Eco-Travel Tips from World Travellers
5 Bloggers Tell me their Ultimate Tips for Green Travel
The more we travel, the more we feel in touch with the Earth. Eco-travel is a subject close to my heart and many a travel blogger feel the same. So if you’re in the market for some more awesome green travel tips – hear it from the professionals!
Shraddha Gupta from Street Trotter
Travel is an eye-opener. It has made me more sensitive towards the things I see, and the people I meet, making me more responsible to an entire eco-system than just my immediate space. When I was in my early twenties I was a reckless young soul, carefree and careless. Now I am more experienced and hence I travel keeping everything in mind – specially the environment. Some of my favourite eco travel tips to date are:
- Carrying my own water bottle with an integrated carbon filter that helps me refill my water on the go wherever I travel without fear. This has almost eliminated my need to keep buying water bottles all the time reducing my share of plastic waste substantially.
- I always carry extra trash bags with me in my backpack (specially while camping and hiking) to make sure I am not littering here and there all the time, hence collecting my own waste in one place till the end of my trip.
- The use of technology while traveling has become a must for me, so I decided to use the habit in a sustainable way. I now collect all my travel documents in my cloud easily accessible through my iPhone and iPad, instead of taking print outs and hence saving paper. Wherever possible I use flight apps to check in with a barcode avoiding the need to print a boarding pass.
Taylor from Taylor on a Trip
The tourism industry, although at times a pollutant, is for the most part very aware of its impact on the environment. Through willingness to explore different lands and cultures, regular travelers witness first hand the affects that tourism and pollution has on the planet. Perhaps because of this, plenty of tourism companies have initiatives to offset their footprints. If you decide to travel with a tour company, the first step is to ensure that they participate in sustainable travel programs.
Plenty of big-name tour companies participate in very cool green programs such as G Adventures’ Planeterra foundation. Planeterra is dedicated to ensuring that the communities affected by tourism are able to aid from the opportunities it provides. It works with communities to offset carbon emissions, lower impact on the destinations, participate in local animal welfare, and so much more. Additional tour companies with green travel initiatives include: Intrepid Travel, Contiki Tour’s Contiki Cares, and Trafalgar’s TreadRight Foundation.
If, however, you find that your tour company has not made a similar responsible travel page available, inquire via e-mail as to what initiatives they have in place to offset their emissions.
Allison from Eternal Arrival
One thing I try to do to reduce my carbon footprint is to fly as infrequently as possible. It’s virtually impossible for me not to fly to most destinations, but once I get there, I try to travel overland via buses and trains as much as I can. Buses and trains take longer, but you also get the added benefit of reducing your impact on global warming. As a bonus, you also get a teeny glimpse at life in the less visited parts of the world and how people live there. Plus, since you usually don’t have to book bus or train travel that far in advance, you’re more flexible to change plans along the way if you decide you love a place and want to stay longer or if you’re not feeling a place and want to leave sooner.
Heather and Matt from Travelationship
Respect wildlife by doing your research before you visit any animal sanctuary or orphanage facilities. No true sanctuary will allow you to closely interact with or ride a rescued animal. Look for organizations who provide detailed and transparent information regarding their institution. Credible sanctuaries should state how they use their funding, education and conservation should be key topics in their overall program, and the welfare of the animals should always be the priority. These three characteristics are not all encompassing of a good sanctuary.
These are three simple points to get you on the right track to finding a care center worth your time and money. If you are unsure of the legitimacy of a group – ask questions. If the employees are unwilling to answer your questions take that as a huge red flag and find a different location. By finding and contributing to the true animal welfare and rescue groups the more we all be able to experience and enjoy wildlife as nature intended.
Norman from Années de Pèlerinage
I am honestly done with eco-travel. It all started with those innocent signs hotels placed in your bathroom asking you to “save our planet” by reusing towels back in the 90’s. Later, I went to a special Eco-Lodge in the Amazon Rainforest using chemicals to keep away the bugs. I planted trees to save the Galapagos Islands on an ECO-Cruise – only the holes had already been dug and I was graciously allowed to pat the soil around one sapling. I spent weeks in an organic luxury retreat inside a national park in Thailand – only every room had its own gigantic private pool. I could go on and on, instead, I’ll tell you what I learned from these experiences: Eco travel is just another urban myth.
I’m serious. Eco-travel is just another way to make money with you. It is an industry like any other. If you really want to “save our planet”, you’d probably have to stay at home. Before you even reach your destination, the plane you are taking spills your body weight in kerosene (or rather CO2) into the atmosphere on a long-haul flight. Tourists generally use up three times as much water during their stay than locals. It’s cool that your hotel/hostel works together with local farmers and there is that organic soap in your bath room – but don’t have the illusion your trip has a favorable eco-balance.
Does that mean the whole “eco-thing” is a waste of time? Of course not. In fact, even the smallest of steps matter in the big picture. You can reuse these towels (even though your hotel only wanted to save the laundry money). You can tour around by bike instead of taking a private limousine. You can also avoid big buffets where half the food is thrown away, and so on. But in my opinion, the best thing you can actually do is raising the general awareness. Start with your own hometown. Yes your hometown. After all, tourists pass around everywhere. There is no need to think big for only you, we need a lot of thinkers!
What are your BEST eco-travel tips? Tell me in the comments below!
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