How to travel more sustainably
19 February 2019
Whether it's a short break or a longer adventure, the way we holiday can have serious impacts on both the natural world and the locals we encounter. That's why knowing how to travel sustainably is vital. Here are a few tips.
1. Don’t always default to air travel
If a Euro-trip or a journey through South Asia is on the cards, trains are a great way to travel between countries. Not only are they often cheaper, and you get to skip the chaos of airports, you can experience a unique view of the country as you rattle through while also cutting your carbon footprint.
2. Choose the path less travelled
Getting off the beaten track is not only exciting, it also gives you the opportunity to contribute to local economies that don’t frequently receive the benefit of tourist dollars.
Choosing local guided tours is a great way to support local operators who depend on guiding as a source of income. As well as supporting these individuals, you’re much more likely to gain an authentic insight into the daily lives of residents from someone offering smaller scale, more personal experiences.
3. Get behind local vendors
For many, souvenir shopping is an integral part of any trip, and the items we buy become tangible reminders of our experiences. It's easy to fall into the trap of purchasing items that look like traditional, locally-manufactured goods but are actually mass-produced elsewhere specifically to dupe unknowing tourists.
While the authentic equivalents are sometimes pricier, this money is often the only livelihood for the vendors. By buying from them, you not only contribute to the local economy, you’re supporting what are likely to be generation-old crafts and trades in your chosen destination.
When it comes to food, why not try eating as the locals do? Consuming local produce is not only fun and interesting, it also reduces your carbon footprint. Shopping at markets means your food hasn’t been transported great distances to get onto your plate and the produce is, more often than not, grown without harmful pesticides.
4. Think about what you’re paying for
It can be easy to get caught up in the fun of travelling, without always thinking whether the activities you participate in are sustainable and ethical.
The exploitation of animals in particular is a serious issue, with captivity practices sometimes permitting abusive or unsafe conditions. Do your research before investing your money.
5. Don’t forget about the environment
It’s everyone’s responsibility to look after the environment, even if you’re far away from home. So put rubbish in the bin, recycle, say no to plastic straws and take reusable shopping bags with you.
To learn more about the changes you can make to increase sustainable practices in your life, check out our blog.