A Beginner’s Guide to Sustainable Travel
Every day we are reminded of the environmental devastation taking place all around us. We are bombarded with statistics about rising levels of carbon dioxide, increasing global temperatures and the extinction of precious species.
At times, it feels as if we are unable to enjoy the pleasures of life without somehow harming a sea turtle or emitting greenhouse gasses. Fortunately, this is a myth. When you are mindful of environmentally friendly habits and integrate these practices into your daily life as well as your trips abroad, you are able to indulge in the finer things in life, guilt free.
The beauty of sustainable travel is that is supports the ecological as well as the environmental and social pillars of the area you are visiting. In essence, the aim is to minimise the negative impact of tourism on local environment and communities.
Choose Ethical Tourism Activities
A prime example of tourist destinations that are vulnerable to environmental exploitation would be the safari regions of Southern Africa. There are, unfortunately, many game reserves that are guilty of animal abuse or misuse of the supposedly ‘wild’ land. If you are able to pet the animals then it is likely not a trustworthy establishment.
It is important that you research the various organisations and preferably opt for one that is run by local residents so as to ensure the money is going straight back into the community. Ethical advantages aside, locals will have the best insight into the subject or area you are exploring.
Utilise Eco-Friendly Transport
It is surprisingly easy to significantly reduce your carbon emissions when it comes to modes of transportation. If you are travelling in a region such as Europe, you have the option to take the local train rather than catching a flight to a city in an adjacent country. Trains emit substantially less carbon dioxide than planes.
On a smaller scale, explore using a bicycle or even on foot. Not only will these environmentally-friendly alternatives save you money, but you will find yourself stumbling across hidden gems which allows you to have an authentic and rewarding experience.
Embrace Local Cuisine
When you buy food that is grown and harvested in a nearby region, not only does that product have a minimal environmental footprint, but you are also supporting local business and in that small way, uplifting the communities that are welcoming you to their homes.
When eating at a local restaurant or from a street vendor, you have the opportunity to meet local people who can point you in the direction of secret treasures and less crowded landmarks. This is as enjoyable as picking lucky numbers, and as rewarding too.
Purchase Locally Made Souvenirs
Mass produced souvenirs are generally shipped in in bulk which means they are not environmentally friendly nor authentic. When you buy something that has been produced by a local craftsman, you are able to support local artisans which bolsters the economic status of that area and ensures that they are able to continue working. Authentic souvenirs are oftentimes cheaper which means that you can buy gifts for all your friends and family.