Traveling is a fantastic way to relax and forget all about our daily worries, reconnect with nature, stretch our boundaries and discover incredible cultures. But, since there are so many things threatening our environment, with traveling comes the responsibility to protect nature.
If you love both traveling and nature, continue reading this article, and find out how to become a more sustainable traveler.
Avoid the plane or, at least, try taking direct flights
Switching from planes to trains will not only mean decreasing your carbon footprint but will also give you the chance to experience a place more deeply. There is a trend known as “slow travel” which means visiting fewer places and spending more than a couple of days in each of them. And traveling by train is a good way to become part of this emerging trend.
There are, of course, places you can’t visit without traveling by plane. Though sometimes indirect flights are cheaper, taking a direct flight, when possible, is a better way to protect the environment.
Find eco-conscious accommodations
Many people believe that choosing a sustainable hotel automatically means they opt for skimping on luxuries. But this is far from being the truth. Eco-conscious accommodations are those that make a minimal impact on the local ecosystem. There are, for instance, hotels that adhere to a zero-plastic policy, camps that use renewable energy from solar panels, places made of renewable materials and also those who partner with local environmental NGOs.
When they built Habitas Tulum in Mexico, the founders tried to cut down as few trees as possible and even replanted 3,000 new palms. And this is, of course, just one example of the many eco-conscious accommodations available in the world.
Celebrate, respect, and preserve all cultures
Traveling gives us the chance to meet and understand other cultures, and all visitors need to show respect towards the traditions and cultural norms of the place they visit. So, being mindful when exploring new cultures, means you should learn what is appropriate and behave properly, especially when going to religious and cultural sites.
Always support the local economy
If you are a passionate traveler, you probably know that locally made souvenirs and crafts are not always cheap. But, if you want to contribute to the local economy and support the authentic cultural heritage, shopping from the locals is the best thing to do. Also, when buying food, visit the local market instead of the international supermarket, even if it means getting out of your comfort zone completely.
Stay away from single-use plastic bottles
No matter where you go, switching from single-use plastic bottles to a reusable drink bottle is a fantastic idea. Plastic is a big problem for our planet, especially in countries without proper recycling systems. A reusable drink bottle is great for when you plan to explore big cities, and it’s also your best friend when you go on hiking trips. For instance, imagine having to walk El Camino de Santiago without having a reusable drink bottle attached to your backpack?
Prioritize animal welfare
If you want to be a more sustainable traveler, you should add prioritizing animal welfare to your must-do list. So, research if there are local activities, tours, and attractions that harm and abuse animals, and choose only the ethical experiences. Make sure you stay away from things like lion petting, dancing monkeys, elephant rides, and tiger selfies. Never feed wildlife or do anything else that can alter their natural habitat and behavior. And, of course, don’t purchase souvenirs made from animals, like ivory or turtle shells.
These are just some of the things you can do to become a more sustainable traveler, but they make a pretty good start. Don’t forget to clean after yourself. Leave a place better than you found it or, at least leave no trace.
I’m Rebecca, a translator and avid traveller, a book worm and horror flick enthusiast. My job has given me the amazing opportunity to travel to dozens of countries around the world, and writing on Rough Draft gives me a chance to try to showcase some of them.
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