10 Ways to Green Travel
Green travel has an incredible impact on our communities. It helps us to minimize air and water pollution, preserve wildlife and natural habitats, as well as support local economic prosperity. Additionally, it helps appreciate local cultural traditions, prevent physical or environmental degradation and much more. People have a different understanding of what makes up green travel. Nevertheless, green traveling involves paying attention to the environment during your traveling expeditions.
Additionally, real green travel is all about ecotourism and responsible travel practices that aim at benefiting the environment. It also involves supporting the community socially by engaging leaders in decision making, environmentally by conserving and measuring the impact on sensitive wildlife species and economically by providing employment and distributing profits. The following are some of the ways you can travel green this time around.
1. Choose an Ethical Travel Destination
Ethical travel merely is mindful travel and the awareness of our impact as we explore the world. While choosing your destination, it is essential to consider your environment. The most suitable destination is one that is near your home since traveling itself is a way of environmental pollution.
Some of the best ethical travel destinations in 2019 include; Benin, Costa Rica, Mongolia, Palau, and Uruguay, among those that appeared in last year’s list including; Ecuador, Fiji, and the Gambia. It is also essential to check the countries that made it to the list in the previous years to increase your choices. The survey done to create this list every year accounts for environmental protection, social welfare, and human rights. It evaluates how these factors have changed over time by comparing the past and the present and hence selecting the country that has shown the most significant improvement over the past year.
2. Green Accommodation
During your search for accommodation services, it is important to consider specific factors about the hotel such as the one that makes efforts to take care of the environment. If you are traveling in the United States, consider hotels that have a LEED certification from the U.S Green Building Council. This council is responsible for evaluating hotels` sustainability in site development, material selection, energy efficiency, indoor environmental quality, water savings, and innovation in design. In other countries, you can seek approval from other certification programs such as Earth Check (Australia), Green Globe, Rain-forest Alliance (Latin America, Caribbean), and Green Tourism Business Scheme (UK).
3. Choose the Right Transport
While choosing the best transport to use for your travel, it is essential to consider certain aspects of environmental conservation. If the destination is not far from your residence, it is advisable to use a bus or train, which are more environmentally friendly compared to airplanes. Bicycle rides are also environmentally friendly as well as pocket-friendly too. For longer distances, it is advisable to book a direct flight to your destination.
Usually, the landing and takeoffs are what contributes the most to environmental pollution caused by air travel. If you prefer to take a flight, you should consider flying with one of the International Air Transport Association airlines. This organization offers carbon offset programs to neutralize the aircraft’s carbon emissions by investing in carbon reduction projects. Sustainable transport can save you money, reduce environmental pollution, and improve your health.
4. Choose the Right Tour Company
As you hunt for a good tour company, you should put several factors into consideration. That is, the company should use green office products and should respect local flora and fauna. Additionally, it should proudly promote its ethical practices as well as consider destination specific social and political issues.
Importantly, it should be clear how the company contributes to its community among other factors. There are many recommendable tour companies out there. One such example is Ecoventura, which is a company that facilitates cruising in the Galapagos. It is also best known for Eco-traveling, scuba diving, and on shore adventures.
5. Know When and When Not to Volunteer
Volunteering is a kind gesture, but there are appropriate times and places for it. Some people may use this opportunity to exploit volunteers by making healthy profits, as it happened in Cambodia. Not all volunteering places are legitimate; however, situations that involve animal welfare or the environment are in most cases legitimate. However, it is essential to do a thorough background search. Ask questions before offering your volunteer services or donations to ascertain the legitimacy of a place.
6. Eat Local Food
As a way of contributing to the economic growth of a community, it is essential to support local farmers by eating their local foods. Before you embark on your travel, you can research the type of cuisines available in the desired destination. On the other hand, search for the best restaurants that offer these servings. Avoid eating imported food staff or buying from the supermarkets. One tip to finding the best local foods is to inquire from restaurant staff. Bartenders and restaurant staff are very interactive and can always direct you to your area of interest.
7. Leave a Light Footprint
If you want to leave a light footprint, reduce the consumption of animal products by eating a vegetarian diet. Subsequently, this means purchasing locally produced items, when possible, avoid driving a car but instead take a walk or cycle. You can also make simple steps such as taking short showers to conserve the electricity, keeping air-con use to a minimum or turning lights off when not in use, among many more.
8. Take Your Trash Back at Home
Most developing countries do not have proper ways of disposing of trash, especially bulky items like electronics, polyester clothing or even old batteries. It is only best that you don`t dispose of to the environment but rather pack it and take it home with you. Donate items such as clothing and other things that can be beneficial to the local people, as a way of giving back to the community.
9. Reduce Water Waste
There are very many ways to conserve water. One, you can carry your refillable water bottle along for refills as a way of saving money and reducing wastage of water bottles. Two, do not use plastic bottles because they are unfriendly to the environment. It is also a fact that taking a short shower uses less water than taking a bath. Hence, you should try to take short showers as much as you can. Consequently, reduce your usage of hotel laundry to avoid frequent washing.
10. Carbon Offset
A carbon offset is an art of reducing the emission of greenhouse gases including carbon dioxide made to compensate for emissions produced elsewhere. You can calculate your carbon offset via a handy calculator at Sustainable Travel. By doing so, your contribution will help by funding reforestation and manufacturing of renewable energy products.