This article was guest written by Jean Deruiter.
According to a 2018 study, the tourism industry contributes around 8% of greenhouse gas emissions. And a big part of those came from aviation (40%) and transportation (30%).
No wonder there is growing popularity in sustainable travel. But what is it really?
Defining Sustainable Travel
Sustainable travel is the process of minimizing the impact of tourism and its components. That way, we can enjoy the wonders of nature without robbing future generations of this opportunity.
Here are four more reasons why it is essential to practice sustainable travel:
1. Reduces Waste Pollution
The plastic you use and dispose of will be added to the waste you send to the landfill. Unfortunately, the majority of our plastic wastes pollute the land and ocean.
That said, it would be best to bring reusable containers when traveling. It can be reusable water bottles, silicone ziplock bags, and microwavable Tupperware. The secret is to use as few single-use plastics as you can.
Sure, opting for reusable plastic containers may seem like a small contribution. But imagine if everyone in the hotel where you are staying is doing this. The result can be astounding.
2. Saves Luggage Space
Bringing multiple bottles of toiletries can take too much space in your luggage. It can also add to the weight of your belongings.
And even if you can bring them as carry-on, airlines do not allow passengers to carry liquids, gels, aerosols, pastes, and creams that are more than 100ml. What happens is that you transfer your shampoo in a small bottle, which can spill if you do not pack it properly.
3. Save Money
Taking away baggage fees from your travel expenses is one of the benefits of traveling light and sustainably. Moreover, refilling your reusable bottle with water prevents you from buying bottled water over and over.
4. Reduces Negative Impact
Most importantly, sustainable travel helps you reduce your carbon footprint when traveling. That’s because you are not sending as much waste to the landfill.
Light travel also means you are not adding weight to your preferred transportation mode. That’s because the heavier a vehicle, the more significant its carbon emissions.
4 Sustainable Travel Tips You Should Practice
Now that you know what sustainable travel is and why it is essential, it is time to learn how you can do it.
1. Look for Sustainable Accommodations
Being intentional of the hotel, resort, or lodging you will book is one of the most straightforward changes you can make to be a sustainable traveler.
For example, look for hotels that are incorporating water conservation in their policies. If you are in a beach getaway, consider staying in a resort that encourages its guests to be part of its cleanup drive. The same thing goes should you choose to stay in a transient house or Airbnb.
Looking for sustainable accommodation can be cumbersome, but it is a step in the right direction.
2. Reduce Your Carbon Footprint
When traveling, it is expected that you will need a vehicle for transport. It can be a plane, a car, or a recreational van.
Unfortunately, all of these leave a carbon footprint. So, what can you do to help save the environment?
If you need to travel by plane, ensure that you are carbon offsetting your flights. When you are at your destination, consider exploring on foot. Otherwise, opt to use public transportation.
Only use a car when traveling to far-flung places with unreliable public transportation.
Strolling or taking public transportations allows you to explore a place like a local. Plus, you are reducing your carbon footprint by a significant amount.
3. Practice Proper Waste Disposal
If you want to reduce the amount of pollution you generate when traveling, the key is proper waste disposal.
Throwing your garbage in the right bin is enough. Another thing you can do is check whether your accommodation has a compost bin. That way, you can save your food scraps and divert them from the landfill.
As mentioned earlier, our trash pollutes the land and sea. Hence, make it a habit to look for a trash can when you need to dispose of your garbage.
That is the least you can do in saving the environment.
4. Bring Reusable Bottles
In the United States alone, over 60 million plastic bottles end up in landfills every day. These bottles end up clogging the seas and tributaries, and some end in the sea.
What more the plastic straws and bags that you throw away willy-nilly? To some unsuspicious fishes, your plastic wastes look like food, so they tend to eat it. Not knowing that it can be detrimental to them.
As much as possible, reduce your single-use plastic consumption. Otherwise, re-use or throw them properly.
Just because you want to do your part in saving the environment, it does not mean that you cannot enjoy the pleasures of life. And this includes traveling. Nonetheless, there are actions you can take to reduce the negative impact you incur on the environment.