Over time, the travel industry has witnessed incredible growth. Thanks to low cost airfares, online booking sites and an increasingly global community, it is easier than ever to hop on a plane and venture to the other side of the globe. But, these activities are not without negative consequences to the earth we love exploring.
There is tons of information that will inundate you with detailed information on environmental impacts, carbon footprint, and things along those lines. That information is incredibly important, but can be very complex. I have found if things are too complicated, people loose interest. To make sustainable travel more relatable, there are plenty of easy and basic things you can start doing right now.
Here Are 5 Easy Tips For More Sustainable Travels
This includes hotels, activities, and tours. Do you know that by booking with a local company, you’re helping strengthen the local economy? When booking with a big company, more money goes to the corporation’s pockets than to the host community. Depending on where the company is headquartered, the bulk of the funds may not even stay in the country you are visiting. This is called leakage.
A great example of this is cruise ship excursions. By booking through the cruise line instead of independently, you’re guaranteed to be able to participate in your favorite advertised activity. But the cruise ship gets more kickback from your booking with the company they partner with. Other local providers miss out on their opportunity to provide you a great experience.
Similar to booking local, this has the same outcome. Avoid the franchise restaurants and eat at local restaurants. Buy handcrafted souvenirs or items from local vendors and artisans. You’ll help boost the local economy and improve the lives of many workers, like this local fisherman.
Be Aware Of Your Exotic Purchase
While certain items may look tempting, it’s best not to purchase those which maybe damaging or even illegal. Items made out of ivory, furs, feathers or rare plants should be immediate red flags. For more information on the 5,000 protected animal species and 28,000 protected plant species, check out CITES’ website.
Keep It Green, Keep It Clean
It is crucial to respect the environment where you are visiting. This ranges from recycling, picking up litter, not taking things from the natural environment, and trying to leave things better than you found it. This also includes being mindful of interaction with wildlife and the habitat you’re impacting for them.
Switch Up The Sunscreen
Do you know that regular sunscreen is full of chemicals that are harmful to both you and the environment? By switching to biodegradable sunscreen not only will you lessen pollution of your body and any given waterway you might be swimming in, but you will also help minimize harm to the oceans’ delicate coral reef systems.
These are just a few basic things you can do you for a more sustainable trip. Each of these items listed are incredibly easy for anyone to incorporate into their trip. If everyone would take a few minutes to change their actions, we could lessen our negative impacts and increase positive ones. We must remember that we only have one world and we all need to be good stewards of it, even when traveling!