Last Updated on May 19, 2023
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Every Day Is Earth Day: Simple Ways To Improve Your Eco-Friendly Travel
Travelling can be an incredibly rewarding experience, but it also has a significant environmental impact. If we want to ensure that our planet is still around for future generations to enjoy, it’s important to think about how we can reduce the negative impacts of travel and make sure that we take part in Eco-friendly travel.
Even if you’re a beginner, our list of practical tips can assist you in planning your trip without requiring a complete redesign. All it takes is small changes to reduce your carbon footprint while travelling so you can help protect the earth during your adventures.
Reduce Your Use Of Single-Use Plastics
Our oceans accumulate 8 million metric tons of plastic every year. To visualize, every minute of every day, a garbage truck’s worth of plastic is dumped into the ocean. Research has shown that plastic may not fully degrade and instead becomes micro-plastic, which can take hundreds of years to break down.
Single-use plastic items like straws, water bottles, and shopping bags are some of the biggest contributors to plastic pollution in our oceans and landfills.
Single-use beverage bottles are frequently used by tourists and are one of the most common plastic items. A simple solution that will help while avoiding any inconvenience is to carry your own reusable water bottle during the trip. Consider bringing a water bottle with a built-in purifier when travelling to a location with questionable water quality. For packing purposes, Eco-friendly refillable toiletry bottles, and stainless steel straws are also good options. By taking action, you have the power to significantly reduce the amount of plastic waste that gets dumped into our surroundings.
Flying has a much bigger environmental impact than other forms of travel due to the large amounts of fuel used and carbon emissions released during the flight experience. To reduce your environmental impact when flying, look for airlines that use newer planes with more efficient engines. Also, when feasible, you can drive or take a train instead of flying.
Please remember that there is no universal rule for choosing a transportation method because the carbon footprint is determined by the type of energy used. The most sustainable option will differ depending on the destination.
Some notable advances in technology have helped trains in the Netherlands to be fuelled by wind energy. Additionally, some Tuk-Tuks in Thailand are now electric. To make an informed decision, research the various transportation options available in the destination you plan to visit.
Choose Sustainable Accommodations
There are a variety of Eco-friendly lodging options available these days, such as hotels that use solar energy or those that are part of green certification programs. Doing some research ahead of time can help you find an accommodation that is committed to reducing its environmental impact.
Remember that a company’s self-proclaimed status as ‘green’ or ‘sustainable’ is not a guarantee that they truly practice sustainability. Search for details on the company’s policies and practices. Additionally, ask questions about their Eco-friendly initiatives to show that you’re taking your reservation options seriously.
Eat Local And Support Sustainable Businesses
Eating locally-sourced food and patronizing small, sustainable businesses whenever possible can help reduce your carbon footprint while travelling. It is a great way to support the local economy and get an authentic taste of the destination you’re visiting. It is also where you will find the BEST meals.
Respect The Environment
Whenever you’re in nature, make sure to leave the area as clean and undisturbed as possible. Be mindful of your impacts on wildlife and fragile ecosystems, and never litter or take souvenirs from natural areas.
Also, never carve anything into nature. We have seen it too many times, whether carvings on trees during a hike, or defacing hoodoos in Alberta’s Drumheller.
A big part of helping the earth is respecting your surroundings by following the Leave No Trace Principles. Take a step further and help pick up garbage others have selfishly left behind. Bring a bag when you are on the trail or during a beach visit, and encourage others to do the same. By taking small steps like these, we can all help make a big difference.
Use Public Transportation
Whenever possible, opt for using public transportation over renting a car or taking a taxi. This can help reduce your carbon footprint and may even be more affordable than other options. Plus, it’s an opportunity to get a feel for the local culture and connect with locals in a way that isn’t always possible with other forms of travel.
Educate Yourself And Others
Researching the local customs, traditions, and environmental regulations helps you become more aware of your impact on the destination. It can help you respect the culture and environment better when travelling. It’s also important to share this knowledge with others and encourage sustainable travel practices whenever possible.
Visit Parks And Protected Areas
Protected areas like national parks and marine sanctuaries serve a crucial purpose in safeguarding our planet’s natural resources and preserving its biodiversity. To preserve the special natural sites and animals, many countries depend on collecting tourism fees like entrance fees, operator permits, or bed levies. Every year, the world’s protected areas receive visits from over 8 billion people, resulting in approximately $600 billion in spending. The dollars are used to fund conservation activities that protect the areas and also provide income to local communities.
Read Next – Kruger National Park Safari Guide
Conserve Local Water And Energy Resources
One of the easiest ways to reduce your environmental impact when travelling is to turn off all lights and electrical devices that you aren’t using. This simple action can help reduce wasted energy and save electricity, which has a direct effect on reducing carbon emissions. Also, if you notice that housekeeping leaves the lights on when they are done, leave a note or mention it at the front desk.
To conserve water, take a quick shower instead of a bath. You can also wash your clothes by hand and hang the “Do Not Disturb” sign outside your room to avoid unnecessary laundry service.
Use Biodegradable Products
To help reduce plastic pollution and other environmental impacts, try to use biodegradable products whenever possible. This includes things like shampoo and conditioner bars, bamboo toothbrushes, reusable makeup remover pads, cloth bags for shopping, and more.
Please be aware that the water that goes down your shower drain might end up in water sources or be used for crop irrigation, therefore take extra care with the products you use.
When you go hiking, it’s convenient to have baby wipes for a quick refresh. But it’s important to use wipes that are biodegradable and don’t contain plastic. We suggest using Surviveware Biodegradable Wet Wipes.
Use Reef-Safe Sunscreen
Protect your skin and the environment at the same time. Many conventional sunscreens contain chemicals (oxybenzone and octinoxate) that are damaging to coral reefs. As soon as you jump into the water, it immediately starts causing pollution in the ecosystem and even promotes coral bleaching.
Help protect both you and the environment when you’re spending time in the ocean by making better sunscreen choices. We reach for SunBum sunscreen!
To reduce overcrowding at popular tourist destinations, try to avoid travelling during peak times or on holiday weekends. This can help preserve the natural environment and prevent damage from excessive foot traffic. Visiting during quieter times also lets you get a more authentic experience of the destination and its people.
Be Cautious When Selecting Animal Experiences
It is not ethical to keep animals for human entertainment and they deserve to live without human interference in their natural habitats. If you want to observe wild animals in their natural habitat, it’s important to select destinations that provide ethical and sustainable interactions with the animals, like sanctuaries for elephants (carefully check these!) or volunteering for marine conservation projects. Please avoid any activities that involve animals behaving unnaturally, including elephant rides.
Get Off The Beaten Path
Instead of going to popular tourist destinations that everyone is sharing on Instagram, try exploring less crowded and lesser-known places for a more rewarding experience. Avoid the tourist traps and get off the beaten path.
Also, many popular tourist destinations often fail to meet expectations. You might have to wait in long lines for hours and find out that the place doesn’t look the same as it did in pictures online. Go find your own gems!
Take It Slow And Stay For A While
Trying to fit too much into a trip can be tempting, especially if it’s your first and only visit to the destination. Although having a full itinerary may seem perfect, it is probable that you will spend most of your vacation hurrying from one place to another. If you focus solely on checking off popular tourist attractions from your bucket list, you’ll fail to truly experience the essence of the destination. Moreover, this hurried and hectic approach to tourism can be quite stressful, especially if you travel with children.
Going at a slower pace will enhance your experience of the place you are visiting. Taking the time to fully experience the culture and make meaningful connections with locals is best done when you are not in a rush, allowing you to appreciate the destination’s distinctive qualities.
One way to stay in one place for a longer period of time is to participate in working travel. This is a great opportunity to contribute to the local economy as opposed to just being a tourist. Working travel can take many forms, such as work exchange programs, volunteering, or finding opportunities to give back to the community.
For example, Canada’s agricultural sector is experiencing a succession crisis due to the majority of farmers being over 55 years old and planning to retire in the next decade. More than half of the farming population falls into this category (2023) and 80% of them are looking to retire soon, leaving many opportunities for farm workers with travellers looking for employment as they travel.
If we want to ensure that our planet is still around for future generations to enjoy, it’s important to think about how we can reduce the negative impacts of travel and make sure that our trips are as Eco-friendly as possible.
These are just a few examples that can make a difference for the environment on your next trip. By following these suggestions, you’ll be able to fully appreciate the beauty of the places you visit while helping to preserve our beautiful planet.
We can create a more responsible tourism industry by making these simple changes. The time for this is now.
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