How to be a More Sustainable Traveller
This world has limited resources and we are polluting it every single day. Nearly 5% of greenhouse emissions are caused by the tourism industry. Nature should be conserved, not damaged. Unfortunately, we travel without keeping in mind the effect of our actions on the environment. This does not mean we should stop travelling, but we should start to travel more sustainably i.e. to find ways where we can enjoy the holiday without tarnishing the cultural and natural environment. This may not happen overnight but if all the travellers can go on eco-friendly holidays and engage in healthy activities, we can save the environment for the betterment of the planet. Here are a few ideas on how to be a more sustainable traveller:
Mode of Transportation
The first consideration on any trip is how you plan to get there, could you find an eco-friendly route to your destination? Even though air travel is the fastest mode of transportation, it is also the worst for leaving a carbon footprint. There are a number of places travellers want to explore but they have no choice but to fly. One of the suggested ways air travellers can help the environment is through carbon offsetting. This is where air travellers offset the carbon emissions accumulated by their trip by investing in planting trees or investing in renewable energy projects. This can be done via a dedicated carbon offsetting scheme or via some airline carriers when booking flight tickets. Where possible take direct flights and avoid stopovers. Consider flying economy class as business or first class takes more space per traveller. Travelling in a group, sharing a car, or taking public transport is also a greener option than flying and being together will only make it an even more positive experience. As travel gets back on its feet, consider social distancing guidelines, taking the less travelled road, and visiting less densely populated places as the best way to be both safe and sustainable.
Sustainable hotels don’t mean missing out on luxury, Health and Fitness Travel offers luxurious eco-friendly holidays to a number of destinations worldwide. Lefay Resort & Spa Dolomiti is run sustainably in the heart of Dolomites in Italy, offering a world-class spa inspired by Chinese medicine. Try Healing at Ayii Anargyri in Cyprus for a restorative break in a spa and hotel run by renewable energy. Samahita Retreat in Thailand provides eco-friendly accommodation along with orchestrating cardio, fitness, and yoga programmes suited to your individual needs. Or why not simply rejuvenate with Golf, Tennis & Spa at Saddlebrook Resort in Florida. which will keep you active in a 480-acre nature reserve that prides itself on its green initiatives?
Taking Care of Animals
Always do your research before embarking on any kind of wildlife tourism or indeed any activities your holiday entails involving animals. Whilst riding an elephant or getting a selfie with a tiger may seem harmless, such activities rarely are for the animals involved. If you’re booking a diving holiday or snorkelling trip, look into best practices for ensuring you don’t contribute to the destruction of coral reefs and the surrounding environments. Ensure any encounters with animals or natural habitats are facilitated by responsible and ethical companies so that you can rest assured of your sustainable traveller status.
As the adage goes ‘when in Rome, do as the Romans do’. Eating food that is locally sourced will help build the local economy and preserve culture, it is also far more likely to be fresher, more seasonal, and delicious! Avoid buying food from supermarkets where it is sourced from distant locations meaning more air miles and a greater carbon footprint. If self-catering, visit local markets and get acquainted with what is in season locally. If possible, take your own reusable bottles and cutlery as it is one of the easiest ways to travel sustainably and will help limit plastic pollution.
Eat More Vegetables
Eating less meat is one way to be a more sustainable traveller – in many countries, such as India, eating little to no meat at all is seen as the norm anyway. Hectares of forest are cut down to grow crops for livestock and the greenhouse gas emission per animal can be particularly damaging the environment. Ditching or reducing meat does not mean compromising on flavour – many of our eco-friendly retreats also offer nutrition and detox programmes if you want to take your personal sustainability to the next level.
Our ocean is filled with nearly 150 million metric tonnes of plastic waste which is damaging marine life. Avoid using single-use plastic wherever you can. Using reusable and recyclable products is the optimum way to reduce waste. The growing market of reusable travel products provides an alternative for all single-use plastics, including cups, metal and bamboo straws, tooth tabs, solid shampoos, deodorants and more!
A holiday doesn’t have to literally cost us the earth if embarked on with forward-thinking and sustainability in mind!