What Is The Most Sustainable Way You Can Travel? The Answer May Surprise You
So you want to know the most sustainable way to travel? Well, you’ve come to the right place. Before I dive into this question, let me say this. It’s easy to get caught up in what everyone else is doing or even to seek out the opinion of others and what they think is best. But the truth is only you can decide what’s best for yourself.
As a traveler, you grow and change a lot. Over time you get a better understanding of what works for you and what doesn’t. Your experiences and what you learn will ultimately shape how you approach sustainability. There is no one right way to do it, so don’t compare yourself or worry about others.
The following resources will help you kickstart your journey and maybe even spark some curiosity on how you can be better equipped to travel more responsibly.
Community-based tourism is a way for visitors to receive tours and services through a local’s knowledge and expertise. It gives locals full control in creating a genuine and culturally immersive experience for newcomers. What better way to learn the culture than to be educated by the people themselves?!
Some excellent options include Intrepid Travel, Lonely Planet, Responsible Travel, and I Like Local. I would also recommend reaching out to any connections you may have of people you know with families in different countries. A lot of times, they will know about communities that are working towards specific goals. Even if you don’t know anyone you can also use your social media platform, like Instagram, to find new businesses by searching #communitybasedtourism, #sustainabletourism, etc.
So next time you are planning your trip, prioritize the resources they have to offer. Being welcomed by a local is a very special and humbling way to connect with the people. You contribute to their economic stability through job creation, and you’re helping promote the culture, their heritage, and traditions. All while making them feel comfortable and proud of who they are. This is also a great way to learn some of the languages! Learning how to speak with locals in their language shows them you really care.
Hotels with Green Initiatives
The hospitality industry has been adapting to more eco-conscious business models, and as travelers, I encourage you to participate!! Many hotels have created green team committees to incorporate policies that support sustainability. It’s a good idea to ask for a quick introduction to the programs they have available in your area.
For example, some hotels have opted to use apps as a replacement for room keys to eliminating plastic. Others are focusing on improving their waste treatment systems and provide energy efficiency through solar energy. You’d be surprised to learn some resorts are even using special tanks to collect rainwater that gets reused for toilet flushing!
The bottom line is making sure you are staying with businesses that are taking action. If they have a towel reuse program, use the towel multiple times. If the restaurant offers farm-to-table foods, choose to eat there! These green initiatives will grow better and stronger over time as we continue to support them.
Carbon Offset Your Flights
Although flying contributes to greenhouse gas emissions, there are a few ways you can fight back for a healthier environment. Carbon emissions are the release of carbon dioxide into the air. This, along with other greenhouse gases, are what contributes to climate change. To lessen these effects, there are programs to offset the carbon emissions. Examples of this include Clear, Sustainable Travel International, Terrapass, and Native Energy. Many of these programs will measure the carbon emissions and help match it with a reasonable solution like planting trees.
While carbon offsetting isn’t a permanent solution to climate change, it’s a good step in the right direction. It’s always better to do something than to do nothing. If you plan to fly, consider taking a straight flight and traveling slowly from one destination to the next. Remember that you can take the train or bus whenever possible too. Whatever you can do to lessen your carbon footprint is worth taking action.
Quality Over Quantity
Making a conscious decision to buy local products that will last a long time is one of the best ways to save money and practice a more eco-friendly lifestyle. When you’re learning more about a brand’s commitment to sustainability, check for certification labels like Certified B Corporation, 1% For The Planet, Fairtrade, or Certified Humane. These labels promote transparency so you can feel good about where your money is going.
If you’re unsure, it’s always safe to ask questions. You can also check the FAQs section of the website or contact customer help via email if you need more info and cannot shop in person.
There is freedom in being an advocate for the planet, and although it starts as a learning process, it’s like a snowball effect. One action leads to another, and before you know it, your way of life inspires someone to do the same!
There is room for everyone to be more sustainable in their own way. Whatever it may be, don’t be afraid to pursue it.