A Guide to Sustainable Travel — Be a Responsible Tourist

A Guide to Sustainable Travel

Traveling has many advantages for both the traveler and the area they travel in. It fosters cultural exchange, offers economic benefits, and gives us a different perspective on the world around us. However, it can also come at the expense of the environment through increased CO2 emission. With over 1.3 million international tourist arrivals, it’s important to seek ways of making our travel more sustainable.  

What does Sustainable Travel Mean?

Sustainable travel is not synonymous with holidays. It is rather about having many people make many small changes. The overall effect of these changes can be enormous.   Transport  The share of air traffic in global CO₂ emission is considerable. It is unrealistic to dispense airplanes when traveling abroad, but we can change the way we use this means of transport.  Many airlines are running long-term environmental programs. But what can you do now? Climate compensation is a process whereby an effect caused by a certain activity (e.g., a vacation flight triggering CO₂ emission) is compensated for by another activity (e.g., non-production of greenhouse gases) elsewhere. Quite a few major European airlines encourage their clients to donate to the compensation initiative, and this can be a great way of minimizing the environmental impact of your flight.  

Choose Airlines and Travel Providers that Care About the Environment

Imagine being a student who wants to buy essay online cheap. You’ll probably look for platforms with reasonable prices, where writers use relevant materials, process your order diligently, and care about you. After all, you don't want to worsen your performance. The same approach can be applied to traveling — you just consider different ways to make it smart without hurting the environment. You may spend some time looking for the best decision. Still, the variety of options is definitely wider than you expect. When it comes to being as sustainable as air and travel operators, one should keep in mind a number of factors determining a successful outcome of the efforts: 

  • How old are the planes (newer machines typically use less fuel and produce fewer emissions)?
  • How do you deal with waste (especially with particularly environmentally friendly packaging)? 
  • Is there any other way to save energy and resources during the flight? Will alternative fuels be used?  
  • How do you do the dishes?  
  • Are there any partnerships with organizations that specialize in promoting sustainability?)  

If you want to travel in a particularly eco-friendly way, you should spend some time answering these questions. Once you have, you can choose your provider accordingly.  Another way of flying sustainably is to fly less. The cheapest flights usually consist of several connecting flights, which require stopovers and increase fuel consumption. You should pay a little more to shorten the flight time. A more direct flight inevitably leads to less CO2 emission.  And last but not least, use greener public transport whenever or and wherever you can. Intercontinental trains, inner-city trams, and even carpools can help you improve CO₂ balance, too.  

Stay in Eco or Organic Hotels

Once you have arrived at your destination, you should find the most sustainable hotel. Eco-friendly (or organic) hotels putting a lot of emphasis on the following aspects: 

  • Low energy consumption
  • Sustainable building materials 
  • Targeted recycling 
  • Use of local produce 
  • Fair treatment of local workers, etc. 

More adventurous travelers can benefit from 100% green accommodation, but it usually costs more. 

Little Things That Matter 

Even small things can make a big difference. Here are a few final ideas for your first steps towards sustainable travel:  

  • Go paperless.
    Make sure your trip is paperless by not printing out travel plans, confirmations, and reservations. Your smartphone can even be used to scan the boarding pass.
  • Take a bottle with you.
    Carrying a bottle while traveling reduces the amount of plastic used. 
  • Show sensitivity in crowded places.
    Always follow the local instructions on how to behave in such a place. If a sign indicates that you should not climb somewhere high to get a great shot, it’s almost certainly for the benefit of the environment. 
  • Walk wherever you can.
    Hiking is a fantastic way to explore your destinations.  
  • Use public transport.
    Opt for sustainable public transport whenever and wherever it is possible. 
  • The “Please, do not disturb” sign.
    While staying in a hotel, use the “do not disturb” sign to avoid the change of sheets and towels. 
  • Buy local products.
    Try to buy from local traders. It promotes sustainable economic growth in the area.  

Buy the Right Souvenirs

While on vacation, you should avoid all inappropriate souvenirs, such as ivory or coral pieces. You can also support the locals by acquiring handmade goods from local artists.   

Respect Local Customs and Traditions

Sustainability is not only about saving energy/resources and caring about the environment. It also means doing the least possible cultural damage by respecting local customs and practices. Before embarking on a trip, eco-travelers should inform themselves about special dress codes, greetings, gestures, and unusual traditions. The locals will be grateful to you, and you will be guaranteed a much friendlier welcome in their country!  

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