Many of us feel the burning desire to travel the world and explore new places. From the pristine beaches of Southeast Asia, to the architectural masterpieces of Europe, to the hills of South America, the world has so much for us to see and discover. But if we want future generations to enjoy these destinations as we have, we have to consider how we travel.
By travelling responsibly, you can enjoy the very best of the places you visit while doing your part to make sure they are preserved for years to come. In that spirit, let’s have a look at some of the best ways to travel responsibly:
1. It all begins at home
Responsible travel starts before you even walk out your front door. Whether you’re going for a quick weekend getaway, or travelling around the world for a whole year, make sure to turn off all the energy-consuming appliances in your house before you leave. Air conditioners and room heaters are responsible for around 47% of the energy consumption in homes, so make absolutely sure those are turned off. Then, check your water heater, washing machine, refrigerators, and all your lights. Of course, if you’re only leaving for a short time, you can leave your fridge on. But, if you’re going on a long journey, you should consider emptying it out and unplugging it. Lastly, your TV, computer, cable or satellite box, gaming console, and microwave are all energy vampires that continue to draw power even after they are turned off. So, unplug them.
2. Support the locals
When you travel thousands of miles away from home, you might feel the urge to look for things that you’re already familiar with like food or other services that you have in your home country. It’s normal and you should feel free to do it occasionally. But, while you’re in this new and exciting place, you might as well experience some of the local fare.
By buying local goods and using local services, you can contribute to the economy and support community families. A few dollars might be just a little bit of money for you, but it can feed a whole family in some parts of the world.
3. Read up on local laws and culture
If you want to travel responsibly, an open mind and a good attitude are crucial. You shouldn’t expect the local people to behave in the exact same way as people in your homeland. So, respect their customs and traditions even though some of them might seem unusual to you. And don’t forget to read up on local laws to avoid getting in trouble.
4. Reduce litter and emissions
As much as possible, reduce or limit your use of plastic bags and foams. If you’re heading out on a day trip, pack your lunch in a reusable container. If you’re going out on a shopping spree, bring your own bags. And, wherever you go, having your own water bottle is always a good thing. While some countries’ tap water can’t be trusted, there will almost always be opportunities to fill up your bottle with clean drinking water. Containers, cloth bags, and water bottles are not bulky, so they should be easy to pack. But if you’re worried about space, you can also buy these helpful items when you reach your destination.
If possible, try booking a direct flight to your desired destination instead of transferring to another flight at another airport. This will greatly help reduce CO2 emissions. If you’re feeling extra eco-conscious, you can even offset your carbon emissions by donating to an environmental project that counterbalances the pollution that planes cause. The best of these are reforestation projects. Just do a bit of research beforehand to make sure your money is being well-spent.
While on the ground, opt to walk or cycle whenever possible. This way, you’ll be looking out for your health and the environment’s health at the same time.
5. Hotels matter
When seeking out a hotel, look for a place that encourages environmental awareness and sustainability. All Centara Hotels & Resorts, for example, have banned single-use plastics. They also reduce food waste by donating surpluses: In 2018 alone, these donations provided over 86,000 servings of high-quality food to those in need. Centara also buys 70% of their produce from local sources, which reduces their carbon footprint while strengthening local economies.
Travelling can be a life-changing and life-affirming experience. So, get out there, experience the world, and make some memories… just do your best to travel responsibly. Future generations will thank you.