10 Incredible Ways Tourists Can Help the Environment While Travelling
When you travel, there are steps you can take to bring environmental change to each place you visit. Here are some steps that tourists can take to make an impact while on vacation.
Travel is one of the biggest industries in the world, generating 9.5% of the world’s GDP. While these figures look positive, they’re actually detrimental for the environment.
Travel means movement of tourists, and lots of it. Planes, trains, buses, and cars all release emissions which aren’t doing the planet any good. Pollution is one of the biggest problems we face today, and we need to do something about it.
Of course, we can’t tell people to stop traveling. For many, it’s not even an option as more of us have the opportunity to travel the world. But there are some things we can do to help reduce our carbon footprint.
Helping the Environment as Tourists
With World Environment Day 2018 fast approaching, it’s time to start saving our planet. There are many ways to become a more eco-conscious tourist, and it can go a very long way.
Read on for ten of the most awesome ways to can travel the world without harming the planet.
1. Getting There
Getting to your destination can result in a lot of CO2 emissions. Airplanes are the worst for carbon emissions, releasing around 20x that of a train per person.
Trains, buses and ferries are the best ways to travel. They don’t release as many carbon emissions as planes do.
If you have no alternative to flying, make sure to get a direct flight. More layovers mean more flights, so try to book a direct flight if you have to at all.
Getting many flights can increase harmful emissions by up to 35% per person! This is because planes produce most of their emissions as they take off.
2. Staying There
When finding a place to stay, try and find somewhere that is eco-friendly. Do your research to find somewhere certified as an eco-resort. These places will be treating their workers well and use organic and local produce.
They will also be recycling and being efficient with their energy consumption. You will have to follow these rules too. Try to stay at small hotels. B&Bs are ideal as they use local produce and are ran by locals.
If you’re going camping, try to use a small amount of space. Using up lots of space can damage the soil and harm the environment and habitats.
Be conscientious. Don’t be messy, try to stay local and don’t visit chains.
3. Visit Eco-Friendly Locations
When choosing where to go, it’s usually more eco-friendly to visit nearby countries.
Visit places which focus on helping the environment and reducing emissions. Visiting green countries means you help funnel your money into their sustainability efforts. Every little helps and it can go a very long way.
Locations such as the Galapagos have many organisations who help conserve the islands. Galapagos island tours are great for seeing the area and help conserve it at the same time.
Going to eco-conscious locations teaches you new ways to be sustainable. You can take this knowledge home with you and continue to make a difference.
4. Use Public Transport
Most cities around the world have excellent public transport systems.
Using metros and subways results in 76% less emissions than cars or motorbikes. They also mean less cars on the roads giving out gasses.
Some countries use electric buses which are much better for the environment. You can usually buy week-long passes for public transport in big cities which don’t cost much. This helps save you money while saving the environment!
More and more cities have bike share schemes. they don’t cost much and they’re a great way to get around town in an eco friendly way. Or, you could always walk! Walking produces 0 carbon emissions, it’s great exercise, a great way to see the city, and best of all it’s free!
5. Don’t Buy Bottled Water
Traveling is thirsty work. You’re walking a lot and it can reach high temperatures. it can be tempting to buy a bottle of water from the corner store.
Don’t do it. Plastic bottles account for a lot of waste. Instead, bring along a reusable water bottle and refill at taps if possible. There are a lot of
hotels and hostels which have installed water filters to make the local tap water safe to drink, so use them!
A staggering 91% of plastic water bottles are not recycled. If you do have to use one, make sure you find somewhere to recycle it.
6. Shop Local
When it comes to buying foods, make sure to buy local. Local food isn’t imported and thus has produced no emissions to get to your plate.
Buying local foods supports local farmers and businesses. It’s often very fresh and higher quality without any additives.
7. Choose Eco Friendly Activities
On vacation, there are a lot of fun activities to choose from. But, not all are helpful to the environment.
Avoid activities such as motorized tours, hiking in protected areas or hunting trips. They have very negative impacts on the environment and they’re not worth it.
Instead, volunteer at local organisations to help make a direct contribution to conservation.
Turtle conservation and clean up ocean schemes are very fun and rewarding experiences. They help save habitats and the planet in the long run.
8. Remember to Recycle
It’s easy to forget to recycle when on vacation, but it’s very important to do it.
Try not to use anything with plastic wrappings. But if you can’t help it, make sure that you recycle it as soon as possible.
There are a lot of hotels and cities with recycling bins so keep an eye out for them. If you struggle to find any, go to a local park or grocery store, they usually have them there.
9. Conserve Energy
When staying in a hotel, it’s easy to use up a lot of energy. Make a conscious effort to conserve it.
It doesn’t take much, only a few small steps. Turning off lights and air conditioning when leaving the room can help a lot. Use less towels and don’t get the room made up every day.
Regulate room temperatures by opening windows and using the blinds.
10. Stick to the Rules
When visiting a nature reserve for a hike or camping, make sure to follow the signs and rules in place.
Always stay on marked trails and maintain a safe distance from any animals you encounter.
Straying from the marked trails can destroy animal’s habitats or endangered plants.
Being Eco Friendly Tourists
The Earth we live on is a precious place, and it’s deteriorating at an alarming rate. We don’t have another planet to move to, so we need to take care of this one.
Every one of us must make a conscious effort to save the planet. This includes tourists. Tourism results in a lot of harmful emissions. This means tourists must make a real effort to help the environment.
Did you find this article helpful? Check out our other travel tips to make your next trip perfect.