Are you a passionate traveler that often sees the negative effect of human activity all around the globe? While we already brought enough misery to our Mother Earth, we don’t have to make the situation worse by traveling irresponsibly. There are easy and effective ways you can make your travels more sustainable and eco-friendly. Take a look and make your next vacation green and clean with our tips for traveling sustainably.
1. Trains instead of planes
So-called “slow travel” is a growing trend among eco-friendly tourists. While you might hit fewer places on your trip when traveling by train, you will get to spend more time getting to know your destination and really experience its pace and vibe.
Plus, this type of travel will significantly lower your carbon footprint and reduce your travel costs! Some of the best destinations to explore by train are India, China, Canadian Rockies and basically entire Europe.
2. Life in plastic isn’t fantastic
Every human with internet access knows what kind of chaos we’ve caused to our planet. Right now, there’s a huge patch of garbage just floating across the ocean, stretching thousands of miles. This is not only an aesthetic abomination, but all the plastic and other trash we throw out wreaks havoc on the marine world.
So, don’t be the part of the problem and try to reduce your use of plastics during your trip. For instance, you can drink purified water from recyclable glass bottles, choose clothes made of natural materials and grab a few tote bags you can use for hitting markets and shops.
3. Travel light
When embarking on your trip, make sure not to overpack. Traveling light will not only allow you to be more flexible on your trip but also make your transportation lighter. Lighter train, car or plane wastes less fuel and you get to reduce your carbon footprint. Being frugal when packing isn’t easy, especially if you’re taking a longer trip, so you need to be smart.
While you might need more than one swimsuit when you travel to the seaside, but you don’t really need to push it. Pack two bathing suit tops and two practical high waisted bottoms and that’s all you need. You can even alternate them so you can have various different combos and always look fresh and trendy. Pack your luggage full of these smaller items and you’ll get to leave your second suitcase at home!
4. Animals aren’t souvenirs
Unfortunately, you can often see people haggling for seashells in Vietnam or tourists spending fortunes on handmade Mongolian hats made with real wolf fur. Keep in mind that animals, or any of their parts, aren’t souvenirs.
Every time you purchase something like this you’re supporting a market for killing animals and trafficking rare and endangered species. Not only is buying anything made from animals and rare plants unsustainable and morally wrong, but you will also have a hard time taking those items through customs, so it’s always better to just say no.
5. Support local economy
Instead of buying animal souvenirs, you can support the local economy in a much better and eco-friendlier way. While handmade crafts aren’t always cheap, they certainly help people who make them and allow them to feed their families. But, be careful when buying.
For instance, you can find Mexican sombreros in Cancun or Matryoshka dolls in Moscow all made in China. They might be cheaper, but it’s always better to support authentic artists and provide jobs for people that really need them.
You don’t have to sacrifice almost any comfort during your travels in order to be green and eco-conscious. These few practical ways will allow you to enjoy your trips just as you used to before, yet leave a much smaller carbon footprint and less waste behind you while supporting locals. What’s not to love about sustainable travel!
Salman Zafar is an ecopreneur, consultant, advisor, speaker and journalist with expertise in waste management, waste-to-energy, renewable energy, environment protection, conservation and sustainable development. His geographical areas of focus include Asia, Middle East, Africa and Europe. Salman is the Founder of EcoMENA, a popular voluntary organization based in Qatar. He is also the Founder and CEO of BioEnergy Consult, a reputed consulting firm active in biomass, waste-to-energy and waste management segments.
Salman is a professional environmental writer with more than 350 popular articles to his credit. He is proactively engaged in creating mass environmental awareness in different parts of the world.
Salman Zafar can be reached at email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org