This can make it difficult to assess the true ecological impact of your adventures.
To help you sift through the noise, we delve into what you need consider to ensure you’re booking a greener trip and what questions you should ask responsible tour operators.
What Is Eco-Friendly Travel?
Eco-friendly travel is traveling in a way that prioritizes the environment and provides benefit to local communities. It’s being aware of how your footprint impacts the places you’re visiting and taking responsibility for making sure your visit has a positive purpose.
What Types of Travel Adventures Are Eco-Friendly?
The most eco-friendly way to travel is to minimize the carbon cost of your trip and to visit destinations that are environmentally conscious.
Easy ways to minimize your carbon footprint are by packing light, choosing to travel overland instead of flying (or when you must fly, choosing a non-stop flight), and booking your tours and accommodation with companies that have proven green credentials.
Destinations that are committed to finding sustainable tourism solutions are easy to spot as they have set clear goals to reduce carbon emissions and air pollution, clean up rivers, and improve waste management.
How Can You Find an Eco-Conscious Tour Company?
With no clear guidelines on what qualifies as ‘eco’, it can be difficult to know if a tour company, hotel, or travel agency is truly as sustainable as it claims. It’s therefore important to ask the right questions before you book.
- Can you see evidence of their commitment to sustainability on their website?
- Are they employing local people?
- Are they showing sensitivity to local cultural influences?
- How are they working in partnership with the environment?
Look out for evidence of how they reduce their impact on the environment such as through carbon-offsetting and recycling schemes, supporting local charities, and reducing single use plastics. The best eco-friendly travel companies will have a mission statement or written commitment to sustainability visible on the homepage of their booking site.
Which Accommodation is the Most Sustainable?
When it comes to booking eco-friendly accommodation, it’s often easy to identify properties that are working in harmony with their surroundings because they:
- Limit energy consumption and use renewable energy sources.
- Collect and responsibly manage their wastewater.
- Encourage their guests to be environmentally aware.
- Limit single-use items on their property.
As a rule, smaller accommodation providers such as private self-catered rentals are more sustainable than multi-national hotel brands.
Simple Ways To Make Your Trips More Sustainable
Here’s a quick-fire list of ways to reduce the carbon cost of your trip:
- Pack light, every extra pound adds an additional burden for fuel.
- Choose a daypack made from recycled materials like the Recycled SuperBreak.
- Carry reusables such as a water bottle, coffee cup, utensils, shopping tote.
- Choose ground transport over flying and ride share when possible.
- Book with local eco-friendly operators.
- Seek earth-friendly experiences such as hiking and cycling.
- Eat and drink at local restaurants.
- Turn off the heating/air-con/lights when you’re not in your room.
- Use public transport at your destination.
Making the right choice isn’t always easy, especially when some travel companies greenwash their credentials. However, by asking the right questions and making informed purchase decisions you can drastically reduce the carbon cost of your adventures.
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