Eco-friendly ways to make a difference while travelling
We are becoming more and more conscious of the impact of our daily actions on the planet, not to mention the effects of travelling far and wide. But how can we continue to enjoy the excitement of discovering new places while keeping our impact at a minimum? Read on for some simple and useful tips to think about next time you’re considering jetting away for a holiday.
1. Choose your destination wisely
First things first, try not to go too far away. Have you travelled in your own country? Can you get a train rather than a plane? Also, try and avoid places such as Venice or Barcelona that are struggling under the number of tourists, instead, opt for somewhere like Nepal whose tourist industry collapsed after the major earthquake in 2015. There are wonderful places out there to visit that are desperate for tourists so why not go there and help people and avoid overly popular destinations that are being strained by too many visitors.
2. Don’t try and travel Europe in a day
Once you reach a destination, really explore it. Don’t feel the need to cover a lot of land in the name of ticking places off your list. You’ll find more hidden gems and things you weren’t expecting to see while reducing your impact on the local area! Visit places where you can walk and cycle around rather than polluted cities, you’ll connect with the place better anyway!
3. Find sustainable accommodation
Do some research into your accommodation before you book it, what do they do to ensure sustainability? Do they help the local community? It’s always important to support businesses that are helping fight climate change and you’ll feel better about staying with them! And don’t forget that camping is a cheap and cheerful way to stay right in the heart of nature!
4. Save water
Take a reusable water bottle with you! Even if you’re visiting an area that doesn’t have great tap water, ask in restaurants for it to be filled, use water fountains and avoid buying lots of bottled water. Also, consider if where you’re planning to visit is experiencing a water shortage and respect that it might not be best to go there and use up valuable resources unless you are there to try and resolve the problem.
5. Pack light!
Help yourself by packing light and allowing yourself to move about more freely! You might not feel like it will make a difference but if everyone packed lightly, planes would give out considerably less CO2. Not forgetting that it will be cheaper for you to fly without large pieces of luggage. In general, it will make your life easier so why not give it a go?
6. Pack smart.
Forget about plastic shampoo bottles and start using shampoo bars as well as soaps to cut the unnecessary plastic out of your travel. It’ll mean you don’t need to be so frugal with any other liquids you want to pack too! Consider all your items and if they’ll have any effect on the local environment, such as if there are any chemicals in your suncream that might affect the ocean if you choose to go swimming!
7. Eat like a local
It can sometimes be useful to avoid meat and dairy as much as possible while travelling as that reduces your carbon footprint massively. By doing this you can feel like you’re keeping your impact as low as possible if you’ve travelled far (as well as being less likely to get any food poisoning). Another thing to think about is trying sustainable restaurants that use local ingredients rather than chains that choose to import food from all over the world. It will taste better too!
Some useful websites
- https://www.responsibletravel.com/holidays/homestays – consider homestays to help the local community.