Along with our promises of exercising more, eating healthier food and spending less money, one less daunting promise to keep is the idea of travelling more. It is something many of us enjoy and something many of us may already have plans for.
We decided to come up with a few ideas to help us travel more sustainably and ethically in 2019.
1. Don`t Choose To Purchase Things, Choose Experiences
Surveys have suggested that people are now preferring to purchase experiences over materialistic items, whether this is partly due to the fact it can be captured in a photo and posted all over social media is a point for another discussion. So… choosing a life experience is now preferred by a growing number of people over a new car, a new phone or the latest sneakers. Being fulfilled by spending money on travelling is something we can carry with us for the rest of our lives, the memories of the adventures, the people we meet along the way. The memories of the things we did will far out last the brief excitement of a new car or phone.
Even while immersed in this rich travel experience don’t become lured in with cheap souvenirs that will end up lost in a draw for years. Perhaps go for a tour around a nature reserve with a local guide, go and visit a remote mountain village or even go into the sea and explore the beauty that lies beneath the crashing waves.
Not all experiences have to cost money, visiting an incredible beach that you heard about, hiking an awesome trail up a mountain, or even visiting parts of the town tourists don`t normal venture into (As long as it is deemed safe i.e don`t go wandering in the Favelas in Brazil)
2. Choose Eco-Friendly Accommodation
Climate change, destruction of the environment and fragile habitats are a prevalent issue around the world, choosing your accommodation to help to minimise your impact on the planet is an important factor. A few ideas to consider when making your decision on your choice of accommodation – Can you find out their policy on recycling and use of plastics? Are they sourcing locally grown food? Are they hiring staff locally or shipping staff in from abroad as many tour operators do? What are they specifically doing to become and act more ethically and sustainable? Directly email them, check out reviews on TripAdvisor and once you have visited perhaps leave a review on TripAdvisor to help out the next Eco-Conscious Adventurer. After you have seen it, were their environmental claims just Greenwashing? (See our article on Green Washing),
One Eco-Friendly idea is to simply pitch up a tent (where it is allowed – not in restricted national parks etc). Campsites are popping up all over the place and often located next to public transport links of big cities which allow easy access in and out while keeping costs down as you aren’t staying in the centre. As with any trip into nature make sure to keep the idea of “Leave no trace” at the forefront of your mind as making sure it appears you were never even there is important for the continued sustainability . People who leave rubbish and trash the area surrounding their camp should not have come at all.
3. Walk More
You may spend your day at work sitting around and not enjoying the great outdoors but it is no excuse to spend your holiday doing the same. Holidays with an element of physical fitness not only help us to release endorphins and but also help us to help exercise our minds and bodies. There are so many ideas out there to help us travel as an Eco-Adventurer; climb mountains (or little hills!), hike through forests and explorer big cities on foot. By travelling on foot we get to experience the landscape and city as it changes step by step, encompassing all the sounds, smells and visual delights which can be missed if we whizz past too quickly. It is not only better for your health to get your heart pumping, but it truly allows you to feel the beat of your destination and is a simple, free and effective eco-conscious choice.
4. Buy locally Made & Ethical Souvenirs
Some of us need to go into a shop and purchase something to help us remember that particular moment in time, if you are one of those people then try not to purchase a cheesy, tacky mass produced, fridge magnet, cliched ornament or a T-Shirt that will fall apart with a month of being worn.
The local people in your city will most likely be skilled at crafting a local speciality or be excellent at making something using local resources. You may have to look them up online or ask about it in a local cafe over a much needed rest from all the walking! There will be something far more meaningful and a much more personalised gift if you manage to find such a shop or street vendor.
5. Support Local Projects & Communities
Making 2019 (or any year!) a year of giving will make it so rewarding. Contributing to a good cause and helping out those who need it gives us a warm fuzzy feeling inside even if no one else knows about it and we don`t feel the need to broadcast it all over social media.
One way to help you travel cheap and to help out the locals while generally remaining eco-friendly is working on an organic far, through WWOOFING They generally give free bed and board in exchange for a couple of hours work per day helping them out.
You can often find a cause or project you are passionate about and fit it into your itinerary.
By supporting local charities and NGOs, it is a great way to make sure the money and effort goes where it needs to.
Are you able to choose an alternative method of travel to flying? Taking a long distance rail journey or coach will greatly reduce the carbon footprint of your journey. Have you ever thought about doing a cycle tour? Cycle tours allow you to experience the country as it changes and rolls along, so many senses, sights and sounds that you would miss when taking another form of transport. Take a tour in a camper van! If you don’t have your own you could rent one and travel in that, checking out everything you desire along the way and stopping whenever takes your fancy.
What ever you decide to do on your holiday/ travels make sure you do it with positivity, kindness and care. We should enjoy ourselves by experiencing what this world has to offer but it shouldn’t negatively impact the environment.