Guest post by Ella Kim from Trekbible.
Sustainable travel is a subject that has become increasingly popular over the past few years. Travelers are becoming more and more conscious of the impact travel has on the world. Saving the planet may be the last thing on your mind while lounging on the beach in Bali, but it is extremely important to be aware of how your actions affect your surroundings. Luckily, “going green” is not as difficult as you may think and there are many easy ways you can get involved in this movement. Here are a few incredibly easy sustainable changes that you can implement on your next trip.
Ditch the Water Bottle
It’s no secret that plastic is one of the major causes of pollution around the globe. Unfortunately, we tend to use even more plastic while travelling without realizing it. Plastic water bottles are a great example of this. It’s important to keep hydrated while exploring a new city or hiking, but buying a few plastic water bottles a day quickly adds up to a lot of waste. An easy solution is to pack a reusable water bottle and fill it up at restaurants or water fountains. You can even purchase one with a built in filter so you can refill it with virtually any water source. If purchasing a reusable water bottle is not an option or you simply do not have the space to pack it, you can purchase one disposable plastic bottle when you arrive at your destination, refill it as you go and simply recycle it at the end of your trip.
The abundance of budget airlines like Ryanair with shockingly cheap fares, it can be easy to choose to zip around a region by plane and even easier to forget about the fuel emissions airplanes create. Slow travel is one easy way to cut down on your footprint across the world. When possible, try to explore a region by public transportation. Public transportation may take slightly longer to get to your destination but, if time allows, trains and buses are always a better option for the environment and often your budget. If you have even more time to spare, opt to stay in one destination for a longer period of time. Not only will you absorb more of the culture of your destination, but you will greatly decrease your footprint.
Keep it Local
Tourism is usually a major contribution to a country’s economy, so you would assume that you are helping local people just by visiting, right? Unfortunately, that is not always the case. Big name companies often capitalize on the tourism market, leaving local businesses struggling to survive. Do your research before booking tours to ensure that they employ locals as guides and try to stay at locally owned hotels. When shopping for souvenirs, take extra care to ensure you are purchasing locally made items and not knock-offs imported from places like China. These items are sometimes a little pricier, but it is always worth it to know that you are helping the local people and not being ripped off. In places like Morocco, you can hire a local guide to take you through the markets to ensure you are buying authentic items.
Abstain from Animal Tourism
Riding elephants through Thailand, visiting animal cafes in Japan and swimming with dolphins in the Caribbean are at the top of many bucket lists. However, some of these dream activities come at a high cost to the animals. Again, research is key here as not all animal-related activities are dangerous and some of them actually help the animals. For example, riding elephants in Thailand is never safe for elephants but there are plenty of sanctuaries that actually help the animals and allow you to get close to them in a way that does not harm them. Always do extensive research and read reviews before engaging in any activity that involves animals.
Cutting down on waste, opting for more eco-friendly transportation options and supporting local people and wildlife are all ways to become a more sustainable traveler. These changes are simple for anyone to implement and can add up to make a huge difference. Before setting off on your next vacation, be sure to research that specific destination to educate yourself on location specific issues you should be aware of. Remember, it is the responsibility of every traveler to help make sure these beautiful places are around for future generations to enjoy.
Guest post by Ella Kim
Ella, Content Manager for trekbible, is a writer and content specialist with a predilection for learning and exploring new places and cultures around the world. With family scattered throughout the U.S. and South Korea, she loves to see cross-cultural influences around the world. Her favorite thing to do on her travels is to taste the local cuisine of each destination.