While travel is an amazing way to learn more about the world around you, it is also important to be mindful of taking care of this world throughout your journeys. Being a responsible traveler is an easy way to ensure that you have a positive impact on the environment. By raising awareness about this important global issue, you can be a vehicle for change while inspiring others around you to do the same.
Here are five ways that you can be a sustainable traveler in a not-so-sustainable world.
Choose Transportation Options Carefully
Responsible and sustainable travel starts with your transportation selections. It does not take an environmentalist to understand that air travel is not sustainable. Limiting this mode of transportation can have a big impact on the environment.
If you need to fly, you can mitigate the fuel emissions by flying direct. If you are traveling by car, consider carpooling with as many people as possible. Train travel is a much more sustainable form of transportation.
It is also a good idea to lean heavily on public transportation options on your journey. The local tourism office is generally a good resource when looking to learn more about options available to you if you are unfamiliar with a destination. Lastly, there is no better way to explore your destination than on foot.
Ditch the Plastic and Other Environmentally Harmful Materials
You can be a part of the sustainability solution by ditching the plastic. Instead of buying plastic water bottles as you travel, consider bringing your own reusable bottle to fill on your journey. Water purification tablets are a great tool to have in your travel arsenal.
If that is not feasible, choose locally purified water in glass bottles that you can recycle. Bringing along reusable tote bags is also a great way to show that you care about the environment.
Leave No Trace
Many travelers ask how can I plan my vacation while being conscious of sustainability? Being conscious about leaving no trace on your travels will pay off big dividends for the environment. This is especially important when traveling through wilderness areas.
Good tenants to keep in mind include planning a way to dispose of your waste properly, respecting the wildlife, leaving back what you find along the way so that you do not disrupt the natural surroundings, minimizing the impact of campfires, and more. Taking photos only and leaving the rest of the area how you found it is an excellent way to show that you are a citizen of the world who is committed to practicing sustainability.
Support the Local Economy
Supporting the local economy is a smart way to show that you care about an area's sustainability. Instead of buying your souvenirs at a large chain store, consider getting them from a local vendor.
Being intentional about your purchases will ensure a direct and real impact on the local economy and its people rather than lining the pocketbooks of large corporations. Supporting the local economy also means that you should eat like a local. Choose foods that are locally grown, taking care to minimize your consumption of packaged and imported foods. As a bonus, you will be enjoying fresher and better-tasting food as a result.
Avoid High-Tourist Areas
One of the best ways that you can practice sustainability while traveling is to choose destinations that are off of the beaten path. Instead of jaunting off to high-tourist areas, you should choose places that are not grappling with trying to support massive traveler demands. Day trips are particularly harmful to areas not equipped to handle the onslaught of tourists.
On this same note, you can boost your sustainability by spending more time in one particular place rather than traveling to multiple destinations in the same trip. This will reduce your carbon footprint and allow you to better immerse yourself in the culture in one specific area.
Employing these five tips will make you feel better about the impact that your quest of wanderlust is having on the world. By acting responsibly with your travels, you can see the world, connect with others, and know that you are promoting sustainability on a global scale.
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