling by plane. Unfortunately, for most of the long routes, there are no valid alternatives other than booking a plane ticket. In this case, a few tips can help you with your sustainable choices: prefer to travel in economy class, avoid heavy luggage and opt for direct flights. If you planned a short-distance trip, consider public transport (train is the most popular) as the perfect way to get to your destination. For all those who are thinking, what about the car? I suggest sharing your car trip with someone else as a valid alternative to reduce your impact on the environment and, why not, saving money.
3. Book eco-conscious accommodations
Your travel checklist has just begun and it’s time to choose where to stay. As you already know, each place has its options, according to your budget and your needs. Before booking a hotel to spend your holidays in, find out if it’s eco-friendly-focused. In fact, some places offer more sustainable solutions than others. Let’s see some examples: a lot of accommodations allow you to borrow their bikes to make the most incredible tours of the surroundings. Moreover, they don’t provide single-use items, prefer recyclable materials, and promote local businesses. In case you love sharing your space and meeting new people, you could book a hostel for a shared room, or choose to rent someone’s house, through Airbnb.
4. Support locals
Whether it’s a business or a leisure trip, always try to support local economies. Choose to eat in restaurants that have typical local dishes on their menus, buy at the market instead of the shopping mall, visit small shops where you can find handmade gifts. Talk to locals and ask for advice on what to see and where to go and follow their suggestions to discover the hidden spots around the city. Exploring a new place is always a unique experience and supporting local businesses is the best way to thank the people who are welcoming you.
5. Reduce plastic waste
Although you are on vacation and you will be out and about all day, be sure to carry your reusable products with you to reduce the waste of plastic. Bring a couple of reusable bags with you, in case you need to go to the supermarket. If there is still room in your suitcase, I recommend you pack a reusable bottle as well. In many places, bottles can be refilled with water as a sustainable alternative to disposable ones. In addition, use bamboo or stainless steel food container to avoid food waste, and take restaurant leftovers with you. Another way to reduce plastic consumption on your trip is to use personal care products with eco packaging. Here’s a list of a few items to put in your beauty case: shampoo and conditioner bars which are lightweight, eco-friendly and replace thousands of plastic bottles, a safety razor as a great alternative to the single-use ones, refillable small containers to refill as many times as you want with all your beauty products such as face and body creams.
6. Respect the place you visit
Traveling means visiting new countries, exploring new realities, and going back home with wonderful memories. But remember that the place you visit should be left as you found it. It’s very important to respect the local culture and traditions and make sure you don’t have an offensive attitude towards people who live there. While it might seem like an obvious tip, always remember to take care of the places you visit. For example, if you go to the beach, bring a garbage bag where you can put your trash before leaving. If you organize an outdoor picnic in a park, keep the area as clean as possible. All of these are simple actions to show your respect to the country you are going to stay.
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Soon we will all return to travel and explore new places in the world, and we will do it more consciously and sustainably. We all live on the same planet and we must all respect and take care of it. When you travel, be a more conscious traveler, because every action can make a difference.