Let’s be honest, we are all getting more and more concerned about the deteriorating state of our beautiful planet (or at least most of us are!). As someone who loves to travel, this is a bit of a dilemma since travel in itself – particularly air travel – is not particularly environmentally friendly… and the hotel industry is widely accepted to be one of the least environmentally sustainable business sectors out there! Which is why I decided to write down some of my tips for trying to be more sustainable whilst travelling, whether that is for work, on holiday or backpacking round the world…
My tips for travelling more sustainably:
- Check out how sustainable your tour operator is – do they have any environmental initiatives (such as carbon offsetting, recycling services, supporting local communities, etc)?
- Take a re-usable water bottle with you and re-fill it rather than buying bottled water – those bottles end up in landfill more often than not.
- Buy local produce (including souvenirs!) where possible as this cuts down on pollution caused by transporting goods from one place to another. It also supports the local economy.
- Use shared, public transport where possible to cut down on vehicle emissions. Or, even better, walk or cycle.
- Travel on large, modern planes where possible as they are much more fuel efficient. And try to fly direct as a lot of fuel is used during take-off and landing.
- Think about doing homestays – they are more environmentally sustainable than hotel stays and local people benefit rather than large corporations.
- If you stay in a hotel, don’t just use your towels once… re-use them for several days (ie hang them up after use as this indicates they don’t need changing). If everyone did this it would significantly cut down on the amount of washing which would save lots of electricity and reduce the use of harmful detergents.
- Try to avoid using single use plastics such as drinking cups, straws, etc whenever possible.
- Don’t buy gifts made from shells, animal parts/products or anything that may cause harm to the local environment.
- Don’t visit attractions which exploit wild animals (you know the sort of attraction I’m talking about!) – if people stop visiting these places they will be forced out of business… it’s all about supply and demand!
- Don’t get to close to the wildlife – animals will get used to being around human beings, which is not a good thing!
- Always recycle whatever you can where there are facilities available.
- Don’t buy inflatables just to use on holiday and then dump them – they will just end up in landfill.
- Don’t waste water and electricity – they may be in short supply in some of the destinations you visit. Don’t leave taps running or lights on when you’re not using them.
- Donate to local charities in your destination – try and give something back to the local community.
- Think about taking a volunteering break where you provide assistance to a small community.
So these are my top tips for making travel more sustainable… as you can see, many of these things are fairly basic and take very little effort. We only have one planet – we need to look after it!
Do you have any more tips to add to my list? Let me know in the comments…
Happy (sustainable) travelling!