How to Travel more Sustainably

While the United Nations declared 2017 as the International Year of Sustainable Tourism For Development, the projects will not stop in 2017. In fact, just a few days into January, ETNOS Global is planning to meet in Germany to discuss eco-friendly tourism and cultural values as the industry continues to grow.

How to Travel More Sustainably | The sad truth is that #travel is not always good for the #environment or local #economies and #cultures. #Sustainable travel can minimize this downfall and loss of authenticity. It can even provide benefits. Our #awareness and #respect can really make a huge difference. Let’s all spread the word, and strive for #sustainabletravel in #2018. #cassidyslockett #cassidysadventures
How to Travel More Sustainably | The sad truth is that #travel is not always good for the #environment or local #economies and #cultures. #Sustainable travel can minimize this downfall and loss of authenticity. It can even provide benefits. Our #awareness and #respect can really make a huge difference. Let’s all spread the word, and strive for #sustainabletravel in #2018. #cassidyslockett #cassidysadventures
How to Travel More Sustainably | The sad truth is that #travel is not always good for the #environment or local #economies and #cultures. #Sustainable travel can minimize this downfall and loss of authenticity. It can even provide benefits. Our #awareness and #respect can really make a huge difference. Let’s all spread the word, and strive for #sustainabletravel in #2018. #cassidyslockett #cassidysadventures
How to Travel More Sustainably | The sad truth is that #travel is not always good for the #environment or local #economies and #cultures. #Sustainable travel can minimize this downfall and loss of authenticity. It can even provide benefits. Our #awareness and #respect can really make a huge difference. Let’s all spread the word, and strive for #sustainabletravel in #2018. #cassidyslockett #cassidysadventures

Following along with their momentum, my goal in 2018 is to turn my blog into a platform for good. I want to use my influence not only to keep inspiring you all, but also to spread the word about the things I am most passionate about – smart travel.

While there are some slight variations between “smart travel,” eco-friendly travel, “green travel” “responsible travel,” I am going to envelope them all under the phrase “sustainable travel.”

So… What is Sustainable Travel?

The World Tourism Organization defines sustainable tourism as “development [that] meets the needs of present tourists and host regions while protecting and enhancing opportunity for the future. It is envisaged as leading to management of all resources in such a way that economic, social, and aesthetic needs can be fulfilled while maintaining cultural integrity, essential ecological processes, biological diversity, and life support system.”

This may sound like a bunch of gobbledygook to you right now, but I’ll simplify it. The core focus is to reduce the problems associated with tourism, while also fulfilling your bucket list dreams. Sustainable travel means leaving a destination the way you found it so tourism can be maintained in the long-term.

Let’s face it. The sad truth is that travel is not always good. Take a look at Venice, Italy. Many people arrive by cruise ship, which the city cannot handle. The economy largely depends on tourism, and prices are so inflated that locals cannot afford to live there anymore. Lots of people will have a 15 euro Bellini at the Hard Rock Cafe, buy a souvenir that says “Venezia” on one side and “Made in China” on the other, feed some pigeons, and leave.

Sustainable travel can minimize this downfall and loss of authenticity. It can even provide benefits.

 

Okay, Cassidy, that’s great. But… how do we do that?!

 

Maybe you are only one person, and in the end, you don’t have much of an impact. But if all tourists had just a tiny bit more awareness, there could be some massive positive changes!

 

Sustainable Travel Tips

Below, I have divided the tips into three sections – tips to help protect the environment, tips to spend money, and tips that are centered more on the local people’s well-being.

The Environment

Don’t take what isn’t yours

This means respecting the places you see. It isn’t okay to take sand from that beach, or leave your lover’s initials on the Colosseum. Sure that flower looks lovely, but its seeds could spread an invasive species.

Bring a Reusable Water Bottle

I’ll admit, I haven’t always been so good about this in the past, buying any ol’ bottle of water during scorching hot Italian summers. These days, I carry around a reusable water bottle. This one from BYO is affordable and BPA free.

Buy Local

Avoid imported foods, international food chains, and souvenirs shipped from an assembly line. All the extra shipping results in excessive carbon emission.

Pack Light

The heavier your bag, the more fuel goes into your mode of transportation. Plus, it’s really hard on your back to lug around a heavy bag!

Don’t Wash the Towels

Unless they are truly dirty, make sure the room service maid knows that they do not need to be washed daily. In most places, hanging the towels is a universal sign that they are clean. In the US, it can perhaps be better just to leave the “Do Not Disturb” sign on the door!

Avoid Maps and Brochures

If you must have one, take a photo of the page with your cellphone, or make sure to return them when you’re done.

Book Non-Stop Flights

Takeoffs and landings create the majority of an airplane’s carbon emissions.

The Economy

Local Accommodation

Book your accommodation through options like Airbnb, guesthouses, bed and breakfasts, and certified sustainable hotels.

Support Local Businesses

Spend your money at the family run cafe instead of the Starbucks across the street. It’s usually cheaper too!

The Human Aspect

Ask for permission before taking a photo of someone.

We all warrant respect. In some cultures, taking a person’s picture is like stealing something from them. If they don’t want a photo, then move along.

Immerse yourself in local culture.

For me, the most exciting and invigorating part of travel is being able to step outside my comfort zone. Talk to different people and learn new things! Do your research beforehand, too. After all, what is the point of going to Japan, just to complain about how things are so different than the US?!

To give or not to give?

On my way to work in Rome, I often see beggars, standing with their hand out. I want to help, but I’m not sure that giving money is the best answer. Giving a warm meal is perhaps more beneficial but the best suggestion I have is to look into local NGO’s and see if you have time to volunteer a bit on your trip.

In the long run, the most beneficial thing we can do is to support NGO’s. No, not charities who simply give food and clothes. This also creates the wrong mindset. I’m talking about supporting NGO’s that teach useful and lifelong skills – farming, knitting, canning, etc.

Our awareness towards helping the local economy and respecting the culture can really make a huge difference. I’ll be the first to admit – I’m not perfect, but I’m working to improve in 2018!

Now, let’s all spread the word, and strive for sustainable travel in 2018. Cheers!

17 Comments on “How to Travel more Sustainably”

    1. Thanks, Coach! With my internship now, it’s hard to keep my head in the sand about certain realities around the world. I’m striving to live a more sustainable lifestyle in 2018…

  1. Amazing post girl!! My husband and I have a big trip planned, and we can se we are trying to travel sustainable! So I love you’re trying to spread the word to bring awareness to those of us that love travel!! <3

  2. thank you for the tips. i was amazed on the part you wrote about taking sands from that beach. i recently read one thread about buying souvenir in one of travel groups on facebook, found one girl telling us about how she usually collected sand from beaches she visited. supposedly, i share this link with her. thanks again! 🙂

  3. I just love all these ideas! Thank you so much for such an informative post. I love to travel, and do often. Thanks to your post, I’ll be doing so in a way that protects this beautiful planet for my kids, grandkids and beyond! 💕

  4. These are some amazing ideas! Although we disagree on the beggars aspect, I think that you have really provided some awesome strategies to help increase the experience of travel for all involved. A more authentic trip would provide an entirely new point of view and would be so much more beneficial to the traveler than a more “touristy” trip, in my opinion. Love that you wrote this!

    1. Happy and welcoming of all points of view 🙂 Thank you for your comment and for reading! It certainly is a touchy subject to address – from one point of view, you must think of the individual in that exact moment, and from the other point of view, there are the long term effects. It’s hard to know which is right… I have worked with non profits before and this is what they seem to promote more often than not. Though I do still agree… I feel like I’m doing something good to hand out a meal every so often…

  5. Your post really resonates with me. I try to be conscious of the impact I create on our planet as much as possible through minimalism and intentional living. We all need to take responsibility of our actions and work towards a sustainable future. Whether it is through our fashion and lifestyle choices or when we are visiting foreign lands.

  6. It’s crazy to think about how little acts can do such drastic things. Good things to know to help our environment. Great post!

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