Green or Sustainable travel is often misunderstood. With people thinking that they have to sleep in tents, or never use cars to get around things get silly. Most people forego even trying to plan sustainable travel. That’s because they are under the misconception that traveling green involves sacrificing. You know like too many “regular” activities, especially those that make holidays fun.
In reality, sustainable travel is not difficult. In fact, it must be looked at as a choice. First, a choice to opt for the alternative. One that will have the least impact on the surrounding environment. While you might think simple choices don’t work think twice. For example, booking non-stop flights as opposed to ones with layovers. Then choosing hotels with recycling programs which you think doesn’t make much of a difference in isolation. When added together, these choices can significantly cut your impact on the environment. Then you really are onto sustainable travel. Here are some environmentally friendly choices for your next adventure:
Going green doesn’t mean that you have to give up on transport altogether. However, if you are visiting a walking-friendly neighborhood, take advantage of this. YOU know what to do like spend time walking around. Walking is a great way to really get immersed in the local culture of a place. In addition, you see parts of places that you might have missed. Hence, if driving by.
Another option is hiring a bicycle (perfect for keeping off the holiday weight). This will significantly reduce your overall emissions. If you are renting a vehicle, make sure it is a hybrid or electric, so that it uses less fuel and decreases emissions. Using local services like buses, ferries and boats etc too. That’ll generally have a lesser impact.
Often it won’t be in your control, but if you are in the place to pick specific flights to get to and from your destination. In other words, try to pick a non-stop flight. Why? The worse emissions on a plane are takeoff’s and landings. So most airlines now have carbon offset programs. This is where they try to compensate for the airplane’s emissions by investing in carbon reduction projects and initiatives. These are a good option.
When choosing a hotel for your stay, look for seals or certification that the hotel is eco-friendly. For the US, this involves a LEED certification, from the U.S. Green Building Council, which judges on sustainable site development, water savings, energy efficiency, material selection, indoor environmental quality, and innovation in design. Other international certifications include EarthCheck, Rainforest Alliance and Green tourism Business Scheme. A lot of hotels have recycling programs, and choosing one with these is a great way to promote stable use of resources.
Another thing to consider is how “local” the hotel is. The “go local” movement has revolutionized consumerism in a big way in the food industry. I mean with more and more people opting for locally grown produce!! One of the reasons for this is that choosing local supports the immediate local economy. It also helps the environment by cutting down on shipping and transportation emissions. This also is being energy-efficient. The same stands true with hotels. Inquire about how many local staff the hotel hires. Also and more noteworthy whether their food, infrastructure materials and more sourced locally. By supporting these hotels, you will be helping a local community sustain itself efficiently.
Every place has a unique set of activities for tourists and locals alike. I know most people go with the cheapest choice. Although paying a small amount for travel activities can benefit in a huge way. Small eco-friendly tours are often slightly more expensive but guarantee that the tour is sustainable. Cool note alert! Often, these tours will be more holistically satisfying than large commercial group tours. Consider activities that get you closer to nature. Also and more important maybe educate you about local landscapes, customs and traditions.
As a scuba diver, I urge you to take up environmentally friendly practices while engaging in adventure activities. This involves not touching coral while diving or snorkelling. Also purchasing eco-friendly and non invasive equipment for water sports like surfing. As well, consciously choosing to not take any tours that involves hands-on interaction with animals. These encounters stem from an industry that abuses and tortures millions of animals each year. So as to get them domesticated and compliant just to entertain us humans.
For activities such as hiking, bird watching and more, be wary on your environment and don’t encroach upon other species’ habitats. These days, if you are keen to ID various species, you don’t need to be invasive – thanks to many data plans that offer comprehensive 4G coverage all over the world and even remote locations, you can equip yourself with nature-supporting apps that let you learn about and ID various species without disturbing their homes.
In conclusion, simple choices like the ones listed above are great. When put together they have a huge impact in changing the way we travel. And if the positive impact made by one person. That can result in bettering the environment. I mean think about it! What would happen if we all did our part to travel sustainably?? Seems like we would be more fulfilled as travelers. Finally and most important, our world would be all the better for it.
The Green Living Guy, Seth Leitman is a green living expert, celebrity and Editor of the McGraw-Hill, TAB Green Guru Guides. Seth is also an Author, Radio Host, Reporter, Writer and a Environmental Consultant on green living. The Green Living Guy writes about green living, green lighting, the green guru guides and more. Seth's books range from:
# Build Your Own Electric Vehicle by Bob Brant and Seth Leitman (2nd and 3rd editions)
# Build Your Own Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle by Seth Leitman
# Build Your Own Electric Motorcycle by Carl Vogel
# Green Lighting by Seth Leitman, Brian Clark Howard and Bill Brinsky
# Solar Power For Your Home by David Findley
# Renewable Energies For Your Home by Russel Gehrke
# Do-it-Yourself Home Energy Audits by David Findley
# Build Your Own Small Wind Power System by Brian Clark Howard and Kevin Shea
# and more green living books to follow.