TAKE THE TRAIN
This may seem obvious. But I’m her to reiterate that, especially in Europe, we have some great train systems and taking regional trains will significantly reduce your carbon footprint. Companies such as Interrail are an amazing way to explore Europe and get immersed in the different cultures and tend to be more affordable. The Eurostar is also carbon neutral and you can get to Paris and Brussels for as little as £29.
TAKE A STAYCATION
There are so many great locations right on our doorstep. So when you want a short weekend break, try searching for some staycations instead. You’d be surprised at how many gorgeous places are within a few hours journey from you. I may be bias but I would highly recommend visiting the Cotswolds, and spend a weekend walking around the countryside and sitting in old pubs. Since March my staycation list has grown about five times it’s original size, but currently my top locations to visit are: Cambridge, Bath, Peak District and the Brecon Beacons.
FLY AS DIRECT AS POSSIBLE & OFFSET FLIGHTS
Flying direct can be hard, sometimes impossible. But it’s important to try fly as direct as possible. You can also refine your search on sites such as Skyscanner to choose ‘Lower impact’ flights. You should also carbon offset your flights. Sometimes your airline will have an option for this when booking, but if not there are plenty of ways with a quick search on google.
Research how your accommodation are working on their impact and sustainability within the local eco-system. If you can’t any, make sure to give your accommodation feedback on how they could be more sustainable either directly or through Trip Advisor. This isn’t you being a Karen, they’ll want to hear these ideas and may not have even thought about the impact they are having. I would recommend using sites such as Canopy and Stars to find some fab eco accommodation.
SUPPORT THE LOCAL ECONOMIES
As large as the tourism industry is, very little of the money goes back in to local communities. The WTO reports that, of each $100 spent during a trip, only $5 benefits the destination, which won’t support local economies. So cut out the middle man and shop at the local markets and stores, eat at local eateries, use local tour companies and generally just engage with the locals more. And remember to pay fairly, not everything needs to be bargained for.
REDUCE WASTE & USE RESOURCES RESPONSIBLY
Bring your own reusable items such as bags, coffee cups, water bottles and cutlery. If you’re worried about the water, invest in a travel water filtering product such as a Brita filtering water bottle or a Life Straw. Use multi-purpose or zero waste beauty products to avoid having to take thousands of travel sized products with you. Avoid littering and learn about the local recycling system. Also learn what resources may be sparse or are extremely valuable and avoid wasting these resources (water, electricity, gas etc.).
BE OCEAN CONSCIOUS
Particularly in the summer, its important to use reef safe products such as suncream to avoid damaging the eco-system. Try to clean the beaches if you see any litter, even if its not yours (or anywhere for that matter), and don’t touch the corals or fish.
AVOID ANIMAL BASED TOURISM ACTIVITIES
Animals are constantly exploited for tourist activities such as Elephant riding and holding sea turtles. It usually includes animals being restricted from a young age and being ‘tamed’ in cruel and sometimes abusive training tactics. Research organisations and instead consider visiting non-profits to support wildlife conservation.
CHOOSE A LOCATION THAT VALUES SUSTAINABILITY
Countries that value sustainability have a massive impact on the cultural and natural heritage. And also impact the livelihoods of the people. According to the 2018 Environmental Performance Index, Switzerland, France and Denmark were given the top rankings. But currently Finland is the most sustainable country on the planet. WWF’s vice president of travel, tourism, and conservation Jim Sano, said choosing to travel to a conservation-conscious location is one of the most important things travelers can do. “Destinations that value their natural and cultural heritage elevate the quality of a traveler’s experience and support the livelihoods of those that work in the travel industry.”
And that’s some great and effective ways to travel consciously and make a positive impact on the travel industry. There’s so many more and we can never be perfect, but even doing one or two of these ethical travel tips will really make a change. Happy travels.
*Disclaimer: 70% of all UK flights are taken by only 15% of the population. Whilst I will always encourage personal change, I recognise we need system change.
SOURCES: Vogue, Wifitribe, EPI, Standard, Lonely Planet