More and more people are interested in green travel because of increased awareness about the impact of human activities on the environment. And that's a good development! In order to preserve natural resources for future generations, it is essential to reduce the negative environmental impact of tourism.
In this blog we discuss:
- Why is green travel important?
- Green travel: practical tips
Why is green travel important?
The travel industry has a significant impact on the environment. Mass tourism contributes to carbon emissions, air pollution and water pollution, among other things. According to the United Nations, the industry accounts for about 5% of global carbon emissions.
This makes it important to factor this factor into our choices when planning our next vacation. Fortunately, more and more travel companies are offering environmentally friendly alternatives to transportation, for example, and "ecotourism" seems to be becoming a real trend. In the rest of this blog, we will discuss some ways to travel with a clear conscience.
Green travel: practical tips
Choose for sustainable accomodation
Choose accommodation that takes measures to act sustainably. For example, you can look for hotels that are committed to reducing their energy consumption, saving water and/or recycling. You can also choose to stay in eco-friendly lodges or homestays that use exclusively or partially renewable energy sources.
Control in advance if the accommodation is certified by a recognized organization for environmental friendliness. Some common certifications are: LEED, Green Key, EarthCheck and Green Globe. Read more about these certifications on this website.
The Park Hyatt Paris-Vendome hotel, for example, has implemented many eco-friendly practices, such as using energy-efficient lighting, reducing water consumption and using eco-friendly cleaning products. The park also supports local charities that focus on environmental protection.
Finding sustainable accommodation
To make it easy for you, some sustainable travel companies have already done the research for you. Some options can be found on this page.
Reduce your carbon footprint
One of the biggest contributors to carbon emissions from travel is transportation. To reduce your carbon footprint, consider alternative modes of transportation. Consider trains, buses or bicycles.
Trains are a more sustainable mode of transportation than cars because they produce fewer greenhouse gas emissions per passenger kilometer. In addition, trains are often more efficient and cost-effective for long-distance travel because they require less fuel per passenger and can avoid traffic congestion. If you choose this mode of transportation, consider traveling with GreenCityTrip trains.
Rent a bicycle
It is common knowledge that biking and walking are the most sustainable forms of transportation. Not only do these ways of moving yourself around not result in CO2 emissions, but they are also excellent forms of exercise and therefore have many health benefits. Of course, we can't always walk or bike everywhere, but if you have the choice between a short bus ride or a slightly longer bike ride, both your health and the environment benefit from the latter option.
By renting a bike, you as a traveler can reduce your carbon footprint while enjoying the fresh air. Besides being environmentally friendly, rental bikes also offer a great way to explore a new city or destination. After all, you see much more of the surroundings when you ride through them at a leisurely pace!
If you do have to fly, it is better to opt for direct flights because take-off and landing causes additional carbon emissions. You can also reduce your emissions from your flight by choosing to offset emissions when booking or donate to organizations that plant trees (such as Trees for All).
Take less stuff with you
By minimizing the weight of your luggage, you can reduce your carbon footprint. The heavier the luggage, the more fuel is needed to transport it. In addition, it is also more convenient to travel light, especially if you use public transportation or have to travel large distances on foot.
When it comes to packing for a trip, it is important to pack light and bring only what you really need. A useful guideline is to bring one hat, two pairs of shoes, three pieces of undergarments, four tops/shirts, five pairs of socks and six pairs of underpants.
Of course, you may not need everything on this list, which means you can pack even less. Or you may actually need to bring a little more - for example, if you need to bring occasion clothes. Either way, limiting your clothing choices to no more than seven days is a good rule of thumb. It is also more convenient to bring layered clothing instead of one large coat when traveling in the in-between seasons. That way you have more outfits to choose from.
By the way, there's no shame in wearing garments more than once - probably no one will notice if you repeat an outfit. Also, it's usually fine to do laundry if you're going on a longer trip, such as if you're staying in a hostel or AirBnB with a washing machine.
Reduce single-use plastic
Disposable plastic is a major source of pollution, especially in coastal areas. When traveling, avoid using plastic bags, straws and water bottles. Instead, you can bring a refillable water bottle and a reusable lunch box, for example. You can also bring your own toiletries in recyclable containers instead of using the hotel's disposable toiletries.
Planning to go shopping for souvenirs? Then bring a reusable shopping bag. If you did get a plastic bag, save it to reuse later. When making your purchases, choose to support only sustainable businesses and avoid those whose trade degrades the environment - such as those selling coral.
Do you want to learn more?
Support Local Communities
Probeer op reis lokale bedrijven en gemeenschappen te steunen. Dit kan betekenen dat je lokaal geproduceerde goederen koopt, in lokale restaurants eet of deelneemt aan lokale activiteiten.
Door ervoor te kiezen rechtstreeks van lokale ambachtslieden en bedrijven te kopen, kun je helpen om traditionele ambachten en technieken in leven te houden. Daarnaast krijg je zo ook de mogelijkheid om te genieten van de authenticiteit en kwaliteit van lokale specialiteiten - zoals handgemaakte Italiaanse goederen. Bovendien ondersteun je op deze manier de lokale economie en bevorder je duurzaam toerisme.
Shoppi: Local Shop, Go Global
Before you travel, you can discover local businesses by downloading the Shoppi app on your phone. With Shoppi, you can easily switch between different travel destinations for which you will receive personalized information, products and tips tailored to your needs and preferences. The app offers a user-friendly interface that makes it easy to navigate and find what you're looking for no matter where you are in the world.
Respect the environment and culture
While traveling, have respect for the local environment and culture. Avoid activities that harm the well-being of local wildlife, such as riding elephants or swimming with dolphins.
It is also a good idea to learn about and follow local customs and etiquette. This way, you increase your awareness of the effect of your actions and show respect for the locals. After all, they know from experience how to live in harmony with the nature of your destination.
Activities with low impact
Choose activities that have little impact on the environment, such as hiking, birdwatching or visiting natural attractions (without deviating from the designated path). Look for a sustainable alternative if you are tempted to book a questionable trip.
For example, there are many farms in Asia that offer tours where you can learn more about sustainable farming methods and animal care and - if you want - even help with the harvest. This is a lot more ethical than the popular elephant rides - and a lot of fun too! Another example is the extensive network of hiking trails in Germany. Together, these trails cover about 200,000 kilometers. The network offers an exceptional experience with beautiful views, including trails that wind through national parks.
There are also trails that let you discover the breathtaking beauty of the Alps. Whether you are an experienced hiker or just enjoy leisurely walks in nature, Germany's hiking trails offer endless opportunities to explore and enjoy nature.
In short, sustainable travel is essential to reducing the negative impact of tourism on the environment and preserving natural resources for future generations. By making responsible choices while traveling, we can reduce our carbon footprint, support local economies and enhance our travel experiences. So consider the impact of your actions and strive for sustainable travel when planning your next trip!