The world is changing, travel more sustainable

THIS GLOBAL PANDEMIC HAS SHOWN THAT THINGS CAN CHANGE OVERNIGHT and it has also put our lives into a healthy dose of perspective. Who would have known that toilet paper and hand sanitiser suddenly was the hot property? For many this outbreak has been a wake-up call and a struggle, not to mention extremely overwhelming. Everyone around the world wants to know: when can we travel again and how do we recover from this?

Noone knows and we have to accept that.

As people are trying to adapt to the new restrictions and self distancing. The travel industry is constantly changing and has hit hard because of the travel bans across the world. But so have people’s mindset and life after the shock of COVID-19. This pandemic shows that we have to explore new ways to help the world in a crisis like this and we have to start to see opportunities for improvements. But was actions can we take to adapt to more sustainable travelling?

We are slowly beginning to understand the problems and negative effects of our previous decisions. We can all do something to help reduce the impact on the planet. In the middle of this chaotic time, I choose to optimistically see the future – as long as we take action now.

Travel is a powerful force for cultural exchange and understanding – this is one of the main reasons why I love travelling. I have been thinking a lot about my own impact on the environment, but also the political and economical stance of how I choose to travel. Because my wanderlust should not come at the expense of the very landscapes and ecosystems I seek to admire.

Sustainable travel emphasizes the importance of respecting local cultures, traditions and communities. We are all responsible for our choices, so let’s make good ones. I know that I want to do better so let’s figure this out together. Sustainable travel is a conscious choice to explore our planet with a commitment to minimizing harm and maximizing benefits to protect the environment and cultures. By adopting eco-friendly practices, such as reducing our carbon footprint, conserving resources and respecting wildlife, we can help preserve the breathtaking beauty of our planet.

That is why I have listed a few small and easy changes that we can make to minimise our impact where we can and change our travel habits. Even if it is baby steps, every little bit counts. Are you ready to join me so we can do this sustainable journey together?

Choose a lesser-known destination

Planning any trip starts with picking out a destination. Depending on where you choose to travel it can have a huge effect on your environmental footprint. Instead of going for a popular destination in another continent. Try to find a place that is closer to home and not been touched by mass-tourism. Why not support destinations that are more authentic and value sustainability for example Slovenia, Bhutan, Seychelles and Ecuador? You can check out the top 100 sustainable destinations if you are interested in finding out more. This goes hand in hand with my next point.

Travel off season

Flight tickets have become ridiculously cheap and we can almost reach any part of the world in just a few hours. I think it is great that traveling is accessible for everyone and I am thrilled about having the opportunity to travel everywhere. But it can also create local problems and contribute to over tourism in popular areas. If we can avoid traveling to these places during peak season these places might even want our attention. Just because they are popular destinations doesn’t mean we should stop traveling there. How do we solve this? If you have the flexibility, choose to travel off season to lighten the pressure on overcrowded destinations.

Do your research

Read up on your destination and check local news to find out what the current environmental crisis is and how you can avoid contributing to it. The more knowledge we have of a destination, its history, religious beliefs and local culture the more we can appreciate the surrounding, people and wildlife. Knowledge is power and we can behave in the way we want without causing any damage.

Choose an eco-friendly accommodation

Apart from picking a destination and planning on how to get there. You should also think about where to stay? Support hotels that are sustainable, that care about the environment and work towards greener choices. Places that are environmentally conscious when it comes to recycling, food waste, composting and biodegradation products. Usually locally owned accommodations like airbnb, couch surfing or small boutique hotels are better than big chain hotels. If you want to find conscious places to stay check out Ecobnb and Kynder.

Respect locals and wildlife

Interactions with locals and their culture is both valuable and insightful. Learning about local customs and reading up on essential phrases will get you a long way. Show respect when visiting landmarks and look up what is appropriate to wear and follow those guidelines. Remember that traveling is a privilege, so show respect to religious beliefs and cultural differences. When it comes to interacting with animals, always look for responsive wildlife tourism. Don’t engage in attractions that, in any way, cause them harm. Apart from protecting the people and animals in your environment. Make sure to take care of our natural heritage as well.

Slow traveling

When you select your destination, start to think about how to get there. By now, we should all be aware that planes, cars and boats are significant sources of carbon emissions. When it comes to choosing transportation it can be a bit tricky. While flying is one of the worst ways of “getting places”, it is sometimes non-negotiable. Sometimes a domestic flight can be better than renting a car especially if you are traveling solo. What we can do is consider a greener airline to reduce our carbon footprint or renting a hybrid or an electric car if possible. Try to always look up if there are train or bus connections between the cities you want to visit. We have to take different options into account when deciding how to get to, around and from a destination.

Support local organisations

Traveling around the world has a huge impact for both our communities at home and for the places we travel to. Think carefully about what you purchase and where your money goes. Try to support local brands that make an effort to reduce waste and resource consumption. If you want to spend money and bring something home from your trip, go to local markets and pick locally produced products and souvenirs. I am not much of a travel shopper but I like to buy local food as souvenirs. This way there is less chance that it will end up unused or tossed away.

Reduce, reuse and recycle!

The more and more people that are visiting a destination, the more amount of trash there is for the locals to deal with. Not all countries have prominent recycling receptacles so be mindful of the amount of trash you make. Do the earth a favour and recycle the materials everywhere and anywhere you go! A good starting point is to try to consume as little single-use plastic when you can. Instead use reusable bags when groceries shopping and reusable water bottles that you can refill.

Try a digital detox

Is it just me or was digital detox the most talked about topic in 2019? You might be thinking why I chose to add this to the list. What does this have to do with sustainability? Not so much, but it does contribute to the overall travel experience. First of all, I love my phone and especially social media. I am a complete junkie when it comes to scrolling through feeds and updates. If it is any item that I can’t travel without except my passport, it is my phone. When Copenhagen made a 360 and went under complete lockdown, so did my phone. I decided to take a break from social media just for a few days (I did spend a lot of time on this blog though) and it actually felt really good. I am gonna take this with me and try to disconnect more often, especially when I travel.

Be kind to our planet

Tourism starts with the tourist so as long as you are trying to do better and are aware of the impact of your own actions it will get easier to make conscious decisions. Try to help and support the local communities by showing respect to the people, environment and animals. Greta Thunberg has been a great inspiration for many of us. She has taught us about ‘flygskam’ and how important it is to stand up for the things that matter and fight for change. To wrap this up, make sustainability a mindful part of your life not only for you but for future generations.

When it comes to sustainability travel, I know it is something I will never be perfect at. But that is okay and that traveling slow is more of a learning process than an end result. I don’t believe in “giving things up” but I do believe in awareness, responsibility and shifting mindset.

I don’t write this to make anyone feel guilty about their travel behaviour nor am I an expert on the topic. Instead I want to encourage sustainable travel and hopefully inspire you to travel more greener. This is a work-in-progress and something we should talk more about, we are after all on this planet together.

I would love to know your thoughts on sustainable travel. Let me know in the comments.


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