6 Easy Tips for Environmentally-Friendly Travel
Chances are that if you are someone who has common sense and doesn’t think climate change was invented by the Chinese, you have heard of environmentally-friendly travel one way or another. I also don’t think I have to tell you how bad the current global environmental situation really is (even though those polar bears and millions of other endangered species can use all the help they get). However, I know that traveling often means doing even less to protect the environment than back home because we often don’t have the time or we don’t know how to because of the language barrier in another country.
Therefore, here are 6 easy tips to make a difference for a cleaner earth with environmentally-friendly travel:
Your eco-friendly vacation starts before you even get to your destination. Do your research and find out information on local ecotourism and sustainable tourism options. Many countries around the globe now offer attractive eco-friendly tour packages and experiences to make a difference. Use sources such as Ecotourism Explorer TIES’ interactive online directory, to prepare for your perfect eco-holiday.
Choose the best way to get there
Taking an airplane is definitely the CO2-heaviest choice of transport but oftentimes unavoidable. However, you can make a different for shorter overland destinations and choose to use the train or express bus. Use the WWF Travel Helper to calculate your eco-friendliest route. If you take an airplane, pack light! Not only can you avoid annoying costs for baggage but you also save CO2. The more your luggage and therefore the plane weighs, the more carbon emissions it produces. Bring only what you really need and the environment will thank you.
Choose the right place to stay
Do your research and find eco-friendly accommodation in your travel destination. These options can be found all across the globe and are a great way to protect the environment when exploring other places. The Check Out for Nature tool from WWF enables you to find hotels that are part of the Leading Hotel of the World cause. This means, accommodations part of this group have effective waste treatment systems, they recycle and are energy efficient, and oftentimes also use environmentally friendly energy sources such as solar energy or hydroelectric power. You can also find many eco-friendly hotels and hostels online via Instagram, for example.
Respect the local environment
Once you’ve arrived, it should go without saying that you don’t leave your manners at home. Don’t litter, stay on designated trails and footpaths and do not feed animals or destroy wildlife of any kind.
Many travelers pamper themselves while on holiday and often forget saving energy. There’s nothing wrong with enjoying your vacation to the fullest but avoid things like blasting the air-conditioning nonstop, taking long showers, baths in excessive amounts or leaving the lights on even if you’re not in your room. Try to use a refillable water bottle rather than buying bottled plastic water. You can also purchase a water sterilizing tool for healthy water.
Choose Eco-Friendly tour operators and suppliers
While it can often be difficult to find out whether a tour operator abroad operates in a sustainable and mindful manner, a little bit of online research can quickly reveal which providers are worth booking tours with. It goes without saying that you should avoid tours involving (endangered) animals used for entertainment purposes and should you find yourself in a situation where you witness mistreatment of wildlife abroad, you can always report it to local or international environmental organizations or warn about these attractions on social media or your website/blog.
Happy Eco-Friendly Travels!