With borders opening up and the travel industry returning back to its regular popularity, it is time to consider the impact you have on the places you visit and the people you meet while traveling.
It is no secret that the travel industry is a proud member of the biggest polluters club. With over 1.2 billion people traveling annually, it has a weight to make a difference. However, it is up to the travelers to choose if the impact will be good or bad. If you have a few travel plans set for this year, here are easy ways you can be more responsible while traveling in 2022.
Do Your Research
Before you book your next trip, research destinations and their stances towards more sustainable travel alternatives. Some places invest each year to preserve their natural and cultural heritage, some have ongoing commitments to support nature conservation, protect wildlife. If you do the research beforehand, you can know more about the goals of the destination, as well as to adapt your itinerary, so it supports the destination rather than harms it. To make it easier for travelers, Green Destinations has compiled an ongoing list of sustainable destinations that comply with the Global Sustainable Tourism Council’s Destination Criteria. With over 200 destinations, you will not have trouble finding your next adventure.
Choose Alternative Transportation
Probably one of the easiest ways to contribute to a more responsible way of travel is to be mindful of your travel transportation choices. Flying is one of the quickest ways to travel, however, one short flight can emit a large amount of emission that would have a big negative impact on the environment. Of course, some places can only be reached by plane, in those cases, consider offsetting your carbon travel emissions by donating money to credible platforms. If you are traveling inland and have more time on hand, consider traveling by bus or train. These modes of transportation are more energy-efficient and more eco-friendly.
Support Local Businesses
If you want to make a real difference for the people in the destination you are visiting, choose more local businesses to support. Visit local wildlife parks, protected areas, restaurants and activities, tours that are run by locals rather than big international corporations. Choosing the right local business will require a bit of research as it can be difficult to know if the business is run by a local person or a foreigner who has never even stepped a foot in the destination. Supporting local businesses and giving money to them means that you directly benefit the economy of locals. That can make a huge positive influence on the economy and on the life quality of locals.
Leave Only Footprints
This famous phrase represents the main idea of responsible tourism when it comes to nature and wildlife. Wherever you go, make sure that you only observe. Do not touch, feed or try to entertain wild animals you may encounter. If you like to go hiking or walk by the beach, resist picking natural objects such as seashells, rocks, or any flora. It may not sound like something that could do much harm to the destination, however, imagine if every tourist picked something up from the same spot. It could have serious consequences on the biodiversity of the place you are visiting. Most importantly, take everything back that you brought to the place. This mostly applies to any trash that you accumulate, like water bottles, packaging of foods, paper tissues, and so on.
Pick Your Souvenirs Carefully
It can be tempting to purchase unique-looking jewelry or accessories made from animal products or any other exotic type of material. In a lot of places, especially the more touristic ones, you can find stalls or salespeople trying to sell you these souvenirs that are actually made illegally. It can be made from protected or endangered species or even imported illegally from other destinations. This is why it is important to be informed about the destinations, their regulations. The next step is to always ask questions about the material used and its origin. WWF has written a helpful Buyer Beware Guide which lists items you should avoid buying while traveling.
These are only five simple ways you can adopt in your future travels, but we are sure that these will make the biggest difference in your travel habits in 2022.
You might also like:
All your donations will be used to pay the magazine’s journalists and to support the ongoing costs of maintaining the site.