Sustainable travel: 10 tips
Traveling is good for the mind, body and soul. But unfortunately often not our environment. There are different ways we can travel sustainably and give back a little of what is damaged by our travel or vacation.
Before I give you tips on how to travel sustainably, I would like to clarify what this actually means.
Traveling sustainably – what is it?
Like sustainability itself, you can also travel sustainably three pillars divided into the ecological, social and economic pillars.
This is usually the first image that comes to mind when you think of sustainability: the environment. Environmentally sustainable travel focuses on reducing the negative impact of travel on the environment and wildlife. This includes minimizing your carbon footprint (particularly by reducing air travel), using less water, paying attention to packaging waste and not disturbing wildlife. As sustainable travelers, we can make a big difference by using reusable containers or by looking for hotels and restaurants that recycle, use local products or work with sustainable materials.
As the word suggests, socially sustainable travel is about the impact on locals and local communities. Whether you support companies that are run by locals and support their own people, or whether you support local tourism projects, NGOs or charities - there are a lot of options here too! You just have to keep your eyes open for these types of projects and do a little research into whether the working environment in the company is fair and safe.
Traditionally, the economic pillar of sustainability refers to businesses that use their profitability to be sustainable or are committed to sustainability. But when it comes to sustainable travel, we can use the economic pillar to make a positive contribution to the local economy with our money. As tourists, we can use our travel money for things like local hotels, restaurants and tour guides to support the local economy.
Travel sustainably – 10 tips
1. Eat local, organic food when possible
We all get cravings for unhealthy fast food every now and then. We should still try to avoid the well-known chains. After all, you don't come all the way to South America just to eat at McDonalds, right? By eating in local restaurants or buying food at an (organic) market, you not only reduce your own ecological footprint, but also get a nice insight into the respective culture and the local food habits.
2. Travel to countries that are being rebuilt
Natural disasters and storms occur all over the world. In almost all cases this damages the tourism industry and significantly damages the economy in some countries. So it's really worth considering choosing Nepal or Haiti as your next travel destination, for example - such countries would benefit greatly from an upswing.
3. Visit an animal shelter or animal sanctuary
Camel and elephant rides are out. Nature reserves and animal or nature reserves, on the other hand, are in. It's much more fun to visit places that support and preserve animals in their natural habitat than to watch them suffer at mass tourism events. Local sanctuaries are committed to putting an end to violent practices when dealing with animals. In Thailand, for example, you can help rehabilitate the animals in elephant sanctuaries. THAT'S what I call an adventure that you'll be happy to talk about later!
4. Really be there
Environmentally conscious travelers should look for local contacts and interactions with local people. This can be done, for example, on sites like Workaway . There you can help on sustainable farms, save sea turtles or support small local businesses. This type of trip is of course particularly suitable for solo travelers and work-and-travelers. However, that doesn't mean that all of us can't give it a try! I don't know anyone who has had a negative experience on a trip like this...
5. Use sustainable travel gear
What you take with you is more important than you think. A BPA-free water bottle is actually always worthwhile; And especially for backpackers, reusable dishes (for example made of bamboo) or a quick-drying towel are worth it. Quality makes a real difference and sustainable products usually last longer!
Breathable, versatile and lightweight clothing is more comfortable and makes your luggage lighter. A little recommendation from me: Ours paigh pants are ideal for all types of travel because they meet exactly the criteria just described: they are versatile, comfortable, beautifully light and fair!
6. Source socially responsible products and services
Supporting ethical companies is just as easy abroad as it is here. Companies that sell fair trade products, pursue a sustainable mission or give something back to the environment are everywhere. You will find a lot of suggestions in this direction on the Internet and certainly a whole range of fair companies at your destination!
7. Discover the art of slow travel
There's something truly enchanting about slow travel. Instead of just rushing past the scenery and landmarks to see the next attraction, traveling slowly allows you to really take in the attractions and memorize the colors and smells. Walking, cycling or using public transport – these are all great ways to get to know and experience the surroundings and culture. If you want to go on a road trip, it's a good idea to stop in fewer places and then stay there longer. This creates less time pressure and more relaxation.
8. Offset your carbon footprint
Air travel is not always avoidable. In these cases, however, something can also be done for our environment. Many airlines now give their passengers the opportunity to purchase emissions credits. These can then be invested in programs that strive for solar energy, reforestation or other sustainable initiatives. You can also get started yourself by using a CO2 calculator to determine the impact of your air travel. You can then search for projects that help offset these emissions and then support them.
9. Switch off!
Cell phone, laptop, e-reader, camera, tablet… Do you really need all of these things on your trip? Electricity uses energy, and many developing countries are still vulnerable to power outages. If you want to take the devices with you, you can consider purchasing a solar charger. You can use this without a socket. If you are traveling in a group, some devices can also be shared.
Really think about whether your trip could be a good opportunity for a “digital detox”. You can wind down and really switch off – on several levels.
10. Leave no trace
This simple but effective rule shouldn't just be aimed at hikers and camping enthusiasts - it affects all travelers. Pack everything you unpacked again. Packaging can be disposed of in the nearest rubbish bin and does not have to be left in the countryside. Shells, flowers or stones should also stay where they are. If you'd like, feel free to pick up litter that's lying around instead. This is how you leave one behind better Footprint!
Traveling sustainably sometimes requires a little preparation. Of course you have to make the effort if you really want to change something. But with just a little effort, a lot can be achieved! So that the treasures of our world are preserved.
If you would like to find out more about the topics of sustainability, mindfulness or healthy eating, take a look here over.
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