Sustainability isn’t usually the first thing that comes to mind when we think about travel, but it is definitely possible to link the two...
There are plenty of things that you can do to reduce your impact when you travel, here are a few ways:
The biggest one is to avoid taking the plane. Instead, travelling by train, bus or carshares is a great option, and you get to see a lot more than you would on the plane!
In Europe, you can use Interrail or Flixbus, why not create your own route and maybe meet people doing the same! Adventuring on road trips are also a great way to discover a country as you’ve got a lot more freedom, It definitely takes more time but for me, it’s more about the journey than the destination!
Another tip is to bring your reusables with you, such as a water bottle, cutlery, lunchbox etc. This will help you reduce plastic consumption while you’re abroad. You can use your lunchbox to take away food that you couldn’t finish at the restaurant for example.
It’s also very important to help the local economy when we travel. For example, staying at an all-inclusive chain hotel doesn’t really help the local economy but staying at a locally owned hotel does.
Travelling to less popular destinations also makes a big difference. If you think about it, very popular destinations don’t really have sustainability in mind. They want to attract more and more tourists which is very harmful to the environment as well as the locals. Let’s take the village Hallstatt in Austria as an example. It is home to less than 800 people and gets more than 1 million visitors a year. Due to over-tourism, they are now limiting the numbers of buses that can come and drop tourists off every day. Most tourists only stay for a few hours, taking photos and not spending anything at the shops or restaurants. You can see why this doesn’t really help the local economy and isn’t very sustainable.
The same goes with eating at locally-owned restaurants, you also get a much more authentic experience. It’s also a great way to get to know the locals and they might give you some tips on something less popular to visit. As well as this, we all know what you eat can have a positive or negative impact on the planet. When you eat mostly plant-based or veggie, it cuts down on carbon emissions from the meat and dairy industry. It can be tricky to stick to it when you are travelling but it is becoming more and more popular. Happy Cow is a great website and app that can help you to find vegan/veggie restaurants all over the world.
Travelling sustainably is definitely possible and we need to remember that every little step helps.