Green travel, responsible travel, sustainable travel or eco-tourism? Whatever the definition, finding a more conscious way of how, why and when we travel is now high on our agendas. In our efforts to change out-dated habits as travellers, we are now actively taking steps to minimise any negative social or environmental effects such as reducing carbon footprints and re-evaluating water, packaging and plastic wastage on our trips. In addition, diligent travellers now vet hotels and tour operators with the aim of creating positive impact on local communities by choosing those who recycle, build with sustainable materials, contribute to local economies and who approach wildlife tourism responsibly.
Mindfully organising sustainable travel
One of the most important factors is considering the most sustainable form of transport to get you to your end destination. Looking for the shortest flight path, flying in economy over higher carbon footprint business class and staying longer in destinations rather than multi-location trips are all better for the environment and can mitigate the negative impact of flying. If time is not of the essence, practice slow travel and look for alternative land-based routes. And it doesn’t stop on arrival, car shares and public transport for getting around your destination can help you keep your trip green.
Choose locally owned accommodation and contribute directly to the resident economy, a brief review of the hotel websites will allow you to understand if it is a foreign-owned hotel or resort where money is redirected out of the local economy. Checking whether your accommodation is committed to a sustainable approach can be difficult but green certificates such as Green Globe and Green Key are now commonplace.
Where possible, avoid large resorts and all-inclusive packages which can be wasteful in their water and energy consumption as well as tending to be foreign owned. Also, as a general rule, the numerous food offerings on site in larger resorts means that tourists are less inclined to visit local restaurants or participate in cultural activities. Check out travel blogs for ideas and inspiration for smaller locations where pre-trip research might be difficult.
For the trip itself, travel light. Your luggage tots up its very own carbon emissions by adding creating greater fuel consumption when powering a plane with heavier load. Ensure you maintain the reduce, recycle, reuse mantra you use at home and pack eco-friendly essentials such as a lightweight reusable water bottle, reusable bag and food container so you can minimise single use plastics whilst away. Whilst in the airport, cut down on the tonnes of plastic waste generated ever year by using a reusable cabin approved liquids bag in security.
So there you have it, a brief voyage into ways you can create a more sustainable holiday for yourself. Now all you have to remember is Money, Tickets, Passport...