You’ve probably seen how our “nature is healing” as we continue to lock ourselves in the safety of our homes. With the pandemic restrictions in place, our Mother Earth finally takes a breather and reveals her brightest hues; the air is clearer, and the skies and oceans looked even bluer.
In fact, it only took a month for the planet to heal without our presence. This proves the power nature possesses to set things right, and the power humans possess to set things wrong. Thus, these positive changes will only be fleeting if we don’t take our environment seriously.
COVID-19 gave Earth a break, so now is the time to keep the momentum going.
While countries are opening for travel and tourism once again, it is essential to consider the practice of sustainable travel. Sustainable travel allows travelers to preserve localities, support biodiversity conservation, and implement responsible travel actions in their daily activities.
Why sustainable travel?
Travel and tourism is considered the largest and most diverse global industry in history. Employing 1 in 10 people, it touches an incredible number of locations and people in all corners of the world.
However, it doesn’t always leave a good impact. Overcrowding, environmental degradation, and excessive greenhouse gas emissions are all challenges brought by the rise of the travel and tourism industry in recent years.
As the industry recovers from the crisis, there has never been a better time to rethink and reshape your past travel habits. This is your chance to start things fresh and choose a more sustainable path forward! With that in mind, we’ve laid out some eco-friendly travel tips for your next guilt-free getaway.
Book your trip with a green-conscious travel agency
Sustainable travel can all start with the simple act of booking a trip. Did you know tour operators play a vital role in the travel and tourism industry? They can influence your choices and practices, as well as the development of your desired tourist spots. Therefore, you have to invest your money in a company that has sustainability at its core.
Though many companies have adopted sustainable travel trends, there are still plenty of businesses that don’t see its value. Keep in mind that just because they promote themselves as “green” or “eco-friendly” doesn’t mean they necessarily are. So, let them know that sustainability matters to you by asking questions and looking for more information.
Choose an efficient mode of transport
The travel and tourism industry serves as the world’s biggest polluter, contributing approximately 8% of greenhouse gas emissions. Air travel, driving, and other forms of transportation make up for the industry’s carbon footprint. While all modes of transport use energy, some are more efficient and environmentally friendly than others.
Note that how you get to your destination makes a difference. So, if possible, try to take the bus or train– which may also be a great opportunity to do sightseeing en route. If you’re going to rent a car, opt for a hybrid or electric one. If you must fly for a long distance, choose an airline that invests in renewable biofuels and go for a non-stop flight.
Don’t put our ecosystem at risk. Conserve!
Wanderlusters are always looking for experiences that capture the true essence of the destinations they visit. This simply means that they are drawn to places with rich biodiversity and unique landscapes. Most of our natural habitats, however, have been badly impacted by our irresponsible actions, and species are now facing extinction as a result.
We shouldn’t ignore the critical task that sustainable travel does in promoting conservation and preserving our ecosystems. When visiting a protected area, make sure to minimize your impact by avoiding degradation, complying with visitation guidelines, and following the Leave No Trace Principles.
Respect and support the local communities
How can we be certain that our trips are more mindful of locals? It all starts with respect. Seize this opportunity to immerse yourself in the local culture by learning their history, traditions, and etiquette during your visit. Do these things not only as a consumer of other people’s experiences but also as someone who has a genuine interest.
Perhaps you would also want to bring memorabilia with you to infinitely reminisce your traveling experience. When buying gifts for yourself and your loved ones, be sure to stop by at small local stores to support the local economy. Let’s also find a way to give back as they granted us the chance to embrace their gem’s beauty. Hashtag support local!
Wherever you go, remember that the place you’re visiting is also someone else’s home. Thus, make every effort to leave destinations as you found them so that future generations of travelers and residents can appreciate them as well.
Before packing your bags, try asking yourself: “How can I take responsibility to ensure that I am positively impacting the sites I visit?”
Alyssa Ross Jorta is a rare and unknown celestial being that believes in the beauty of everything. She sees beauty and happiness in the most trivial things, whether from the sweet aroma of coffee or from a warm embrace of her blanket– and as much as possible, she wants to capture those moments to remember them timelessly.