If you are reading this, you are probably doing things to be more environmentally friendly, like taking your water bottle wherever you go and carrying a tote bag for purchases. But how can you make travel more sustainable? You may be surprised at how easy it is to minimize your environmental impact while still getting to see the world. Here are a few suggestions to help you get started.
Make smart travel choices
Here’s a rule of thumb: the shorter the flight, the less carbon emissions, so that’s something to consider when deciding where to go. If you can, book a non-stop instead of a connecting flight, which usually mean flying a greater distance, not to mention the fact that airplanes use more fuel when taking off and landing.
And remember that travel doesn’t just include airplanes. You can dramatically reduce your carbon footprint by not renting a car and using public transportation, and by taking every opportunity to walk or bike. An added benefit: you’ll get a close-up look at your destination and may even save some money!
Choose a sustainable destination
According to a new report by Euromonitor International, Sweden is currently the most sustainable tourist destination. Why? Because it promotes rural and regional tourism in core cities, offers alternatives to flying, and has award-winning sustainable lodgings. Plus, the Scandinavian country is also very involved in green initiatives such as preserving the Arctic ice and permafrost to help stop climate change, and aims to achieve net zero emissions by 2045.
Other top sustainable destinations include Finland, Austria, Estonia, Norway, Slovakia, Iceland, Latvia, France and Slovenia.
But if your heart is set on another tourist destination, try to do so outside the peak season (summer).
Spend mindfully and locally
The goal is to ensure your money goes back into the local economy. Good ways to do this include opting for homestays or family-run B&Bs and hiring local guides. If you’re picking up souvenirs or gifts, choose handmade items by local artisans to stimulate the economy and preserve their cultural heritage. And whenever possible, eat at restaurants that serve locally sourced food.
Limit energy use and plastic waste, and conserve water
Pack lightly, since every pound means more fuel when you’re flying. Bring a reusable water bottle with you, skip the disposable travel-size toiletries, and save on electricity by turning off all appliances when you leave your hotel room. Also, conserve water whenever possible by keeping your showers short, turning off the tap while brushing your teeth and reusing towels. Small habits like these can make all the difference!
Traveling helps us better understand others, teaches us empathy and broadens our horizons. It’s an experience everyone should have! And by doing it more sustainably, we can reap the benefits while reducing its impact on the environment. So, are you ready to travel sustainably and see the world? Pack your bags and let’s go!