Last Updated on 8th March 2021
Whether backpacking across the planet or staying in the most luxurious five-star hotels, everyone has their preferred way to travel that aligns with their lifestyle.
They relish the chance to get away from the humdrum nature of work, school, and responsibilities, and instead go on an adventure whenever the mood strikes them.
But, just because you can go anywhere you want (at least, when the world is normal, anyway), doesn’t mean that you should. The irony of travelling is how many people claim to love the planet, but will use ecologically harmful means to travel.
If travel is a passion, the idea of leaving it all behind is something you don’t want to think about. But no one is saying to abandon travel altogether. Instead, ask yourself if you can find a more sustainable way to see the world.
It shouldn’t be a surprise that the further you travel, the more damage you do to the environment. If you take a plane from London to Sihanoukville in Cambodia, your carbon footprint is 2.93 tonnes of CO2e. This is a lot, by the way, especially if you are only travelling for a few weeks to enjoy the beach.
Instead of going across the world, think about staying closer to home. The best UK beaches may not have the same exotic reputation as Southeast Asia or the South American coasts, but they can still give you the break you need. Over the past year, Staycations have become the only option to get away from home, and there’s more to see in your home country than you might expect.
Use Sustainable Vehicles
Most of the time, the only way to travel is via aeroplane, but if you have eco-friendly travel alternatives, then why not explore them? Very few people enjoy taking public transport, especially if you were looking forward to a luxury holiday, but they are one of the most eco-friendly ways to travel.
If you are averse to coaches or buses, an electric car, perhaps your own with Private Number Plates, is another answer. You eliminate the need to fill up petrol, causing more carbon emissions, but you also need to find somewhere to charge it overnight.
Research Eco-Friendly Travel Destinations
Let’s say you need to go to far-flung destinations abroad, there’s no judgement for the reason behind this, but if you do, look at visiting eco-friendly travel destinations. More and more nowadays, cities and nations are emphasising improving their sustainable standing, but few are doing it as effectively as Palau.
The Palau Pledge requires tourists and travellers to agree to protect the island’s natural and cultural history before entering. While this might not seem like a big deal to eco-conscious travellers, it makes people who aren’t so eco-conscious consider their actions more seriously.
Use Eco-Friendly Platforms
Previously, people have used TripAdvisor or Booking.com to locate the best hotels and flight deals. These platforms are convenient, for sure, but are they doing all they can to help the environment?
It’s likely something you haven’t thought about. What can a travel agent platform do, anyway? But, there are sustainable travel agents options out there. One of the most popular and successful is lokal, which does the hard work in helping you travel more sustainability and identifies places to go where you can help the local community.
Travel With Like-Minded People
If you want to be a more eco-friendly traveller but aren’t sure how to begin, try travelling with like-minded people. These will inspire you to be better and also guide you in the right direction by offering advice about how you can improve.
Their influence will eventually rub off on you, which will allow you to share knowledge with the next generation of eco-conscious travellers, ensuring the chain of sustainability continues.
Many hotels or hostels claim to be eco-friendly and sustainable, and many of them are. However, some accommodations are using it to entice travellers under the guise of being good for the planet, while their actual practices are not up to scratch.
When looking for a place to stay on your travels, research certifications to get a vivid idea of which places are truly sustainable. The ECO Certification program is one badge of honour to look out for, and there will be others that vary from country to country, although it should be easy enough to find out which are the most reputable.
Reduce Your Suitcase Load
Packing your backpack or suitcase full of all the cute (and functional) outfits you can find is one of the most exciting parts of travelling, but throwing as much as possible into your luggage means you continuously increase the weight, which will have an impact on the overall load of planes or cars and you’ll also need to use more water to wash your clothes, too.
It might seem insignificant, but even minor issues such as this can have an impact. By all means, bring enough holiday essentials to survive, but don’t pack your entire life just for the sake of it.
Give Back Once You’re There
Finally, you will always be able to be a more sustainable traveller if you give back wherever you go. This can include following the guidelines at hostels for reducing water usage or electricity and volunteering in communities that are desperate for help.
You can also put your money towards sustainable programs wherever you are. If you are unsure about which activity to do, choose one where the money goes back into the community, rather than to a tour guide or adventure company.
Living In Luxury, Loving The Planet
Often, you will experience untold luxuries without spending your entire week’s paycheque on a hotel or a three-course meal. But you can take this a step further, especially if you want to show how much you care about the planet. You don’t need to abandon your love for travel altogether, but you must consider different ways for you to see the world; ones that do not harm the environment severely, and ones you can even give back to the communities you visit.