Over the years, traveling has become more affordable and more accessible, leading to the overcrowding of tourists in many destinations across the globe.
There has never been a more important time to travel consciously and responsibly. Besides the anti-tourist sentiment that can be seen across Europe, before the Coronavirus outbreak, we’ve all witnessed popular destinations being flooded with over-tourism.
It is more than just annoying to the locals and their everyday lives; there are also social and environmental implications involved as well.
Too many visitors lead to more air pollution, water consumption, and waste. And when it comes to the social aspects, the locals’ quality of life is affected due to the crowds and higher grocery and rental prices, among other things.
It is now more important than ever HOW you travel. It can impact our environment and our future.
The Coronavirus is a reminder that what we do can backlash on us when we least expect it. Human irresponsibility and a false sense of superiority can take a toll on the entire planet and the human race.
It is a tough lesson to be learned, so making more environmental-friendly choices is a necessity and the proper way to be a more conscious traveler.
Sometimes it’s the little things that can make all the difference. By making a few little changes, you can help the environment.
Opt for Reusables when You Travel
Even while on the road, you can still take care of the environment and the footprint you are leaving behind. Zero waste habits while traveling are not unattainable. Bringing a reusable water bottle instead of resorting to single-use plastic bottles of water isn’t that hard, is it?
If you don’t want a reusable coffee cup to take away valuable space in your luggage, sit in a café, and slowly sip on your coffee while soaking in the surroundings.
And in today’s market, it is not difficult to find metal or reusable straws, or ditch the straws completely unless you deal with mobility issues and have to rely on them.
Also, replace plastic bags with reusable grocery bags. They are convenient and take up a little place. It may not seem as much, but you will save the environment from dozens of plastic bags while also saving some money since many countries have started charging the plastic ones.
Reduce Your Carbon Footprint
Make an effort to reduce your carbon footprint as much as you can. For instance, the train is a more eco-friendly option than a plane, so go for it when you can choose.
If you have to fly, then opt for the basic economy since it means less weight per person and, therefore, fewer carbon emissions, also, longer and direct flights have less of a carbon footprint since take-offs and landings use plenty of fuel.
Whenever it is possible, opt for public transport, cycling, or walking. It is not just better for the planet; it is also cheaper!
Since this is not always an option, there is one thing you can control, and that is to go for an eco-friendly car. Hybrid, electric, and bio-diesel cars have less of an environmental impact as they produce a dramatically reduced amount of harmful exhaust emissions.
If you are an avid traveler, consider planting some trees or donating to a tree planting scheme to offset your traveling carbon footprint. You can also spend some time volunteering and get involved in cleaning up local beaches or do some litter picking at a National Park.
Support Local Communities
There is no shame in resorting to McDonald’s or Starbucks from time to time when in a foreign country. You may feel reluctant about the exotic local cuisine, but here’s the deal: with a little web search, you can easily find credible restaurants or fast foods that will suit your budget and taste preference.
So, opting to consume local and support local businesses by purchasing their products or services is a significant positive impact on that community.
And it’s a win-win situation too.
You get to explore local deli or bring home a magnificent piece of art created by a talented local artisan, and at the same time, direct your cash flow to the hard-working small people in foreign countries.
One more important thing when discussing more conscious travel is to buy in moderation. And make sure to be respectful of the locals and their customs at all times.
Adopt Sustainable Practices
Bear in mind to use water sparingly. When you brush your teeth or wash the dishes, turn off the tap. Also, when you shower, try to make it as quickly as possible and use as little water as you need.
Make an effort to include more locally produced fruits and veggies in your diet, and cut on meat and dairy. You don’t have to become vegan; simply reducing animal products in your nutrition will make a difference to the environment and your health as well.
One more step you can take to become a more conscious traveler is to choose the hotels, restaurants, and other businesses that make efforts to be greener. You can ask around or check their website to see if they recycle, have solar panels, or avoid single-use plastics.
As a human race, we are at the point of history where we are facing a collective and existential problem. Climate change is undeniable, and every single individual’s effort is vital in the fight for a better future. That being said, it is important to be a conscious traveler and leave nothing but footprints wherever you may roam.