You may have all your eco-friendly habits down to a system at home. But what about when you travel?
Tourism can place enormous stress on communities, wildlife, and the environment.
Green travel means considering how your tourist dollar is supporting, or hurting, the planet, the people, the animals, and the culture in which you are exploring.
It means being a responsible traveler.
Here are my top tips to travel mindfully and create change!
Let Your Voice Be Heard
Leave honest reviews (both in person and online) for restaurants, hostels, and hotels that are engaging in practices that support or hurt the environment.
Give praise to responsible businesses so that other people in the area can find and support them as well.
Leave recommendations for businesses that could make improvements for the sustainability of their practices like, “Smoothies are delicious but please stop serving them with plastic straws and replace them with bamboo straws.”
Let them know you enjoyed your time there but wouldn’t go back because you don’t support single-use plastic practices.
Or maybe the “elephant sanctuary” you visited is not as safe for the elephants as they market it to be. Businesses need to be held accountable and with the power of the internet, you can let your voice be heard.
Supply and demand, baby!
Related post: How to Embrace Leave No Trace Principles When You Travel
Refuse single-use toiletries at your accommodations and cups/ utensils on the plane. Let them know that you don’t support single-use items because it’s damaging to the environment. #plasticsucks
Related Post: Zero Waste Bathroom Swaps Under $15
Use your reusable containers, utensils, bottles, & bags and share the lifestyle with your community.
Show people how simple it is to create small habits that create big change.
Even if none of your friends are doing this yet, be a leader in your community and live by example.
Join Team Snacks
Stay fueled up with your own snackage so you can kindly decline the plastic wrapped food on the plane. You’re not missing out on much, I promise .
Drink the Local Brew
Slay the carbon footprint of the imported beer and drink the local drank. Indulge in the culture and be sure to learn how to say “Cheers!” in the native tongue.
Save Water. Shower with a Friend.
Many parts of the world have a clean water shortage.
Pay respect by taking quick showers and turning off the water while you lather up.
Bonus points if you get a friend(s) to join you in the shower! Do it for the planet!
Related Post: TED Talks To Inspire You To Live More Sustainably
Collect an Adventure Bag
Give back to the beautiful place you are visiting by collecting a bag of trash on your way out.
Fill your adventure bag and post a picture on your social media to inspire your network!
You never know who may be inspired to collect their own #adventurebag. The planet thanks you.
The more the plane weighs, the more fuel it uses, and larger carbon footprint that flight has. Every pound counts so pack only what you need. #minimalistgoals
Book Non-Stop Flights
Most carbon emissions are created during the take off and landing.
Join a local beach clean up or spend a few days volunteering with a local organization that advocates for the environment and community.
Facebook is a great place to search a city’s volunteering events and beach clean up crews. This is also a great way to make some friends when traveling solo.
Be a Land Pilgrim
Travel by ground when it’s practical.
Traveling by bus, train, car, bike, or foot, has a significantly smaller carbon footprint than traveling by plane.
Taking the time to take in the countryside isn’t too bad either.
Traveling by ship is kinder to the planet as well. Plus, you then have every right to talk like a pirate until you’ve arrived at your destination, yahaarrrgggg.
Take Public Transportation
Instead of catching a private Uber, Grab, or taxi (do people still take taxis?) hop on a bike or the local public transportation, get a peek into the daily vibe of the community, save money, and save the planet!
Travel the Path Most Taken
When you’re out on an adventure hike, stick to walking on the trail path. You don’t want to trample all over endangered plant friends.
Let’s have a positive impact on the community, wildlife, and environment of the places we visit. They give us so much.
If you want to do a bit of clothes shopping or take home souvenirs to your loved ones, be sure to support local businesses and artisans.
You would be surprised how many “souvenirs” and hoards of clothing are produced on an assembly line in Asia. #supportlocalartists
Hotels, hostels, and guiding companies run the gamut when it comes to responsible practices.
Ask your potential guide service or accommodation what they do to offset their carbon footprint, protect wildlife, and reduce their impact on the environment.
Do they hire locals? How do they give back to the community?
Greenwashing is a real thing and it sucks!
There are organizations like The International Ecotourism Society, Global Federation of Animal Sanctuaries, Rainforest Alliance, and Nature Conservancy that have responsible tourism requirements for their members.
What are your top tips for eco-conscious traveling? I’d love to read them in the comments below. 🌻