Being eco-conscious means being aware of the impact that your actions have on the environment and taking steps to minimize that impact.
Travel offers several opportunities to practice eco-consciousness, from choosing eco-friendly modes of transport to being mindful of the resources you consume while on the road.
Here are eight easy ways to get started:
1) Research your destination before you go
By learning more about your destination, including any eco-friendly resources available there, you can make informed decisions about how to minimize your impact while traveling.
For example, if you’re traveling to a place that relies heavily on tourism, find out what kind of effect this has on the local environment. Research if there are any non-eco-friendly activities at your destination that you should avoid. By the same token, find out which activities are eco-conscious and make an effort to support these instead.
2) Be mindful of your transportation
Keeping your choice of transportation top-of-mind is one of the best ways to stay eco-conscious when traveling.
If you can, avoid flying or take a direct flight to reduce your carbon footprint. Also, consider taking trains or buses instead of renting a car. Not only is this often more affordable, but it’s also better for the environment.
Lastly, walking or biking are other great options to explore your destination while also getting some exercise and fresh air.
3) Cut back on fuel by packing light
Aircrafts and other vehicles use more fuel when they’re carrying heavier loads. By packing light, you can help to reduce your impact and engage in more eco-friendly travel. Not to mention it's good for your shoulders and back!
In addition to packing less, make sure to choose items that are eco-friendly and can be reused or recycled. For example, instead of packing disposable wipes, opt for a reusable cloth. Other items like silicone travel bottles and bamboo products are also great sustainable alternatives.
4) Eat local and buy from businesses with eco-conscious practices
Eating locally sourced food is not only good for your health, but it’s also better for the environment. When you buy local, you cut down on the emissions that come from transporting food long distances.
You can also look for businesses that have environmentally conscious practices, such as using recycled materials or renewable energy. This is a great way to support eco-friendly initiatives and help reduce your impact.
5) Consume water more consciously
When you’re traveling, it’s easy to forget about the water you’re consuming. But H2O is an essential resource, so it’s important to be eco-conscious of how much you’re using.
For eco-friendly travel, avoid purchasing bottled water whenever possible. Instead, bring a reusable water bottle and fill it up from the tap. This will save you money and help to reduce plastic waste.
If the local water isn’t safe to drink, make sure to boil it or invest in a water purifier.
6) Choose eco-friendly accommodation
When booking accommodation, look for places that are environmentally conscious. This might mean choosing a hotel that uses solar power or a bed and breakfast that serves organic food.
Other options include booking through sites that specialize in eco-conscious tourism, such as Green Globe or Responsible Travel. Some websites will even plant a tree for every booking made through them.
Find out what type of impact your chosen accommodation has on the environment and make sure you’re comfortable with it before booking.
7) Respect wildlife and natural resources
When traveling sustainably, it’s important to respect your destination's local wildlife and natural resources. This means not disturbing animals in their natural habitat and not taking anything from the environment, such as rocks or coral.
Respecting wildlife also means being aware of the ecosystem and not polluting it. This includes disposing of trash properly and not littering. Be mindful of the products you’re using and avoid anything that could be harmful to the environment, such as single-use plastics.
What's more, if you see litter while you’re walking around, take the initiative to pick it up and dispose of it properly. This is a great way to be eco-conscious and help keep your destination clean.
8) Educate yourself and others about eco-friendly travel
One of the best things you can do is educate yourself and others about the importance of environmentally conscious travel. After all, the more people know about it, the more likely they are to make sustainable choices when traveling.
For example, you can share this article with your friends and family or post about your sustainable travel experiences on social media. You can also talk about why you’re forming eco-friendly habits and what benefits they have for the environment.
Leading by example is a great way to encourage others to be more eco-conscious when they travel.
The Bottom Line
With a little effort, it’s easy to travel sustainably. And by following these tips, you can help reduce your impact on the environment and make eco-friendly choices that will benefit both you and the planet.
Happy (sustainable) travels!