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7 easy tips for more eco-friendly travel

Article by GVI


Posted: February 9, 2023

Travelling is an incredible experience that provides a chance to explore new destinations, cultures, and ways of life. However, the travel industry has a significant impact on the environment. To reduce this impact, eco-friendly travel has emerged as a popular movement, allowing travellers to minimise their carbon footprint and preserve the planet’s natural resources.

If you have restless feet, but a strong desire to protect the natural world, here are some straightforward ways to be a more eco-friendly traveller. 

Choose Eco-Friendly Accommodation

When planning a trip, choosing an eco-friendly accommodation can be a great first step towards sustainable travel. 

Opt for accommodations that prioritise environmentally conscious practices, such as using renewable energy sources, reducing water usage, and supporting local businesses. Consider staying at eco-lodges, treehouses, or camping sites, which offer unique and sustainable experiences.

Use Public Transportation or Rent an Electric Car

Travelling by public transportation or renting an electric car can significantly reduce your carbon footprint. Public transportation is a more eco-friendly option compared to flying or driving, and it also provides an opportunity to immerse yourself in local culture. Rail journeys have the added bonus of being incredibly scenic ways of moving around, and even in between, countries. 

If you prefer to rent a car, look for electric vehicles or hybrids, which emit fewer pollutants and reduce fuel consumption.

Reduce Your Reliance on Single-Use Plastics

Single-use plastics, such as water bottles and straws, are a significant contributor to plastic waste. To reduce your environmental impact, bring a reusable water bottle, shopping bag, and coffee cup with you when you travel. 

Say no to plastic cutlery and opt for biodegradable alternatives. Pack light and avoid purchasing items that are packaged in single-use plastics.

Support Local Businesses 

Supporting local businesses and avoiding tourist traps is a great way to practise sustainable travel. Buying from local merchants helps to boost the local economy and reduces the carbon footprint of products that would otherwise need to be transported from faraway locations. Moreover, avoiding tourist traps minimises the impact of mass tourism on local communities and their resources.

Respect Wildlife and Natural Habitats

Travelling is an opportunity to admire the beauty of the natural world, but it’s essential to respect wildlife and their habitats. 

Avoid attractions that exploit animals for entertainment, such as circuses, tiger temples, and elephant rides. These activities often involve animal cruelty and can have long-lasting effects on the well-being of the animals. Instead, opt for eco-friendly wildlife attractions such as sanctuaries, national parks, and wildlife reserves that aim to protect and conserve wildlife and their habitats. 

Follow the rules and guidelines set by park authorities and refrain from disturbing or interfering with wildlife. Always dispose of trash properly, stay on designated trails, and don’t feed the animals. By respecting wildlife and their habitats, we can ensure that these precious ecosystems remain protected for future generations to enjoy.

Look For Ways to Give Back to the Communities and Environments You Visit

Volunteering is an excellent way to make a positive impact while travelling. Eco-friendly volunteering opportunities include conservation projects, wildlife rehabilitation, and community development projects. These projects not only provide an opportunity to learn about the local culture but also contribute to environmental conservation efforts.

Eco-friendly volunteering not only benefits the environment, but it also provides personal benefits. These benefits include gaining new skills, building relationships, and experiencing new cultures. Volunteering also offers a unique opportunity to connect with nature and contribute to environmental conservation efforts.

There are numerous eco-friendly volunteering programs available worldwide. Some popular examples include coral reef restoration, wildlife conservation, and sustainable agriculture programs. These programs provide a unique opportunity to immerse yourself in the local culture and make a positive impact on the environment.

Keep an Eye Out For Greenwashing

Unfortunately, not all companies claiming to be eco-friendly live up to their promises. In recent years, there has been a rise in “greenwashing” in the travel industry, where companies make exaggerated or false claims about their eco-friendly practices. 

As a traveller, it’s important to do your research and carefully evaluate a company’s environmental impact before making a decision. Look for certifications such as eco-labels or green-certifications, and consider factors such as the company’s energy usage, waste management practices, and support for local communities. 

Don’t be afraid to ask questions and seek out credible information before booking your next trip. By being an informed and responsible traveller, you can help drive demand for genuine eco-friendly practices in the travel industry and support a more sustainable future for travel.

GVI offers sustainable travel experiences, including eco-friendly volunteering opportunities. Our projects are carefully designed to have a positive impact on the environment, with a focus on conservation and community development. By choosing to volunteer with GVI, you can be confident that you’re supporting responsible and eco-friendly travel. 

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