“Eco tourism is responsible travel to natural areas that conserves the environment and sustains the well-being of local people. According to the International Ecotourism Society, the definition of ecotourism is tourism that follows these principles: minimise impact, build environmental and cultural awareness and respect”.
“Sustainable travel means finding a way that tourism can be maintained long-term without harming natural and cultural environments. Sustainable travel should minimise the negative impacts of tourism and ideally be beneficial to the area in which it takes place”
What are the benefits of Eco & Sustainable Travel?
Travel and tourism is one of the largest industries in the world and we felt that travellers need to be aware of eco and sustainable travel, to protect the planet we live on as well as the places we visit. There are may aspects of travel and tourism that harm the environment and countries we visit. We put together this post with 25 top tips for eco-friendly and sustainable travel. We felt by raising awareness and sharing some easy tips for you to take note of during your travels, it will help make a difference and ensure a positive impact to the places you visit.
Did You Know?
- The garbage dumped in the ocean every year is roughly around 14 billion pounds.
- Plastic is the major constituent 8.3 BILLION Metric Tons of plastic has been produced since plastic was introduced in the 1950s. The amount of plastic produced in a year is roughly the same as the entire weight of humanity.
- Nearly TWO MILLION single-use plastic bags are distributed worldwide every minute.
- Plastic waste is one of many types of wastes that take too long to decompose. Normally, plastic items can take up to 1000 years to decompose in landfills. But plastic bags we use in our everyday life take 10-1000 years to decompose, while plastic bottles can take 450 years or more.
We collaborated on this post with a few travel bloggers to come up with some ways you can travel in a more eco friendly and sustainable way.
Here are 25 Top Tips For Eco-Friendly And Sustainable Travel.
Re-Usable Waste Bags
One of the problems with Indian cities and tourist destinations is the lack of dustbins placed. We always carry a reusable waste-bag in our car so that we can put all the garbage in it when we travel, until we spot a dustbin. This is zero effort from our side but goes a long way to keep the place clean.
Do not use flash during wildlife photography, it scares the animals. As it is we are intruders going into the little home we have left for them, the least we can do is let them be at peace. We take photos, come home and edit them – it is as simple as that.
Get on your BIKE
“Here’s an eco travel tip I completely stand by in everyday life, but especially when travelling”
Buy carbon offset
This is available when booking most flights, the money goes towards helping and protecting the environment from the impact of your travels.
Support Non Profits with a Travel Perspective
There are many organisations that help travellers make an impact to places they are visiting, via these organisations, you can find out before you travel what you can do to help the local area / community. Usually it’s packing a few items to donate, such as clothing, shoes, pencils, etc. I usually take lots of colouring books, picture books and some art supplies to give local children I see in local villages. In the past I have also taken some light badminton rackets and shuttle’s , frisbee’s, and deflated footballs to give away.
Enjoy places close to home
Exploring what’s in you own country or local to you can reduce your carbon footprint, as a lot of the time you can usually get there without flying. Also exploring whats local to you can be a surprise when you find some hidden gems.
Let us know in the comments below if you have found any great places near to where you live.
Organic and Sustainable
The travelling or when in your own home town, looks for places that sell organic produce or restaurants that cook with locally grown produce. Most of these type of businesses support fair trade and sustainable farming which is positive for the environment. Also doing things like going Vegan or Vegetarian for the day can help make a positive change.
Markets are a great place to buy local produce and locally made items such as crafts, this is beneficial as it helps the locals with their small businesses and the economy and also learn about their culture from the things they are selling. The travelling if I have booked self catering accommodation, I enjoy buying local ingredients and cooking. In Bali, India, Seychelles, Mexico, Thailand, Sri Lanka – I have also found some amazing crafts to buy.
When staying in various types of accommodation, there are a few things you can do.
-Turn off electrics you are not using – fans, air conditioners, chargers, lights televisions etc…
-Don’t put your towels for washing if they are not dirty.
-Look for places to stay that participate in eco friendly practices such as (re-cycling items, growing their own produce, using solar power) etc .
-Use re-usable water bottles
-Give suggestions to hotel’s when checking out for any ideas on feedback forms.
-Give back maps and leaflets when you have finished with them.
-Take showers instead of baths.
Research your destination
If you are like me I love researching trips and holidays and places I am going to visit. When you do this, you are armed with knowledge and information, to make better choices in most situations, although usually when I actually visit the place I end up finding a load of other interesting things to do and see usually from the locals that live there.
However some trip preparation before-hand goes a long way.
This helps the eco system and sustainable travel – in the following ways:
-You can find out local / off the beaten track places to visit
-You can find out about which tours / sight seeing activities are eco friendly
-You can pick eco friendly accommodation
-You get to find out where the local places are to eat which helps the locals and their businesses
-You will usually find out what ways you can help the area – in terms of preserving it’s eco system and if there are any programs you can join to help. Recently in Sri Lanka – my hotel organised beach clean ups every evening, this was a productive activity and ithelps makes a difference.
Do something positive during your trip and donate some time to projects – such as conservation / voluntary work or even a small financial donation to a local cause. Look up travel organisations that lead on this, in places that you visit and see if you can help / contribute in way. Many non-profits and charities are always grateful to receive some help.
Some of the one’s I have participated in are:
Women’s Project Bali – Buying handmade dolls to help local women earn an income.
Sri Lanka – Elephants – assisting the vet with wounded or sick elephants at a sanctuary.
India – Donated funds / books to a school
India – Gave sports equipments to a small school
Thailand – Helped with at the stray dog project
Sri-Lanka – Participated in a beach clean up
Leave No Trace
When visiting places LEAVE NO TRACE, to prevent harming the environments you visit this means, no littler, no mess, and don’t change or disrupt nature or natural environment in any way.
Since 1994, Leave No Trace Center For Outdoor Ethics, a non-profit organization also known as Leave No Trace, exists to educate people about their recreational impact on nature as well as the principles of Leave No Trace to prevent and minimize such impacts. Check it out online.
Try and visit some of the popular places off peak or off season. Also look for unique experiences and things to do and seen that are not as well known, this allows the popular places to get some respite. Recently you may have seen that two places, one island in Philippines and one in Thailand Maya Bay were closed to tourists to help the eco system recover from mass tourism.
When travelling – see if you can travel overland rather than taking flights, a few perks are you get to discover and see places along the way and it saves your carbon footprint.
See if you can share taxi’s to and from places with others. Also boats, tuk tug’s etc.
Try hiring a bicycle to explore your local surroundings or walk.
If hiring a car see of you can hire a hybrid or electric car.
Try and book direct flights where possible, as taking off and landing places cause the most damage to the environment.
Don’t buy anything made from endangered plants/animals such as ivory etc , unsustainable woods, or ancient artefacts and you are more than likely to get stopped at the airport.
Don’t participate in activities, that exploit animals – in zoo’s, parks, beaches, etc. Most of these animals are abused and tamed into doing tricks and other acts.
Suncream / Other Products
Suncream and tanning locations are known to harm the eco system in the sea. Try to buy items that are eco-friendly and research online. Use fish-safe and biodegradable sunscreen and products while snorkelling to protect marine life especially coral reefs. Use / buy natural biodegradable products they don’t have the harmful toxins for the environment and your body.
Research and look into using solar power chargers – this is a great way to save natural resources.
Do not disturb sign
Putting DO NOT DISTUB on your door o some days, this will let your cleaner know, your room does not need cleaning, which saves electricity, resources, stops unnecessary chemical use and supplies.
Hope you enjoyed reading our post on 25 Top Tips For Eco-Friendly And Sustainable Travel what are some of your tips on Eco and Sustainable Travel? Share them below please.