In the past few weeks I have been thinking a lot about sustainability. First, I read the book “The Uninhabitable Earth” and then I watched David Attenborough’s Netflix documentary “Our Planet.” Both of these pieces discuss the future of our planet and how we have to do something now in order to avoid complete disaster. Things are already pretty dire, but there are things that can be done to help preserve it. I’ve decided to create this list of sustainable travel tips to help others.
Traveling is a way for people to explore places they’ve never been and learn about cultures that are vastly different from their own. I think that traveling is such a wonderful experience. However, there are negative consequences from travel that have impacts on our gorgeous planet. Planes and air travel emit tons of CO2 and contribute about 2% of the world’s global carbon emissions. Over Tourism can also lead to places being overcrowded with visitors and natural areas destruction.
All of these things really make you think about your impact on the world. I’ve been thinking about how I can travel sustainably to limit my carbon footprint. Read below for more sustainable travel tips!
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Table of Contents
Sustainable Travel Tips
#1 Explore Locally
This may be the most obvious tip, but exploring the hidden treasures of your own area is a wonderful way to see new things. Find a new park, a new museum, or a new hike to take that will expand your horizons. If you’re tired of your place, you can find a nearby town, beach, or mountain area to getaway and relax.
#2 Travel by Car or Train
Europe is well known for its wonderful rail systems, but the US has plenty of Amtrak routes to choose from. Trains emit far less carbon than planes, so if you are looking to lower your impact this is always a great option. Driving by car is another way to decrease your carbon emissions, as long as you aren’t driving a gas guzzler. Try to find cars that are electric, hybrid, or have great fuel efficiency to explore new places.
#3 Buy Carbon Offsets
If you have to fly somewhere or you’ve decided to fly somewhere, then you should look into purchasing carbon offsets. Carbon offsets are ways that you can try to cancel out your impact by giving money to organizations that work to reduce emissions in the world. It’s not a perfect solution, but it definitely is a way for people to try and make up for the harm that they may cause. For those who don’t know where to start, this New York Times article explains how to purchase these offsets.
#4 Pack Reusable Items
Humans produce so much waste that greatly affects the world around us. One of the best sustainable travel tips is to bring reusable items whenever possible. For example, you could carry around a reusable water bottle to drink from, bring a metal straw to use, carry a reusable coffee mug or pack reusable bags to put things in. Packing these items will help to limit your impact when you travel to new places.
Some great reusables that I love:
#5 Use Sustainable Transportation Methods
While you are exploring a place, try to do so in a sustainable manner. If the city has a great bicycle or public transportation system, then you should take advantage of it! It’s so easy to research and use these transportation methods to get around. If you’re visiting a place without those, then you can look into ride sharing apps like Lyft or Uber where you can share your ride and still get from one spot to another.
#6 Research Your Destination
One of the most important things you can do before you go on a trip is to research your destination. Figure out if you are contributing to over tourism or find hotels that have sustainable practices. There are so many places in the world right now that are working on limiting their environmental impact. Find towns that rely on solar power, cities that have an extensive network of bike lanes, or islands that focus on conservation. Make sure to follow all local guidelines when visiting and explore in a sustainable way.
I believe that this will just be the beginning of a journey into traveling sustainably. I love this planet and I really hope that we can work to make sure it’s protected and preserved for many years to come. I will continue to work to learn more to do my part and I hope you will too!
Let me know your favorite sustainable travel tip in the comments!