Laura Chapman joins us to share ways of reducing the footprint of travel and vacation. You can read more about the future of green travel here: http://www.iglucruise.com/travel-technology/eco-travel-tech.
Tips to Minimize the Impact of Your Holiday
The world’s a very big place, so it’s no surprise that we want to explore at least some of it. However, with most countries now accessible to us and with the influx of tourists to previously untouched places, this has implications for the local environment and its communities. The issue of responsible travel is something that we all should be thinking about before we even book our holiday. Whether you choose to travel with a company who prides itself on its eco-friendly principles and approach, or choose to go it alone, the following suggestions can help to reduce your impact.
Consider travel options
Everyone has heard about the importance of reducing their carbon footprint, but unfortunately air travel is probably the biggest contribution towards carbon dioxide emissions that any of us will make; for example a return flight from New York to Costa Rica generates 0.7 tons of carbon dioxide. Consider whether you could holiday closer to home, allowing you to take the bus or train to your destination; there are usually many places within a few hours of your home, which have a lot to offer, but to which you have never been. A cruise ship is another lower carbon emission option for travel and can represent a completely different type of holiday. If however you have your heart set on a destination that you can only fly to, consider offsetting your carbon footprint through a company that invests in environmental schemes; though this option is often available to you directly when you book your airfare. While you are away try to avoid using cars at all cost; use public transport, hire a bike or take short journeys by foot.
Watch your rubbish
If you’re travelling in a country where the safety of the water supply is questionable, although the official line is to use bottled water, if you are there for a week or so, just think about how many plastic bottles you will get through. Not all countries are able to recycle waste, so the chances are your plastic bottles will end up in a rubbish dump. To avoid this problem you can sterilize your own water; all that’s needed is some reusable bottles and either a filter, iodine tablets or a water-purifying pen. Again, avoid using plastic bags while you are away, as they will end up with the same fate. Your best bet is to buy a canvas shopping bag or two when you arrive at your destination. When you next buy any gadgets for travel, avoid those which don’t have rechargeable batteries for the same reason; you’ll keep them out of landfill and it’s cheaper for you too.
Use environmentally friendly soap
It might not cross your mind, but in some countries the water that you have used to wash and shower drains straight back into the local water system to be used by others without any processing. For that reason, choose a soap that is biodegradable, so will naturally break down after you have used it. Particularly useful are those that can be used to wash your hands, body, hair and clothes, as these save space in your luggage into the bargain.
Respect the local culture
Before you travel ensure that you learn about the history, culture and customs of your destination, to provide a greater understanding of the people that you will be meeting during your stay. Additionally make the effort to learn basics in their language beyond “hello”, “please” and “thank you”; the locals will really appreciate this gesture. While there observe any rules about dress and avoid any behaviors that you know will appear offensive to that culture.
Only take as much as you really need away with you on holiday; not only will you avoid excess luggage charges at the airport, but it allows you to support the local economy – something much needed in less economically developed countries. Buying handcrafted souvenirs also helps to keep small cottage industries going and these make a much nicer gift than one that has been produced en masse. You might also like to take the opportunity to become more involved with the local community; your keenness to participate will mean a lot to the local community.
Keep to the path
It might only seem like a small thing when you stray from the main trail when out walking, but in doing so you can cause all manner of damage. Sensitive habitats can be disturbed, unnecessary erosion can be caused and you may damage crops or the irrigation channels that they rely on, potentially harming someone’s food supply and source of income.
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