Why It’s Important to Travel Sustainably

Why It’s Important to Travel Sustainably
08 Mar 2022

Sharing is caring!

Photo by Dino Reichmuth on Unsplash

The tourism industry accounts for around 8% of all global emissions and doesn’t show any signs of changing direction. If anything, as we exit the pandemic and folks get back to traveling and tourism, that figure will likely rise.

This reality puts many people in a difficult position: on the one hand, you want to travel and see more of the world, but, on the other, you want to reduce your carbon emissions and minimize the ecological damage caused by your lifestyle.

But before you cancel your flights and hotels, you should know that it is still possible to travel sustainably — it just takes a little planning and forethought.

Environmental Sustainability

Sustainable living is about more than simply reducing your carbon footprint. Bringing down your emissions plays an important role, of course, but you also need to consider how your travel plans impact the local environment and ecosystems.

So, when you’re planning a trip, be sure to consider things like the damage that may have occurred to build the hotel you want to stay in or the impact infrastructure has on the local environment. You can even plan ahead and choose eco-friendly accommodations. Usually, eco-friendly accommodation is locally owned and will advertise the efforts they’ve made to reduce the impact they have on their local environment.

Remember, not all trips have to be international long-haul flights to rainforests or European cities. It’s entirely possible to have a restful, environmentally friendly holiday in your own cities, towns, and wilderness areas.

Vacations at Home

The pandemic put a stop to most people’s international travel plans. But that didn’t stop folks from travelling across the country when it was safe to do so. Just because we’re exiting the pandemic, you shouldn’t forget the value of taking a stay-cation.

Some of the best at-home vacations involve hiking, camping, and backpacking. These kinds of outdoorsy trips are inherently better for the environment and will help you teach your kids about the value of living sustainably while you make great memories.

However, even road trips come with a carbon cost. The emissions caused by driving can put a serious dent in your efforts to live a sustainable lifestyle, so you need to learn how to drive sustainably to reduce the amount of gas you use. You can optimize your driving to reduce fuel consumption by planning your trip to avoid rush hour and by ensuring that your tires are at the right pressure before you set off.

Once you arrive at your destination, you still need to keep sustainability in mind to ensure your trip doesn’t damage the local environment. It’s easy to follow common sense sustainability practices while hiking, camping, and backpacking: choose less crowded trails to avoid damaging footpaths, but make sure you stick to the trails as they’re designed to keep the ecosystem around you safe from humans.

Offsetting Your Carbon Footprint

Traveling sustainably is an important part of living a climate-conscious lifestyle, and can help minimize your carbon footprint. However, it’s nearly impossible to avoid all carbon emissions — especially when you’re on the road, or when traveling abroad.

But, it’s now possible to offset your carbon footprint through the purchase of “carbon offsets”. Carbon offsets are like investments that you make into companies that are either soaking up carbon emissions themselves through the planting of trees or are creating business solutions that will reduce our carbon footprints in the future.

Inspire Others

The fight against climate change requires us all to make meaningful changes to our lifestyles and habits. For some people, that change can feel daunting. But, in reality, making a few changes to prioritize sustainability is fairly easy.

You can actively inspire those who are less environmentally conscious through your social media channels while you travel. Consider pairing posts about your adventures with information about the climate-conscious decisions you made. For example, if you want to show off the hike you went on, consider highlighting some information about common leave-no-trace principles.

If social media isn’t your thing, you should consider getting involved with climate advocacy groups like Evergreen Action or Carbon180. These are non-profits who are always looking for support from volunteers and know the best tips and tricks to travel more sustainably.

Conclusion

Traveling sustainably isn’t easy. You have to account for a range of factors like the carbon cost of your transport, and should be aware of the impact that tourism has had on a local environment before you start booking hotels or sign up for safaris.

However, A little planning and preparation can go a long way to ensuring that your next vacation is as sustainable as possible. If possible, choose local tourism over international holidays, as this will help you avoid the massive carbon cost of flying. If you do feel drawn to going abroad, consider visiting one of the many sustainable luxury destinations from around the world, as these locations are set up to help you live a sustainable lifestyle while you make lasting memories.


Indiana Lee

Indiana Lee lives in the Northwest and has a passion for the environment and wellness. She draws her inspiration from nature and makes sure to explore the outdoors regularly with her two dogs. Indiana has experience in owning and operating her own business. Feel free to follow her on Twitter @indianalee3.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.