HOW TO BE A SUSTAINABLE TRAVELER
Traveling the world offers you an amazing opportunity that takes you out of your comfort zone, allows you to develop cultural sensitivity and is the ultimate stress buster. However, there is more to travel than meets the eye, with travelling, comes the responsibility to preserve and protect the environments we visit so everyone can continue to enjoy them for years to come. Therefore, you need to think about what you can do on your travels to be more sustainable.
How to play a part in eco-friendly tourism & sustainable travel
It’s no secret that our environment is under numerous threats today and it’s easy to feel overwhelmed when it thinking about eco-friendly tourism and how you can play a part. I think it’s safe to say you will be pleasantly surprised at how easy it is to minimise your impact on the environment while traveling and contribute in a positive way. To create awareness and get you beginners started, have a read at some of our points on some changes you can make to become a sustainable traveler.
Avoid planes, take trains
With the rise of flight shaming, train travel is on the rise. Rail networks are extensive, especially in Europe and you’re guaranteed to find a way to get to some of the places you want to visit by train. We understand that sometimes flying is necessary to get you where you want to go, and that’s fine, but if you can avoid it take a train and decrease your carbon footprint. Nowadays, the Eurail experience goes beyond the average 18-year-old and we are here for everyone getting on board with eco-friendly methods of travel.
Minimise waste and pollution
Many travelers continue to overuse the earth’s resources that we depend on, creating excess waste and pollution. If you’re going to visit smaller islands and developing destinations, remember that they lack sufficient waste management infrastructure and are highly vulnerable to climate change. By taking small actions like avoiding the use of disposable plastic products can make a bigger difference than you think. Consider bringing reusable water bottles on your travels (if you travel during summer, there are plenty of options now that can keep your water cold for up to 12 hours), and refuse plastic shopping bags and plastic straws. A lot of businesses are trying to tackle this issue, however, you may find some still using single-use plastic. If you’re traveling around a few different places or traveling around a big city, try to avoid renting a car for as long as you can unless it’s completely necessary, instead you could avail of public transport, go by foot or cycle. An easy step you can take to embrace eco-friendly travel!
Buy locally-made products, use local services
While purchasing locally made crafts and souvenirs may be more expensive compared to those cheaper, imported products, buying local allows you to give back to communities who need the contributions more. As well as keeping the locals in work, you’re helping to preserve local craft traditions and cultural heritage. As a sustainable traveller, it’s important to understand that you may have to pay more but think about who it is going to benefit in the long run.
Respect local cultures and traditions
Traveling offers up an amazing opportunity for you to learn about and celebrate other cultures and travelers play an important role in preserving these cultures. Therefore, to play a role in eco-friendly tourism, it’s important to respect and celebrate traditions and be aware of the cultural norms that could include but are not limited to dress codes, language, food etiquette, and general behaviour. Be aware that many gestures have different meanings in different cultures, so remember to learn from the locals on what’s appropriate. If you’re going to heritage sites or tourist hot spots, try to go during the off-peak hours to offset any strain on over-tourism and potential lack of infrastructure.
It has always been important to consider what type of impact your actions will have on the environment, we are now living in a world where the smallest things can help towards the biggest changes. Sustainably traveling the world is only one small change you can make. Consider our points for your next trip and you will be surprised at how easy it is! If you take away one thing from this blog, remember that a little bit of Aretha Franklin’s R E S P E C T goes a long way.