Sustainable traveling is a somewhat weird concept. By definition, traveling is not really a sustainable thing to do. It is in fact a rather polluting activity. To cover large distances is related to pollution. To travel, many use a plane or car to cover large distances, although these modes of transportation are producing a lot of CO2. However, with the right tips it is possible to travel as sustainable as possible. Sustainable traveling means that you take the environment into account. This is doable in different ways. The following tips for sustainable traveling will help you on your way.
Tips to travel sustainably
Do you prefer to limit the ecological footprint you leave in the country you visit while traveling? Then keep the following tips in mind.
1. Use the shared economy
All around you the shared economy is increasing. It has many advantages. When you share something, you don’t need to buy it yourself. By taking part in the shared economy you avoid unnecessary damage to the environment, but rather share any possible pollution. By buying from someone else personally, the product doesn’t need to be produced again.
There is another side of the shared economy. Locals can take part in the shared economy by offering their services. Especially as a tourist, a large part of the money you spend doesn’t go locally, but ends up at a large international company. For example: the hotel, travel agency, airline, activities, restaurant, etc. Examples from the shared economy of ways in which locals can profit from your visit, are:
- Airbnb, where you can rent accommodation from locals.
- Camptoo, where you can share campers with others.
- Blablacar, where you can share a ride with someone who owns a car and covers the travel anyway.
- Taxi sharing, in which you share a taxi with people who have the same destination.
- Barqo, where you can share boats.
- Couchsurfing, where you can enjoy staying at someone’s house for free.
It is actually a great way to meet people from all over the world.
2. Use water wisely
Everyone needs water, obviously. You’ll probably use water when traveling. Try to use is wisely, though. Some people go all out on holidays. But why act differently than at home?
When traveling, try not to waste water unnecessarily. Shower shortly, don’t takes baths, bring a sustainable water bottles that you can refill, don’t buy drinks in plastic bottles, use your towel for multiple days, etc.
3. Bring your own water bottle
Bring your own water bottle when you are traveling. This prevents you from having to buy plastic bottles yourself and thus use plastic unnecessarily. In many places in the world tap water is perfectly drinkable. Buy a sustainable bottle that you can refill with water as much as you like.
4. Fly as little as possible
Traveling the world without flying? Perhaps you didn’t expect this tip. It is the truth though. Flying is more polluting then any other way of transportation. You can have an environmental friendly lifestyle all year long, but only one flight will make you a big polluter.
Try a more sustainable way of traveling. For example, by using buses or trains. Especially for short distances, going by bus or train takes just as much time.
Don’t be fooled by low flight prices. Low prices don’t include a compensation fee for the huge amount of CO2 that you cause. Be responsible! You can easily find alternative ways of traveling in Google Search or Rome2Rio.com.
The best way to travel sustainable is to fly as less as possible. When you do have to catch a flight, try to compensate your CO2 emissions or use FlyGRN that automatically offsets (part of) your carbon emissions for free while booking a flight.
Better though is to discover the world closer to your home. Europe has a lot to offer. You don’t need to go to Bali to be impressed or have a great experience.
5. Choose a sustainable holiday destination
Some destinations focus more on sustainability than other destinations. You could for example go to an eco-destination. These areas a very well aware of their role in environmental pollution and CO2 emissions.
6. Choose a sustainable accommodation
Once you’ve chosen a sustainable destination, go for sustainable accommodation. Try to search for eco-tourism or eco-hotels. All around the world you’ll find great eco-friendly accommodations.
These accommodations can be characterized by sustainable luxury, relaxation and quietness. Also eco-friendly materials all around the accommodation. You should totally check it out.
Or choose hotels and hostels with a green label. These hotels and hostels have done an effort in limiting the effects of their business on the environment.
7. Ask locals
What are you going to do on your holiday destination? Try to hire locals to carry out these activities.
For example: local agencies, a local tour guide, local restaurants and local food. This will give you a great experience. It allows you to discover local culture and meet local people. Moreover, you’ll support the local community by spending your money locally instead of on multinational companies.
8. Walk as much as possible (or go by bike)
Walking and cycling are the most environmental friendly options to move around. By walking or cycling you won’t pollute the environment at all. Additionally, it allows you to fully see and experience a certain city or area.
Try to avoid short taxi rides or bus rides as much as possible. Just walk. It’s way more fun.
9. Eat local food
Eat locally. Local food is prepared by locals. But more importantly, most of the times the ingredients are grown and produced locally. This means that less CO2 is produced for producing your meal. Especially compared to food that was transported all over the world to reach you. Eating locally is not perfect, but definitely a lot better than not local meals.
It’s also way more fun, because it allows you to taste local dishes and flavours. Food is culture.
10. Leave nothing more than your own footprint – and keep your carbon footprint as small as possible
I think it’s the most normal thing in the world to not leave any garbage. It should be normal to clean up after yourself. However, we all know that many people appear to think otherwise.
Try to produce as little waste as possible everywhere you go. You can do this by not accepting plastic bags and plastic packaging. You won’t use or need those anyway. Bring your own bag when shopping. Try to leave the waste you do produce it in a garbage can, preferably recycled.
Remember: you’re a guest in another country. Be a good, responsible and clean guest. Try to behave as you want guests to behave in you house, city, area and country. Don’t pollute the local environment, where other people live. That’s sustainable traveling.