Best Practices for Sustainable Travel
Taking care of the earth is everyone’s responsibility and just as important when traveling, as it is at home. We’ve talked a bit about how you can pack more sustainably, but there’s so much we can all do to be a little more environmentally-friendly. So, we’ve dug a little deeper to offer some “best practices” for sustainable travel.
Many travelers wouldn’t consider the big innovations being made in air travel as having anything to do with sustainability, but many large airlines that have actually implemented more of a “green” travel outlook for the good of the planet. Every Steph has a great article on the top five sustainable airlines. Some of these airlines include United Airlines and Virgin America. Sustainable practices from these airlines include the use of biofuel or low-fuel consumption. In addition to that, these companies recycle all on-board food and drink containers while using sustainable cleaning products for on-flight cleanup.
Next up, packing your life away is the next step before your big trip. Eco Warrior Princess has a phenomenal list of some eco-friendly and sustainable pieces of luggage. She provides information about each piece’s eco credentials, price range, shipping info, and whether it is ethically made. Always question where your things come from and how they are made before you purchase!
Depending on where you plan to travel, there may be many choices as to the transportation you can use. If you want to keep your sustainability streak going, choose public transportation whenever you can. If that just isn’t feasible for where you plan to visit, then try your best to choose a hybrid or completely electric rental car. If you can’t decide whether or not you should use rental or public transportation, check out this article for a little more guidance.
It is easy to lay out all of the things you pack with you, use to carry things, and use as containers, and find simple swap-outs that are eco-friendly, recyclable, and even biodegradable. You can start with your water bottle if you like to have one with you in your carry-on to fill up at your leisure. This will also reduce the waste those small plastic cups full of water make on the flights to and from. My personal favorite is Hydro Flask. Next, if you plan to shop around, carry with you a reusable shopping bag or a canvas tote bag so you don’t have a collection of plastic bags before your flight home. This will reduce your waste and carbon footprint, Earth will thank you!
Purchase from Locals
One for the most beautiful and original parts of a culture is being able to purchase crafts and wares directly from local artisans and merchants. Purchasing something that is a little bit more pricey, but handmade, is much better and more important to the local community and economy than buying a cheap souvenir imported from elsewhere. This supports the locals and helps to keep their businesses going, while also sending you off with something more authentic than the alternative.
Research Your Excursions
If you plan on booking events and excursions on your trip abroad, be sure to do plenty of research into the tours and activities offered. First, be sure to book with a company that has sustainable practices and supports the local wildlife and environment. Also, think twice about booking that wildlife tour or a swim with the dolphins. More times than not, tourists are lied to, being told these beautiful animals are rescued or born in captivity, and if they were released they wouldn’t survive in the wild. However, these companies usually kidnap the animals from the wild and hold them in captivity, forcing them to do tricks for tourists and live in small enclosures that aren’t humane for the animals.
There are so many more things you can do to be a more sustainable traveler. It requires a lot of research and education on your part before you depart for your destination, but it will make you a more respectful traveler as well.
Do you have any tips on how to be more sustainable? What have you taken away from this post that you will put into practice the next time you take a big trip? Let us know, and don’t forget to pin!