It’s incredibly easy these days to get overwhelmed by the environmental movement, and yet feel lost in how to implement practices into your daily routine that reduce your footprint. Even if you manage to build a habit--say you recycle regularly, or carpool to work--what do you do when you step away from your norm and enter travel-mode? This is a common dilemma for environmentalists: wanting to explore the world without harming the environment any further.
In case you find yourself stuck in that rut, consider this your “How To” guide on implementing sustainability practices into your future travels....
You’ve decided you want to go on an adventure...congrats! Once you chosen where, there are many questions to answer while planning...where will you stay? How will you get there? How will you get around? Consider these tips when sorting out the logistics…
Transportation: Whenever possible, get to your destination via train, bus, boat, donkey or automobile before choosing a plane. Air travel emits more carbon dioxide than any other mode of transportation. However, it should be acknowledged that sometimes air travel is unavoidable, especially when traveling further than 300 miles. An easy way to reduce your carbon-guilt is to off-set your carbons via various organizations or through us! We offset all of our company travel and guest travel every year!
Lodging: Before settling with a well-known traditional hotel in the area that you’ve seen on Instagram, consider working with an agency that specializes in knowing the best hotels for ethical and sustainable standards. Globe + Tribe vets all of our suppliers for ethical and sustainable standards and recommends those that meets ours. You should stay within walkable distance of the activities you intend to take part in.
Excursions: While it’s easy to choose sights and attractions that are most popular, consider booking your excursions and activities with local companies that clearly state their environmentally and socially responsible practices. For instance, any businesses that donate a percentage of their profits to humanitarian or environmental charities ensures your dollars can be used for greater environmental management or community development.
Packing: When you’ve hashed out the details you need and are ready to pack, consider your daily activities. Will you be shopping for souvenirs? Will you be needing a lot of bug spray or sunscreen? Think about which items can lead to more plastic, water or energy waste, and consider the following items in your packing list:
Quick-Drying Travel Towels
Shampoo, Conditioner, and Soap Bars
UV Shirt and Hat
Reusable water bottles
And if there are any items you imagine you won’t need after the trip--like a camping tent--see if there’s a chance you can rent the gear instead!
Cultural/Social: To ensure you are culturally and environmentally aware of the lifestyle you are going to travel to, try researching what environmental issues and social norms you should know prior to travel? Are there any common tourist spots or practices that condone or exacerbate these? Over-tourism is increasingly becoming an issue and besides the fact that you may not want to be enjoying an area or site with 5000 of your closest friends, the environmental impact can be great.
You made it! Time to settle in and immerse yourself in the culture you’ve traveled so far to see. Here are some tips to consider when going about your adventures…
Lodging: Whether you chose to stay at a hotel or an Airbnb, decline any offers to have your room cleaned as much as possible and avoid using the provided travel-size toiletries, as these are replaced after use! To minimize energy-use, try keeping your A/C within a neutral range, and turn off electronics and lights whenever they are not in use or you leave the room.
Dining: One of the best ways to experience a place is through its food, but that doesn’t mean you have to be wasteful! Try restaurants that are off the beaten path from the tourist traps, and that provide food with ingredients sourced from the region. When ordering, minimize food waste by only ordering what you can eat, and reduce plastic waste by either dining in or providing your own food containers and cutlery.
Shopping: When wanting to take a piece home with you to remind you of your travels, consider purchasing from a local artist or business, and decline offers for plastic packaging or bags to use your own reusable tote, especially if traveling in countries with no recycling infrastructure (there are MANY).
Being a sustainable traveler doesn’t have to be a challenge. As long as you are finding ways to minimize your plastic waste, water use, and carbon footprint while engaging in the local culture, you can return home leaving nothing but memories!