When travelling it’s rare that we think about positively impacting the environment and acting ethically and sustainably. Travel and sustainability just isnt a happy marriage because of how much damage travelling can do to the environment. But the fact is that climate change and global warming is accelerating to the point of no return.
The travel and tourism industry have been heavily criticised for being responsible for this. Airport expansions, more and more people travelling than ever and hostels and hotels using more electricity and water to support these travellers. It is contributing in many ways. The need to consciously change our travel habits and the way we go about exploring the world is increasing.
Fortunately for us lot there’s many ways, both small and big, in which we can do this. And before anyone asks – no it doesn’t involve cancelling travel plans don’t worry :p Let’s talk about 5 of them!
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1. Reuse own essentials
Getting the most our of the same set of essentials rather than buying more and more is one way of travelling sustainably.
Pack your own towel/other bathroom essentials from home instead of using the accommodation’s bathroom stuff. Reuse plastic bags for liquids and gels or any shopping you may do when on a trip. This means less plastic is purchased by yourself and less plastic is polluting the seas and rivers. The very mesmerising seas and rivers of the Earth that we look at on social media and be in awe of.
If doing laundry at accommodation then choose eco wash or the most energy efficient option available. Once washed dry the clothes outdoors rather than using dryer.
All in all you’re saving money as well as the accommodation you’re staying in. Less electricity, water and therefore energy is being used to do the same everyday tasks.
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2. Dine at more vegan/vegetarian friendly restaurants
Where you eat and what you eat on your travels can be an important factor in being sustainable and green.
So you’re a foodie and want to know how your diet and nutrition can help the planet? Opt for more organic and vegan/vegetarian friendly meals over processed food. Your meat-free options will be preserving animals in the wild which contribute to the planet’s ecosystem. For example therefore or
To the meat lovers, I’m not saying cut out meat/poultry/beef entirely. Otherwise eating won’t be an enjoyable experience for you no more should you make a drastic change. but just to consume less than previous and more of the alternativs. For instance eat meat only 2 or 3 times a week rather than everyday. Consider having meat free burgers and sausages instead of beef and pork variants. Some even taste just like meat so you won’t sense much difference.
Consuming less meat and animal fats is not only protecting the animals and our planet’s biodiversity but research says it has its health benefits also.
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3. Take Alternative Transport
Planes are among the biggest contributors to CO2 emissions in the world. Despite seeing all the wonders of the world and having spontaneous experiences, our frequent flights are doing damage to the planet also/
Most of these flights are either domestic or around Europe where countries are litereally next door neighbourhoods. Fortunately that works towards our favour as there are other transport we can use to travel to those same countries. You’ve got the Eurostar, Interrail, coaches and Ferries. It may take longer you longer to get to destinations but less carbon is being used up and it leaves more opportunity for adventure!
4. Invest In More Local Businesses
Self-owned businesses and shops are often the heart and soul of a local community. The indie music blasting out through the doors, the fruit and veg sold on pop up stalls, the distinctive smell that you only find with a particular store. All of thaat gives the whole area its character, colour and vibe.
Most importantly the owners are average people who earn a living running these businesses. Rather than giving to corporate brands that you see on your typical high street, take the chance to put your money into the small businesses. You can dine at an independent restaurant instead of going luxury or mainstream. Shop for 2nd-hand clothing and accessories at vintage/charity shops. You’ll find some clothes or shoes that are still of great quality and won’t be going in the waste. Stay in Airbnbs and not just hotels all the time.
That way we’re experiencing more of a country’s culture beyond the touristy activities and also keeping the authenticity. Also we allow small businesses to thrive and not contributing to the gentrification of the local areas in countries and out pricing the residents.
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Money makes the world go round as they say and as harsh it sounds, financial investment by businesses, brands and organisations can provide the means to.
Even the average person can partake in this too but making small donations when purchasing flight tickets. All donations This will go into funding for research into work done to make travelling more green and decarbonising the industry. For example from next year, France will be introducing a travel tax on flight tickets purchased and reinvest it in development of other modes of transport.
One tips include doing volunteering activities within local communities like deep cleaning beaches and forests and washing and cleaning animals, taking longer and fewer trips. The latter reducing the frequency of flights taken and thus reduce carbon emissions.
Change is hard – especially when it’s at the expense of our convenience but it is needed for a better future. Shoutout to Black British Travel Meetup and BLANGUAGE for their collab event on sustainable travel giving me the idea for this. Shoutout to WTM Responsible Tourism for their talks at WTM inspiring me to kick on with this post.
There’s work to be done to be kinder to our planet and we can all do our part.
Are you a sustainable traveller? What other tips are there to help travellers be more environmentally conscious? Drop a like and share if you enjoyed reading this. Sub or click the follow button if you’re new to the blog!
I’ll be back with another post this Thursday! Stay plugged in guys xD
Johnny | Johnny’s Traventures