You care about the environment, but you also like to travel?
Is it even possible to travel environmentally friendly? Or should we better stay at home and install solar panels?
No, cause tourism has also a huge amount of positive effects on the society, the conservation of the environment and the local economy, which should be supported.
But what does “Sustainable, Soft, Green or Ecotourism” actually mean?
Someone asked me once, if sustainable tourism means, to make tourists stay longer in one place. I wish it would, cause that would make it a lot easier.
But no, sustainable tourism is the contrary of the so called “Hard Mass Tourism”. A sustainable Tourism Agency would offer you for instance a local owned Finca in the backcountry of Mallorca and not the ugly prefabricated multi story buildings all next to each other which mess up the view on the sea.
How to Travel Green?
1. Inform yourself
Look on the website of the tour operator, hotel or travel agency if they provide authentic information about CSR (corporate social responsability) and a sustainable strategy. On these websites you can search for sustainable destinations, tour operators, hotels and much more:
2. Choose an environmentally friendly transport
In my opinion, within 1000-3000 km a train, bus or car ride is still comfortable and should replace a short distance flight. Unfortunately they are sometimes even cheaper and of course faster then all other transport possibilities. But in order to travel more sustainably you should consider this the next time.
3. Reduce also your amount of luggage – most of the time it’s too much ayway
4. Travel slowly
Try to see the pro’s of a longer journey to a destination. You will actually get a feeling for the distance you just mastered. You can take breaks, drive through rural areas and honour also the journey as the destination.
5. Use public transport instead of renting a car
I know that this isn’t possible everywhere. But if you rent a car, maybe only on certain days, when you know, you will go to a certain place and the rest of your time, try to be mobile just as the local commity.
This will give you a completely new perspective on a certain culture.
6. Use water sparingly
Especially in southern and warm countries the lack of water is already a huge problem. Especially on small islands. Only because you paied for all your water consumption before, doesn’t mean you should take a shower until you get fins 😉
7. Keep it regional
If on your Starbucks cup the name of the city you are visiting is printed, doesn’t mean this is a regional way of food consumption. Avoid visits of restaurant-, coffee- and hotel-chains. Food reflects culture and should be part of your travel experience.
8. Choose your vacation acitvities compatible with the region
Playing Golf in the desert, driving Jetski in a coral reef area, Motorcross within untuched nature. All this should make you think.
There are plenty of envirnmental friendly activities like kajaking, hiking, climbing, paragliding…
9. Save energy and water
Put the aircondition on, only for a few hours a day. If your hotel has the card system – thumbs up ! Your room is only provided with energy when you enter it and turns off automatically. Leave a note for the hotel, that you don’t need your towels and sheets washed everyday. You don’ need this at home either.
My friend tried to fix a moskito net because we didn’t want the aircondition to run the whole night and opened the ‘window’. She even brought tape with her 🙂 #besttravelmate #panama
10. Respect the local culture
Inform yourself about habits, dress codes and maybe learn some words in the foreign language- this will open a lot of doors ;).
11. Do not buy wildlife or forest products
Until then, stay curious 😉 Lot’s of love.C.