One of my New Years resolutions this year is to care more about the environment. I travel a lot and often to places far away. Sometimes I feel guilty for emitting so much CO2 due to my travels, but travelling is my biggest passion, and I won’t change that. However, I’ve implemented a few small changes when I travel that help to lessen the negative impact on the environment and support the local communities that I visit. If we all became more aware of making the most positive impacts when we travel, we can make a difference. Here are five tips to travel more sustainably.
Do your research
Before you leave on any trip, it’s a good idea to do a little bit of research first. Of course, you want to find the best place to stay in the coolest area and look up great restaurants and bars etc. However, you should also read about local issues at your chosen destination and how it might affect your trip – weather conditions, political issues, wildlife concerns and so on. If you know the issues beforehand, you’ve got the opportunity to react. In addition, research your chosen accommodation and make sure it’s certified. There are several certificates that clarify if a hotel or hostel is environmental and sustainable. Read about the different certificates here.
Become a slow traveller
The journey to a specific destination is usually what impacts the environment most negatively. And taking a flight is the worst. However, sometimes you can’t escape a flight, and then you should take the most direct route and avoid layovers. In addition, choose a flight with one of the IATA member airlines that invest in carbon reduction projects. Furthermore, use public transport when possible and enjoy the ride where you might be able to experience places you would never be able to experience on a flight.
Think about the environment and reuse when possible
Maybe the simplest way to do something good for the environment is to save energy and save water. It should be pretty easy for most of us to only have the light turned on in the room we’re in, to only use water when we need it for example while brushing our teeth and to stick to five-minute showers etc. It will all make a difference. In addition, it’s a good idea to refuse to have your sheets and towels changed every day in hotels. It’s not necessary, and I doubt that you change sheets and towels that often at home – I certainly don’t.
Say no to plastic
Plastic is really bad for both the environment and the ecosystems and wildlife. It takes a very long time to break down plastic and therefore, we have several gigantic garbage patches in the oceans. The sad thing is that scientists don’t believe we will ever get rid of them, but we have to try our best and stop them from growing. Buy a reusable water bottle and fill it up instead of buying plastic bottles, bring your own tote bag when you go shopping instead of buying plastic bags and throw your garbage in a bin etc. These are some of the small things that can make a difference.
Support the locals
It’s funny how things change over time. Not many years ago, you could only eat what was in season but nowadays, you can get everything all year. It has to do with supply and demand and unfortunately, many grocery shops and restaurants have figured out that they can profit by getting food from places far away. It’s a waste. Both because some of the local foods might go to waste and because it emits a lot to ship it. You should rather eat locally and within the seasons. The same rule of thumb also applies when going shopping. Purchase from small businesses where the money goes to local entrepreneurs instead of already rich CEOs.
These are my five tips to travel more sustainably. Do you’ve other tips and tricks to emit less?
Read more travel tips here.