Getting a chance to travel and see everything that the world has to offer is a great opportunity to expand our horizons and work on ourselves. However, as not everyone has the chance to explore the world, meet new people, and see breathtaking sights, it’s important that we understand how lucky we are for getting to do such an amazing thing.
If you want to be able to continue discovering new corners of the world that you still didn’t get a chance to visit, it’s vital that you take proper care of the planet and do your best to be sustainable while on the road. That being said, in addition to caring for the environment, you should also take care of yourself when traveling in order to continue doing so for many more years to come.
With that in mind, here are some eco-friendly ways you can travel and become a better traveler.
Opt for nearby locations
For starters, when trying to be sustainable, opting for the right destination is key. For example, as you want to cut down on using planes, you can consider a location that you’ve never explored even though you live near it. If you’re only a few hours away by car, train, or bus from an interesting spot that you’ve overlooked until now, why not plan a nice eco-friendly trip and explore the close-by attractions? You can surely find a B&B, Airbnb accommodation, or a hotel room to serve as your base while you go on a tour of the place.
Choose the less-traveled destinations
In case you feel like there is nothing interesting in your vicinity, it’s okay to travel somewhere a bit farther away. However, you should keep in mind that some destinations are always full of tourists. If you’ve already had a chance to visit staples like Venice, Barcelona, or Bora Bora, you’ve probably noticed how tourists are impacting these marvelous spots. More and more locals are being pushed out of their homes, fragile heritage sites are being overcrowded, and the environment is generally being degraded. Taking that into account, you can consider some off-the-beaten-path alternatives that can be just as beautiful. The only difference is that there will be far fewer people and nature will be undisturbed.
Find sustainable accommodation options
No matter how far you decide to travel, you want to look for sustainable accommodation options. In order to encourage B&B, motel, and hotel owners to be more mindful of the environment, you should only book rooms with eco-friendly accommodation providers. There are many ways how hotels can be sustainable, from implementing various ways of conserving water to relying on solar power all the way to downsizing on their single-use plastic. When deciding where you will stay, you can look through their website to see which steps they’re taking to preserve the planet and if you’re unsure about some of their actions, you can call or email them to find out more. Depending on where you are going, you might even be able to go camping. While out there, remember to care for the planet and stay eco-friendly.
Be respectful of your environment
Something else you need to remember is to be respectful of your environment, regardless of whether you’re exploring the great outdoors or a big city. When outside, don’t litter but collect all your trash and dispose of it in an eco-friendly way. In towns and cities, your approach should be the same. Even though there will be people to clean up after you, it costs nothing to be nice and respectful of the place you are visiting. This doesn’t go just for caring about the planet; you should also respect the people whose home you are traveling to. They are opening their homes, businesses, and arms to you and you should acknowledge that. Be pleasant, remember to be polite to everyone you interact with, and try to leave them with a positive sentiment.
Look for volunteering opportunities
Besides being respectful of the environment and people you are visiting, you can also go one step further and look for ways to make an actual difference. As there are many options to volunteer abroad, why not look into opportunities where you can play a vital part in developing a community, teaching kids, or helping animals? If you’ve even been to Thailand, Nepal, Indonesia, or Fiji, you’ve surely seen all of their beauty. Consider going back and giving back to the community that made you feel so welcome there.
Get out of your comfort zone
Although taking care of the planet and helping others will make you a better traveler, you also have to look inward. For instance, if you’re always sticking to a routine, chances are that you will not have many new experiences and meet new people. While you might like it that way, why not step out of your comfort zone and try something a bit different? When faced with a new culture, the best way to learn more about it is to talk to the locals to see what they can teach you and how you can be extra respectful towards their customs and practices. These locals will also show you some hidden spots that not many tourists know about and those usually come with great stories, tasty food, and lower prices.
Keep it happy, personal, and meaningful
Lastly, you need to keep in mind that travel should make you happy. It’s something personal that you can do with others if you choose so but make sure you’re doing it because it brings you joy. From learning more about other cultures and meeting new people to seeing interesting sights and doing some new activities, traveling should be meaningful and help you evolve as a person.
No matter if you’re a seasoned traveler or someone who’s gearing up to explore the world as soon as the borders open once again, it’s a good idea to revise your habits to ensure you are benefiting both yourself and the planet with your travels. From being respectful to volunteering all the way to making it joyful, there is a lot you can do.