In honor of Earth Day, we are looking at ways that we can all travel a little more sustainably to make sure the planet is beautiful for future generations to explore.
As you prepare to travel this year, now is a great time to learn about ways to travel sustainably, so that you can plan for your next excursion with the environment in mind. Informed decisions and actions are the best way each of us can make a difference. No single person can change the world by themselves, but if everyone as individuals make small changes, then a lot can be achieved as a collective to protect our planet.
Here are some of our top recommendations for how to travel sustainably.
Consider transportation to your destination
Transport is a large contributor to global emissions, so well-planned travel, especially if going abroad, can drastically reduce the impact on the environment.
If you are planning a domestic trip, ask yourself if you can use public transportation most or part of the way there. If you are traveling with friends or family, can you carpool in one vehicle? Not only is this better for the planet, it will also save costs on gas and parking!
International travel will almost always involve airplanes, so here are a few tips that can make a difference when flying.
- ● Fly with as few stops as possible, this means fewer emissions emitted through take-off and landing when more fuel is used. It also means you’ll get to your destination quicker, which is a win-win!
- ● A mix of flights and public transport like trains will also reduce emissions.
- ● Travel with less luggage because this reduces the overall plane weight and fuel burnt. An added bonus for you, packing light can also save you money on baggage fees!
- ● Some airlines offer a carbon offset for a small extra fee (usually the cost of a coffee), where the airline commits to helping reduce emissions in some form, such as planting trees. If your airline doesn’t offer the option, you can carbon offset your flight on your own! There are multiple websites that will help you calculate your impact and offer ways to offset through donations to sustainable initiatives.
Book your vacation with companies that have sustainable practices in place
Sustainable practices can be incorporated in many different ways. The aim is to maintain the qualities of the area you are visiting, both culturally and environmentally. Sustainable tour operators like Trek Travel will look to use eco-friendly hotels, locally run restaurants, and experiences that make the tour interesting and beneficial for both the traveler and the locals.
If you aren’t booking with a tour group, make sure to conduct your own research to see if the hotels you are considering for your trip have practices in place to help protect the planet. The EPA has resources to help find green hotels. And when you choose restaurants, look for places that source locally because this reduce the emissions needed to transport food.
Whether booking with a tour operator or on your own, consider traveling outside of peak vacation time as this reduces foot traffic that can damage a local environment.
Sustainable actions while on holiday.
When it comes to travel, sustainability is not just related to protecting the environment but also protecting local culture and traditions. Traveling around your destination by public transport, on foot, or even better, by bicycle is a great way to see the area, connect with locals, and minimize your environmental impact. Here are other actions you can take on your trip to make a difference:
- ● When possible, opt-out of having housekeeping clean your room daily.
- ● Pay attention to your electricity use. Always turn off lights and unplug your charging items before leaving the room or as soon as the items are done charging.
- ● Pack a small, lightweight reusable bag with you to skip plastic bags if you decide to shop at local markets or boutiques. This is easy to pack, and it’ll come in handy more than you’d think!
- ● Bring your own water bottle and coffee cup to avoid needing the plastic water bottles in the hotel fridge or a disposable coffee cup at breakfast.
- ● Purchasing locally-made souvenirs make great authentic gifts for friends and family back home, while also supporting the community you are visiting for generations to come!
These are just a few tips on how to travel sustainably. They may be small changes but added up can have a big impact on protecting the environment and unique culture around the world, enabling generations to continue exploring!
Trek Travel has launched a series of green initiatives in our office and on our trips.