Ahh, travel. Who doesn't love it?! Whether you're the adventurous hiking and camping type or prefer a more luxurious, beach style getaway, there are myriad ways to enjoy a jet-setting life.
But there's travel, and then there's responsible, sustainable travel. You may or may not be aware, but tourism brings with it a wide range of ecological drawbacks to local communities and the planet at large. Here's a list of easy ways you can reduce your impact and enjoy your travels sans negative effects.
1. Take the train or a non-stop flight.
Reduce your carbon footprint by opting to take the train instead of flying. Air travel is notoriously bad for the environment, so if it's at all possible, try to cut it back. If your destination is transatlantic -- consider a ferry. Or, if you absolutely must fly, go for a direct, non-stop flight -- they're slightly less damaging than two layover flights.
2. When shopping for souvenirs -- buy local.
Look for local/indigenous arts and crafts vs. mass-manufactured souvenirs. By buying local, you'll be helping communities sustain themselves and their ecology.
3. Do your research.
Before choosing your travel destination, make sure you know enough about it. Bear in mind that while some destinations may seem eco-friendly, they are in fact reeling from the negative effects of mass-tourism. Choose your destination carefully; look for places that care for both their local population and environment.
4. Opt for eco-friendly accommodation.
Tourism that respects nature is becoming increasingly popular, but how does one know whether their chosen accommodation is green? Ecobnb is a fabulous alternative to Aribnb, listing only verified sustainable accommodation.
5. Rent your essentials.
It's virtually impossible and completely unrealistic to pack every single item you might need on your travels. If you find yourself lacking in an extra air bed, a baby car seat or a coffee machine -- do the planet (and your wallet) a favour and rent your items instead of buying them. Rentuu.com is a great example of a platform that lets you hire virtually everything from cutlery to bicycles.
6. Use public transport.
Not only will you get more of a feel for the local way of life by opting to take the tram, bus or metro over a taxi, but you will also be doing the environment a huge favour by helping cut down on those nasty CO2 emissions. If you absolutely must hire a car, go for a hybrid or an electric vehicle.
7. Respect the local culture.
Don't participate in activities that may be harmful to the local culture and population. Be sensitive and mindful of the customs and traditions of your chosen travel destination. A good way of looking at it is to ask yourself -- how would I want travellers to act in my homeplace? -- and following suit.