Being a sustainable traveler means keeping your ecological footprint low while supporting ethical economic development in local communities affected by tourism. That means everything from minimizing plastic consumption and making greener transportation choices to eating at locally owned restaurants and booking eco conscious accommodations.
The goal of sustainable travel is to meet the needs of the tourism industry without harming natural and cultural environments. If not managed properly, tourism can have incredibly negative impacts, from the loss of a destination’s cultural identity to the depletion of natural resources, pollution, and degradation of ecosystems. In many cases, tourism can be a valuable tool to help support communities and give back to nature.
1. Make smarter flight choices
Air travel emissions make up a whopping 20% of a tourist’s carbon footprint. If you must fly, be sure to pack light to lessen the plane’s load and try to book a non-stop flight. On average, non-stop flights reduce carbon emissions by 100 kg per person compared to connecting options. Not only do connecting flights usually require flying greater total distances, planes use more fuel during taxi, take off, and descent.
2. Switch to reusables
Rather than buying plastic water bottles on your travels, bring along a reusable water bottle instead. If you’re heading to a destination with questionable water quality, look into a water purifying system or tablets. Bring along reusable utensils, tote bags, containers, and straws so you can say no to single use plastic while shopping or eating out.
3. Skip travel size toiletries
Single use travel size toiletry bottles are a huge source of tourism-related plastic pollution and help contribute to the nearly 11 million metric tons of plastic pollution dumped into the oceans annually. Switch to refillable and reusable bottles made of glass, silicone, or even recycled plastic material and fill them up with products from your larger sized bottles at home. Even huge chains like Marriott have begun to phase out single use travel toiletries, citing the fact that their properties send 500 million mini plastic bottles into landfills each year. Read more…