With a growing number of people traveling in and to all regions of this planet, being and acting responsible during journeys has become more and more important over the last years.
As we are trying to keep our ecological footprint small during traveling and try to support the locals, we want to show you four easy ways to make your travels a little more responsible. See what you can do:
Try to cause less waste!
In many countries, especially in those less developed, even normal domestic waste causes severe problems, as the waste disposal system is bad or non-existent. A lot of the waste you cause during your travels, destroys the environment you are traveling through and the locals (humans and animals) are living in.
If possible try to avoid beverages or food in small containers, especially plastic. Try to buy big bottles of water instead of small ones, for example, or look for a shop selling fresh snacks, instead of packaged ones from the supermarket. They might be more convenient sometimes, but it’s one of the easiest ways to avoid causing waste. Also many hotels are offering free shampoo or other amenities in tiny packages in your room. Try to bring your own, or buy larger containers in the next market or drugstore as many hotels are daily replacing those amenities if you use them, what causes a hand full of plastic trash per person daily.
During shopping, bring your own bags or a backpack to carry the things you buy and avoid the plastic bags you get in most stores worldwide. Especially where there is a bad working waste disposal system, those bags are excessively polluting the environment and waters.
You can also already do something at home to cause less waste: don’t print out every single booking confirmations for your trip. In many cases it is enough to bring your ID/Passport or presenting a confirmation on your smartphone. Inform about what you need printed, before you print, over the years you can save a lot of paper by doing so.
Eat and shop at the locals!
When you are traveling anywhere, you are also an economic factor. Almost everywhere you go, you spend money on accommodation, meals and activities. Many people in this world can’t afford to travel, but are depending on tourism to have an income, while All-Inclusive Resorts, international companies and tour operators are also trying to get a share of what you spend during your trips, reducing the share of the locals, or even eliminating it.
Even if it might be convenient, avoid booking trips with all (or some) meals and drinks included in your hotel booking (so called all-inclusive packages). Your tour operator and travel agent might be happy if you do so, but the locals won’t, as you will spend less to nothing in restaurants, bars and shops on-site. To the contrary: go out, eat and enjoy the local specialties and delicious dishes and book your activities with local agencies where you stay. With doing so you are not only supporting the local people, but also experiencing a lot more of the destination you are traveling to, as you are getting in contact with them. Plus the best: in most cases you will even get better quality.
Do responsible activities and tours during your trip!
Many tourists are not thinking about what they cause by booking tours and activities through operators that are not thinking about the sustainability of their services. Animal Safaris or Dolphin Watching are turning out to be more of a hunt instead of an observation, vehicles are destroying plants and landscape or noise is disturbing local people and animals, are just a few examples of what that might cause. Nobody would like if that happens in your hometown, so try not to support stuff like that during your travels.
Ask the tour operator what the tours or activities are actually up to and if they are doing anything to protect the environment. If you are not sure, ask locals or somebody in your hotel if they have a tip or experience that might be useful for you. Especially when animals are involved, you should be very careful that they are not mistreated, harmed or put under stress. Even if it might be something you have always been dreaming of, consider not to do a tour or activity when you are not sure that the operator is doing everything he could to make his business sustainable.
Use public transport, bikes or walk!
Driving isn’t fun in most cities. A lot of traffic jams, aggressive driving and parking lots are hard to find or expensive. Besides that a lot of traffic means a lot of noise and air pollution. Using public transport, bikes or walking within the city isn’t only more relaxing than dealing with traffic in your own car, you also relieve the infrastructure of the place you’re at. Also important: the environment will thank you for less stinky exhaust gases caused by you.
Public transport such as a bus network, a metro or commuter trains are available in many bigger cities in the world. Sometimes you can also use shared taxis or minibuses that bring you to wherever you want to go.
Nowadays there are also different bike rental programs with stations all over the city. Get in contact with the tourism office of the city you’re going to, or check your trusted search engine for information. Some hotels are also offering bikes for rent.
To be able to walk to most sights, you should choose a central hotel. Those don’t necessarily need to be more expensive, especially if you are saving money as you don’t use public transport or bikes that often.
I hope, we were able to give you some helpful information, on how to make your next trip more responsible. The above mentioned rules are quite easy to follow up on and they are a good step to act more sustainable. If you have any suggestions or something you are always keeping an eye on during your trips, drop a comment below, or send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org, we will be happy to discuss with you!
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