Who doesn’t love a holiday? Sand beneath your toes, sun shining down, waves gently lapping the shore. Or perhaps exploring ancient ruins, taking in feats of architecture and experiencing authentic cultures is your idea of a good time.
Whatever your travel style, it’s important to be as environmentally friendly as possible on your adventures. After all, you want to make sure the spectacular sights and sounds can be enjoyed by others for a long time to come.
Here are some tips to help you become an eco-savvy traveller.
This may not always be practical – swimming to Africa isn’t really a thing- but if you can avoid flying when you travel, it will drastically reduce your ecological footprint.
A return trip from Sydney to London generates a whopping 2.71 metric tons of carbon dioxide! Because of this environmental impact many airlines offer an option to offset carbon when purchasing tickets.
If you really have to fly and can’t offset your carbon, direct flights are the most eco-friendly way to do so.
Walk, cycle and use public transportation where possible
Once you’ve reached your destination it can be tempting to jump in a taxi or hire a car. Not only is this usually a more expensive way to travel, it’s also much worse for the environment. Save yourself some dollars and gain some green brownie points by walking, cycling or taking public transport.
Stay in eco-friendly accommodation
Eco-resorts, lodges and hostels are now big business. Almost any destination you could find yourself in from Siem Reap to San Francisco has a green hotel option. Because an eco-friendly establishment has made a commitment to ecological sustainability, you can rest easy under its roof.
Be a green guest
Wherever you stay, you can improve your green credentials with a few simple steps: reuse your towels and sheets rather than having them changed daily, bring your own toiletries instead of using the ones provided in your room and be sure to turn off all lights and appliances before you leave the room.
Support natural attractions and tourist sites
Instead of heading to attractions that deplete resources, visit natural sites, like rivers, mountains and rainforest.
Be a “voluntourist”
Many organisations are now geared towards tourism that lets travellers have an authentic cultural experience while making a positive contribution. Spend some time volunteering with environmental conservation or animal protection programs for a memorable and rewarding trip – not to mention bragging rights!
Sample the local cuisine
Eating local food is a big environmental thumbs up. By eating locally you’re reducing pollution caused by transporting food and saving money at the same time. Plus you’re eating seasonally and experiencing a key part of the culture. So when you’re in Vietnam be sure to eat that pho and in Ethiopia try some injera! [Click to tweet]
Buy locally made souvenirs
It’s great to support local artists and businesses, particularly as they usually know how to create products in a sustainable way by using resources at hand. Besides, who doesn’t want a conical hat or matryoshka doll?
Use paper-free guides and maps
Most of the big travel guide companies now offer PDF versions of their guides. There are also loads of apps for specific destinations so you can work out where to go, how to get there and save some trees in the process.
Leave your home in a friendly state
Before you even leave the country do yourself a financial favour and the world an environmental one by unplugging all your appliances, cancelling newspaper subscriptions, ditching junk mail and turning off your water supply.
With these tips you can save money, help the planet and have an amazing adventure – enjoy!
March is Go Green month at Aussie. Don’t forget to check out our other articles in this series for practical tips on going green: Take care of your skin by practicing some natural beauty basics!
Is your environmental impact an important consideration when you travel? Share your thoughts or experiences in eco-travelling in the comments below.
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