It’s time to plan your summer vacation, but if you’re like most tourists these days, you’ll want to think about the sustainability and impact of your travels. It’s not only tourists that are thinking this way; travel companies, flight companies, and hotels are all making sustainability efforts to support the planet and capture the attention of ethically-minded tourists.
There are two ways you can choose a sustainable destination for your next vacation; you can choose one according to your personal ethics; for instance, a staycation produces far less carbon and supports the local economy, or choose one according to a nation’s sustainability.
Before you book your next vacation, look up the Environmental Performance Index to find out more about the sustainability practices of the travel destination. Do they protect their wildlife, for instance, and do they support conservation and ethical tourism. This helps make your decision.
When it comes to ethical travel, there are two schools of thought. We all know that air travel is one of the leading causes of carbon in the atmosphere, but often it’s the only way to reach a destination. It’s true the flight leaves anyway, but that doesn’t mean we have to support it.
One of the great powers we have in the capitalistic economy is the power to spend money how we choose and support more ethical practices in the world. If you need to buy a flight instead of a low carbon alternative, you can choose to buy flights that offset their carbon for sustainability.
It’s not only airplane companies that are keen to entice sustainable tourists by changing their policies; hotels and hostels are as well. Nowadays, it’s important for the tourist industry to support sustainability practices in line with shifts in the market, making it easier for tourists.
When you’re choosing your hotel, try to find out about their sustainability policy; sometimes, this is easy to see on the website – the company might have a star rating for energy efficiency, water consumption, or local services. Other times, you will have to contact them and ask questions.
Tourism is a massive industry with the potential to support the local communities in iconic destinations, but too often, these communities don’t see the investment they deserve because of global brands that soak up the money instead. However, things are starting to change.
Nowadays, some destinations have local guides and services that match the big brands and help to channel money into the local community. If you want to support the local enemies with your money, stay conscious of where you’re spending it and think about where it’s going in the end.
Low Impact Travel
The world needs to reduce its plastic consumption and replace plastic with more sustainable materials that biodegrade. Although plastic is convenient, it takes hundreds of years to break down, and when it does, it affects the food chain, the soil, and the sealife. But there are alternatives.
One of the main things to avoid on your vacation is single-use plastic, especially in the form of plastic bottles. An easy alternative is to take a flask or water bottle with you and refill it. Also, think about sustainable carry bags and food containers, so you don’t need to rely on plastics.
Low impact traveling also includes reducing your energy consumption and water usage. Whether it’s related to how you travel or how you wash off a day at the beach, your vacation decisions have an impact on finite resources and the amount of carbon in the atmosphere.
If you want to be a truly sustainable tourist this summer, remember to turn off the taps while you brush your teeth and take shorter showers that are a little cooler than usual. These decisions help to reduce global warming and support other areas of the world. Find out more here.
No Trace Traveling
No trace traveling is all about leaving a destination the same way you found it; there’s nothing worse than arriving at a beach or campsite and finding the leftovers of a previous visitor; not only is it unsightly and inconsiderate, but it has a negative impact on the local environment.
What could be better than visiting a place and having an amazing time but leaving it exactly as you found it, ready for someone else to experience it. Even if others don’t follow your good example, you can feel a sense of connecting with other people who share your same attitudes.