4 Smart Ways to Become a More Sustainable Traveler

sustainable traveler

If traveling is in your blood, you probably don’t miss an opportunity to take a trip to a new and exciting destination. However, you might have noticed that most travels leave their mark on our planet, and generally not a positive one. As important as it is for you to see and experience the world, you’re also aware of how crucial it is to be eco-friendly and how cautiously we have to treat our environment. If you’re aiming at being a more sustainable traveler, here are some things you can do, starting today.

Choose an Adequate Destination

When picking where to go on your next trip, there are several aspects to consider. For instance, if you can stay closer to home, you’ll cause less transport-related environmental damage. On the other hand, there’s no fun in always circling around your place of residence. If you want to go hundreds or thousands of miles away from where you live, opt for places that take great pride in promoting ecological awareness and sustainability. One such place is Finland, where they’re making a huge effort to make their capital, Helsinki, carbon neutral in the next 15 years or sooner. Another wonderful place to visit is Slovenia and its capital, Ljubljana, which was named the European Green Capital in 2016. Since then, this charming, romantic city has become even greener, with its city core now free of almost all traffic and extremely pedestrian friendly. Supporting tourism in such places and adjusting your behavior to fit in will put you on the right track towards being an eco-friendly traveler.

Make Yourself Useful

No matter how frugal or resourceful you are, chances are that you’ll have to spend a certain amount of money on your trip. So, why not spend it where it’s needed most? For your next stop, look for a place that has recently been through a disastrous event and that is currently rebuilding, as people there will cherish anything you contribute to their country. One example is Greece, where the heatwaves and horrible fires have caused so much damage, that it’s questionable if and when tourism will bounce back to its optimum. Similarly, the 2017 Puerto Rico hurricane definitely took its toll on the life of the locals, which includes tourism. Traveling to these destinations will help them rebuild the community and their tourism capacities. In addition, some of these places will benefit from your time and good will, so ask if you can volunteer to help them further, as they’ll surely appreciate it. Finally, whether you want to go out for a meal or you’re looking for souvenirs, turn to small local businesses, as they’re the ones you want to back up and leave your money with.

Find Proper Accommodation

Some of the most famous hotels in the world are the ones with a long tradition. While most of them were built a long time ago and without any thought given to ecology, some have started moving forward in a good direction. In addition, nowadays, there are some amazing hotels which were actually designed with sustainability in mind. And not just that. People are now offering apartments and houses for rent with similar principles in mind. Fortunately, internet can prove to be useful here, as a little bit of online research can go a long way in giving you the information you need. Find eco-friendly guest houses, hotels and hostels, which run on renewable energy and have systems installed for efficient usage of water. Also, decide on places that pay attention to other details, like a quality waste disposal strategy, such as waste chutes. These are an excellent solution for any building, since they aren’t only safe and convenient, but also prevent such problems as people having to touch the trash unnecessarily and risk various sort of contamination, as well as leakage from garbage bags in the hallways, which can attract dangerous pests. Places that go out of their way to stay environmentally-friendly deserve your trust and respect.

Select the Best Means of Transport

The way you’ll reach your destination hugely depends on how far you have to travel to get there. This is something you should take into account before choosing one means of transport over another. For instance, if you’re going to a place that’s not too far away, a train will be a much better option than a plane. Namely, it takes a lot of fuel for a plane to merely reach a certain altitude and to land, which is why it’s not truly an eco-friendly option for short-distance flights. On the other hand, trains emit fewer greenhouse gasses and various other pollutants of all the standard forms of travel, which makes them a better option than a bus, for example. If you prefer traveling by car, try not to waste any seats in it. The more passengers you drive in a car, the better, as each of you will leave a lower carbon footprint per mile that way. There are now some phenomenal carpooling sites you should rely on, too. You can find a ride on these sites or offer one to others, which is especially useful if you’re supposed to drive for a long time and need a passenger that can take over the wheel for a while at some point.

It’s not impossible to combine your love for the world you live in and your desire to see as much of it as you can. With these four fantastic tips, you’ll manage to do so more easily. So, book your next trip, enjoy it to the fullest, while remaining mindful towards the planet. After all, we only have one home and we have to take good care of it.

The views expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views or policies of The World Financial Review.