Eco-Friendly Travel:
Making Tourism Better for the Environment

group of people standing facing lake view

Traveling the world can be an exciting adventure, but it also has a significant impact on our planet. From carbon emissions to plastic waste, tourism can contribute to environmental degradation. However, eco-friendly travel offers a way to explore new places while minimising our ecological footprint. Here are some simple and effective ways to make tourism better for the environment.

Choose Sustainable Transportation

The journey to your destination is often the largest part of your trip's environmental impact. Here are some tips to travel more sustainably:

Opt for Trains and Buses: Trains and buses generally have a lower carbon footprint compared to cars and planes, especially for shorter distances.

Fly Smart: If flying is necessary, choose non-stop flights when possible, as takeoffs and landings generate the most carbon emissions. Consider airlines that offer carbon offset programs.

Use Public Transportation: At your destination, use public transportation, bike rentals, or simply walk to explore the area. This reduces your carbon footprint and lets you experience the place like a local.

Stay at Eco-Friendly Accommodations

Where you stay can also make a big difference. Look for accommodations that prioritise sustainability.

Eco-Certified Hotels: When you travel overseas, choose hotels with certifications like LEED, Green Key, or EarthCheck, which indicate that they meet certain environmental standards.

Local and Green Lodgings: Consider staying at locally-owned bed and breakfasts or eco-lodges that implement green practices, such as using renewable energy, recycling, and conserving water.

Camping: If you enjoy the outdoors, camping can be an eco-friendly option, especially if you follow 'Leave No Trace' principles.

Support Local Economies

Supporting local businesses not only enriches your travel experience but also benefits the environment:

Eat Local: Enjoy meals at local restaurants that use locally-sourced ingredients. This reduces the carbon footprint associated with transporting food.

Buy Local Products: Purchase souveniers and goods from local artisans and vendors. This helps sustain the local economy and reduces the environmental impact of imported goods.

Participate in Local Tours: Engage with community-led tours and activities. This ensures that your money supports the local economy and that you gain authentic cultural experiences.

Reduce Waste

Tourism can generate a lot of waste, but you can take steps to minimise it.

Bring Reusables: Pack a reusable water bottle, shopping bags, and utensils to avoid single-use plastics.

Avoid Disposable Items: Say no to disposable straws, cups, and toiletries offered by hotels. Use your own reusable versions instead.

Recycle: Be mindful of recycling facilities and separate your waste accordingly. If recycling is not available, carry your recyclables until you find a suitable place.

Respect Natural Habitats

Being a responsible traveler means respecting the natural environments you visit.

Stay on Trails: When hiking or exploring natural areas, stick to marked trails to avoid disturbing wildlife and vegetation.

Don’t Litter: Always dispose off your waste properly and pick up any litter you see to leave the place cleaner than you found it.

Wildlife Etiquette: Observe wildlife from a distance and never feed animals. Human food can harm them and alter their natural behavior.

Offset Your Carbon Footprint

For the unavoidable emissions generated by your travel, consider carbon offset programs.

Calculate Your Emissions: Use online tools to estimate the carbon footprint of your trip.

Offset Programmes: Invest in reputable carbon offset programmes that support renewable energy projects, reforestation or conservation efforts.

Educate and Inspire Others

Finally, share your eco-friendly travel experiences with others.

Social Media: Use your platforms to highlight sustainable practices and destinations.

Travel Blogs: Write about your eco-friendly travel tips and experiences to inspire others to follow suit.

Word of Mouth: Encourage friends and family to adopt greener travel habits.

By making conscious choices, we can reduce the environmental impact of our travels and help preserve the beauty of our planet for future generations. Eco-friendly travel is not just a trend but a necessary step towards sustainable tourism. So, pack your bags mindfully and embark on a journey that celebrates and protects the natural world.

white and green van passing green leafed trees
assorted flowers and leaves on sand with shoe mark
unknown person holding clear glass ball