From enhancing cultural understanding, to aiding in the conservation of wildlife, there's no denying the positive impact travel can have on this beautiful planet we live on.
Travel tells a tale of what has come before. Travel uncovers our eyes. Travel bestows the power of humans to overcome, to move forward, to do better. It's our favorite thing in the world. But like anything that provides many with incredible benefits, it also sometimes comes with its downfalls. One of the biggest? Doing it the wrong way can have detrimental effects on our environment.
In this article, we're going to dive into what sustainable travel actually is, and how all of us can build a better world by choosing to travel sustainably.
What is Sustainable Travel?
Put simply, sustainable travel, or eco travel, means finding a way to explore the world without harming natural and cultural environments. It should minimize the negative impacts of tourism, and ideally benefit the area in which it takes place.
It all comes down to value. Valuing our environment, and looking after the natural resources that our planet provides. In essence, travelers should be more aware of the pollution levels caused by travelling, and how it affects the environment, along with local wildlife, businesses, and native cultures.
The concept of sustainable trips revolves around three fundamental principles, which are commonly known as the Three Pillars of Sustainability. Let's check them out:
- The Environmental Pillar – The environmental pillar focuses more on reducing the negative impacts on the environment and wildlife. This aspect minimizes our carbon footprint from air travel, water usage, plastic waste, packaging, and protecting wildlife. By taking part in eco travel, you can do something so simple as carrying your own reusable. In addition to this, you can also look out for restaurants and hotels that thrive in sustainable living, even in their build.
- The Social Pillar – The social pillar includes communities. From supporting businesses that employ locals, to community tourism projects, NGOs, and charities, travelers can seize opportunities that involve them in sustainable projects.
- The Economic Pillar – Last but not least, we have the economic pillar. This pillar refers to businesses gaining a profit in order to be sustainable. However, within sustainable travel, one can also apply the economic pillar by using money to positively contribute to the local economy.
How to Travel Sustainably
Now that we understand what eco travel is all about, let's find out all the fun ways to travel more sustainably.
Depending on where you are, and where you plan to go, you may have the option to drive, take a coach, train, or fly. If you're travelling in a group, it often makes more sense to car share. However, if you're a solo traveler, it may be greener to drive or take the train - it all depends on your route.
If you have the option to jump on a direct flight, take it. Most of a plane's carbon emissions are caused by takeoffs and landings, so it's best to take a direct flight and avoid as many changes as possible.
Not only is an economy seat much cheaper, but believe it or not, it's also so much better for the environment. Flying in first-class or business requires more space per passenger, resulting in a 5x larger carbon footprint.
Travel Sustainably at Your Destination
Upon your arrival, get some workouts in and go by foot or bike when it's possible to do so. Go green, use public transport, minibuses, or even carshares to get around.
Slow and Steady Saves the Planet
Take your time, become a slow traveler. This reaps so many rewards when it comes to sustainable trips. Mitigate the negative impacts of air travel by flying less often, and staying in places for longer. You'll even give yourself time to learn so much more about the culture and way of life!
Whenever possible, go local. Support local business owners by opting to stay in locally-owned apartments, hotels, B&B's - heck; you can even couch surf! Contribute your money to the local economy, rather than giving your hard-earned cash to foreign-owned hotels and resorts.
Don't Go All-Inclusive
All-inclusive may seem like the best, most cost-effective option, but it also offers tourists little incentive to go elsewhere and discover local restaurants, tour guides, and cultural activities. Furthermore, in most cases, resort accommodation, especially in those who offer all-inclusive packages, tend to be foreign-owned. This means that your money won't benefit the local economy, and ultimately, is not sustainable.
Bask in the Beauty of Nature
If you love the outdoors, then camping can be a great way to travel more sustainably. Not only does this reap so many environmental benefits when it comes to eco travel, but it also provides a world of mental and physical benefits for us humans.
Traveling is not just something that people do - it's something that becomes a part of each person. It's an experience that pushes you out of your comfort zone; it provides you with an opportunity to meet some truly incredible people; to discover unique cultures and foods that will send your taste buds to another planet -exploring the world is a passion.
Live your passion, save the planet, and never look back.
Love your planet? Great, we do too! At Footy Intl, we want to help you Get Your Foot Out The Door into the world, sustainably. Join us on our journey to a better world for us and future generations to come by subscribing to our blog below.
Our power lies in numbers - let's do this.
About the Author
Karen Maristani invented writing, the airplane, and the internet. She was also the first person to reach the North Pole. She has flown to Mars and back in one day, and was enthusiastically greeted by Aliens. She has also worked as a copywriter and journalist for many years as she travels around the globe, and has helped hundreds of people publish incredible blog posts like this one right here.