Sustainability, and sustainability in travel can be something that can get a bit of a negative connotation, as it can bring up ideas in your head of having to be outdoors, camping, and foraging for food. But to be more eco-friendly when you travel, you don’t have to travel like this, unless that is something that you want to do, of course. You don’t have to take a boat across the Atlantic like Greta Thunberg either.
The general idea behind sustainable travel comes from lots of people having concerns about the environment, global warming, and pollution. So if you are able to travel in a more mindful way when travelling to certain parts of the world, as well as natural areas, and you can do your bit to conserve these areas, as well as look after the well-being of local people, then you can be doing something to travel more sustainably. The old saying of ‘leave nothing but footprints’ definitely stands when you think about sustainable travel.
For many travellers, they want to get more out of their travels than just going somewhere to lay on a beach for a week. It could be through the rise of travel blogging and social media influencers, that more places are being ‘shown off’ and wanting to be discovered; either way, people are wanting to get more out of their trip than before. So this ‘ecotourism’ can have both negative and positive consequences, depending on what we as travellers choose to do and how we choose to support different things. There are plenty of positive changes that are coming, and that travel operators are doing to change, from airlines, cruise ships, and hotels. Many tour operators are looking to offer more in terms of culture and local knowledge, without making a sacrifice to the places where the tours are being held. But we are travellers need to choose things wisely. If there isn’t demand for something, then it will change.
So with all of that in mind, here are some tips and ideas to help you to travel in style, but to be able to do so in a much more sustainable way.
Many airlines do produce a lot of fossil fuels, which can cause harm to the environment. Part of the ticket price will be due to fossil fuel emissions, which could be why flight tickets are getting more and more expensive. So be smarter when you fly and look for airlines that are fuel efficient. There may be planes that use biofuel, made from natural and organic compounds, so they are good to look out for. It is also a good idea to make sure that you are flying without things like excess luggage, as that can go a long way to flying more fuel-efficiently.
You can also look to cover the cost of your carbon offset, which was something that Elton John did recently for the Duke and Duchess of Sussex when they flew by private plane. You can read more about private jets and world leaders and royals online, but if you chose to go down that route yourself, there are things that you can do to make sure that it is a fuel-efficient flight, and not a flight that is fuel-insufficient.
Choosing where you stay is something that can go a long way to making your travel much more sustainable. The things to look out for in a hotel, are hotels that use solar energy, which is very possible in a lot of locations. But you can do things such as not request towel changes or linen changes everyday, and be careful with your water usage (choosing quick showers over long baths, for example). Looking for a hotel that is carbon neutral can make a difference, as they are likely to use much more energy-efficient lighting, and have better recycling resources. So make sure that you make the most of them, to reduce what goes to landfill, especially in countries that aren’t that well equipped.
Another thing to look out for with your accommodation, whether it is a hotel or a holiday rental, is to check the local public transport around, as well as things like shuttle buses, or bikes that you can use during your stay. If you don’t have to hire a car, then it can be a good way to be more green on your travels, but have fun when you explore too. You might not class public transport as luxury travel, but it can be one of the best ways to see the culture and the city that you are in, as well as being more sustainable, which really, is priceless.
There is one area in travel which has improved a lot in recent years, and that is the tour industry. It wasn’t that long ago when boats were banned from stopping on Phi-Phi Island in Thailand, because there were hundreds of boats lining up all day every day, and it was causing havoc to the ocean life locally. But changes have been made and things are looking much better. So when you are choosing a sustainable travel provider, make sure that you are looking for the ones that are making changes and making donations to organisations and to offset carbon emissions, for instance. You should also look to support things that are supporting and helping the local wildlife, like an animal sanctuary, rather than a zoo, as an example. Choose to do things that are going to benefit where you are visiting, rather than take away from it.
Choosing the Right Cruise
Cruising is something that can help you to see so much of the world in one trip, and is a real luxury way to do so. But it can be pretty harmful to the sea and its inhabitants. So if you choose to cruise, make sure that you do so wisely. There are some cruise providers that partner with organisations like the world wildlife fund, to help marine conservation, which is really important. Some ships will only serve sustainably caught seafood, and so on. So make sure that you are being selective in what you go for.