Thinking of travelling? These ten tips for more sustainable travel not only reduce your carbon footprint, they can also make your holiday a more enjoyable experience – one that gives you a better understanding of the place you’re visiting and the people who live there.
1. Do your homework
Yes, we know the words homework and holiday don’t sound right together, but find out about your destination before you go. You may not want to whale watch in a country that regularly flouts moratoriums on whale hunting, or take a wildlife safari in a country with little commitment to conservation.
2. Your own backyard
Australia and New Zealand are renowned for their natural beauty and provide high quality eco tour experiences – and you’ll be using far less fossil fuels in getting there.
3. Respect native flora and fauna
Take pictures not petals, and don’t feed animals. Animals that are fed by eager tourists become less able to forage for themselves.
4. Shop local and support local
Buying local crafts, food and clothing at markets and small stores can be fun – and you’ll be supporting local trades, which helps the local economy.
5. Go local in your accommodation
Smaller local hotels usually have a lower environmental impact and employ local people. They also give you a more unique experience.
6. Think about your rubbish
Many places don’t have safe landfills or recycling facilities so pack as few disposables as possible. Remove wrappings from battery packs and take dead batteries home. Drinking bottled water can prevent illness, if it’s possible to refill bottles at a clean source, do.
Walking is the best way to experience a place and to interact with the people. It’s also a great way to keep fit, particularly if you’re over-indulging in local food. Local transport can also be a great way to see a country at close-hand – and keep your carbon footprint smaller.
Taking a holiday doesn’t have to mean lazing on a beach. Doing something useful can be an invigorating experience, and you can make a valuable contribution. Many countries offer volunteer programs for travellers, giving you a truly unique insight into the place you’re visiting, and helping you to forge lasting connections with people from around the world.
9. Carbon offset
Find out about carbon offsets for flights and adventure experiences, with many companies now offering opportunities to purchase green credits.
10. Tread lightly
No matter where you’re staying, don’t take long showers, remember to turn lights off, and try not to leave food on your plate at the end of a meal – it’s as wasteful as leaving a tap running!