If you are an experienced traveller, or a complete newcomer in the travel industry, it’s so important to think about your travel footprint. Making an effort to ‘go green’ while travelling may seem like something that takes the novelty out of the experience but you will be surprised that it does quite the opposite! By giving back to communities and saving the environment while you are travelling, not only will you have a good time, you will have peace of mind when you return home that you influenced the world in a positive, ethical way.
Choose an ethical travel destination
First and foremost, if you want to go green whilst travelling, the travel destination you choose will make a huge impact on your travel footprint. How? All travel destinations around the world have different standards for environmental protection, social welfare and human rights. So, you want to ensure that by visiting and contributing economically to a city, that they will use your money in ethical ways. This is easy to research and will be your first step in going green for your trip. To find out more about each country and their ethical standards, you can visit ethicaltraveler.org a NFP organisation protecting both human rights and the environment.
Search for green accommodation
When searching for where to stay while abroad, keep an eye out for LEED Certified Buildings. These buildings are certified to use renewable energy, use correct recycling methods and use environmentally friendly cleaning products. This is maybe something you have never thought of, however, as you might agree, its something that is just as important while travelling as it is in your own home. Also, by choosing to stay in locally run hotels you will be making your stay not only environmentally responsible but also socially responsible for having a positive impact on the local economy. To find out more visit http://www.travelweekly.com.au/article/where-to-find-eco-friendly-accomodation/
Choose a green-focused tour company
If you are going travelling for leisure purposes and decide to go on a tour, stop right there and think about what company you decide to pair up with. There are many tour companies that promote ethical practices and are aware of social and political issues in different travel destinations – and there are plenty that are not. How to find out if a travel company is ethical? You will be able to tell, firsthand whether a tour company is green-focused or not. Look out for factors such as the ways they contribute to the community and if their knowledge of local flora and fauna. By doing this simple research, you can have total peace of mind that you have chosen a tour company that is focused on making a positive difference.
Think about your transport choices
When traveling, how you get around can be something you don’t plan ahead and rather, think of last minute. However, doing some simple research on the public transport facilities in the area or bike hire facilities, will be drastically improving your environmental footprint. Going somewhere short distance? Choose to walk over – not only will you be making a positive impact on the environment but you will also be doing the same for your body! Plus, you may even meet a local or experience something you wouldn’t have if you were inside a vehicle. The following link provides a handy tool which allows you to calculate the CO2 emissions based on the transport you choose https://greenseat.nl/en/why-travel-green/
Firstly, pack light. Not only will this save you more time and effort when travelling, but you will also be saving the environment. The heavier your luggage, the more fuel a car or plane will utilise during your trip. As a bonus, you can keep things simple and not have to decide on various pieces of clothing day-to-day! Secondly, remember to pack your fair trade clothing demonstrating your individual value for human rights and the environment while travelling.
Give back to the community
When staying in a city abroad, you should look into buying locally sourced food and ingredients. By doing so, you will be directly helping local farmers maintain business and not be overpowered by larger, commercial companies. Another thing you can do to give back is choosing a local tour guide for your travels. Commercial tour companies only know things about cities from an outsiders perspective and are only in it for the money. When choosing a local tour guide, the chances are you will be much more educated on the true facts of the community as they are literally living in it. Above all, you will be giving your money back to the community directly – a simple way to say ‘thank you’.
If you already take action to protect the environment in your everyday life at home, this should come as second nature to you. However, it is important to keep in mind the different systems that are in place in different countries and cities. By asking a local or your tour guide of the best recycling methods, you can ensure you’re doing the right thing.
Minimise your overall footprint in the simple ways
When on holidays, sometimes the small actions you take (or don’t take) can be what really saves the environment. The basics, such as shortening showers, only using aircon less and getting sheets cleaned only when necessary are crucial to lessening your footprint.
We hope after reading this you know a bit more about how to go green while traveling! If you have any recommendations for other eco-travellers, or simply want to share your experience, leave a comment below! We’d also love to answer any questions you may have.