In few days, on April 22nd, we will celebrate Earth Day – aka, our annual reminder that we should all be taking better care of this wondrous planet we call home. For us travellers, it’s also a good opportunity to learn more about sustainable travel.
Who knows us know that since we started travelling, our dream has been to explore our beautiful Mother Earth and to protect it too. But, as travellers, how can we make the most positive impact? We started by learning more about different cultures and ways of life and by taking little steps to reduce our carbon footprint.
How to travel the Earth and protect it, too: 6 tips to be a more sustainable traveller
Whether you call it ecotourism, ethical or sustainable travel, it helps you supporting the Earth while nurturing your wanderlust. So, if you want to see the world without messing it up check out our guide to go green keeping your footprint light and preserving the planet… and remember, every day is Earth Day!
SUPPORT THE REAL LOCAL ECONOMIES
Choose small local business to buy your daily supplies and choose locally made crafts and souvenirs. They are not always cheaper, but purchasing them ensures your contribution to the economy will have a more direct and positive impact.
LEARN MORE ABOUT LOCAL SUSTAINABILITY ISSUES
While doing researches before your trip, don’t just look up the cool restaurants and hipster neighbourhoods also read about local issues. Visiting Cape Town a couple of months ago we found out that there’s a serious drought in the area and that water there needs to be conserved even more closely than usual. In Thailand, we learned that activities like elephant riding, no matter where they are done or what kind of place it is, are a form of animal cruelty. Not to talk about the once in a lifetime occasion to pet a tiger as some websites sadly advertise. C-mon people!
AVOID THE PLANE, WHEN POSSIBLE
According to the International Council on Clean Transportation, driving will usually be better than flying, particularly if there is more than one person in the car… sooo hurrah to road trips! Okay, back to reality! Flying is often unavoidable for travellers, but there are ways to reduce your environmental impact, for example taking direct flights (takeoffs and landings create most of a plane’s carbon emissions). And once you arrive at your destination, choose public transportation, rent a bike, take shared taxis, or walk whenever you can. If you’re driving, you can rent a hybrid – or electric – vehicle as we did in our road trip in the USA. Another great way? Travel by train. Not only will you experience a deeper sense of a place, you’ll also decrease your carbon footprint.
SAY NO TO PLASTIC
The Great Pacific Garbage Patch, a swirling mass of human trash stretching across thousands of miles of the ocean, includes gazillions of throw-away plastic bottles and bags that will take hundreds of years, if ever, to break down. How to be part of the solution? Opt for locally purified water and refill your water bottle (we choose the Italian brand 24 Bottles. Every time we drink from our stainless steel Urban Bottles we save 80 grams of CO2 from releasing into the atmosphere). You can also carry tote bags in your luggage that you can use while perusing street markets and shops. Not only will it reduce plastic waste, it will also reduce your carbon footprint.
Maps, tickets, travel guides. We don’t even realise how much paper we use while travelling. Luckily, nowadays, all you need to do is get your smartphone scanned at airports We don’t need to print all our documents and when we do we can recycle the paper. There are dozens of guides and cool maps available for e-readers. If you’re a traditionalist, just return the maps after use. You will help to save the environment and you will travel lighter too.
EAT LOCALLY AND WITHIN THE SEASONS
Sustainable travel is also about daily choises. For example, the choices we make about food when we’retravelling have the power to help make positive change. By supporting local markets, organic and locally-focused restaurants, and cutting down on meat, we can promote sustainable travel. Choosing seasonal ingredients you will support both local farmers and the local economy. Don’t forget to visit the farmer’s market!