A Guide to Sustainable Traveling: How to Offset Your Carbon Footprint
To travel is one of life's greatest pleasures. But as the climate crisis worsens, many world travelers are finding themselves sitting ill at ease with the environmental impacts of travel. When the aviation industry alone accounts for as much as 9% of our total climate change impact, it can feel difficult to justify taking that next trip.
That is why sustainable traveling has become a rising trend. We all want to take responsibility for our impact on our planet's health, but we also want to actually go out and see all that our planet has to offer at the same time.
So in the spirit of traveling responsibly, here are some tips on how to lessen the impact of your next journey.
Table of Contents
1. Travel Smarter
Probably the most damaging aspect of travel is the act itself: getting to your destination and back again. It's no secret that air travel contributes heavily to carbon emissions, but there are ways that we can minimize that damage.
The planning stage of your next trip should include calculating your trip's carbon footprint. Certain routes will often be more efficient than others, so it is worth the effort to try and book the most efficient flight possible.
The same goes for sea voyages. While Caribbean cruises are everyone's favorite family getaways, not all ships are created equal, and it is worth your time to investigate the options available to you to find the most sustainable one.
2. Research Your Accommodations
Much as with the travel portion, not all accommodations are created equal, either. Particularly if you plan on traveling to locations near sensitive ecosystems.
That is why you will want to try to find accommodations that hold themselves to a high ecological standard. Specifically, seek out lodgings that have been verified by third-party organizations like Rainforest Alliance or the Global Sustainable Tourism Council.
3. Live Like a Local
No one likes a brash tourist, so one way that you can endear yourself to those you will meet is to try to blend in as much as possible. And beyond preventing you from sticking out, this can help keep your environmental impact minimal.
Find out where the local folks eat, shop, and live. The sundries and consumer goods there are more likely to be locally made, which helps reduce the environmental impact of shipping goods. The same goes for regional cuisines, which are more likely to use ingredients produced locally and sustainably than the Michelin star restaurant.
Sustainable Traveling is the Future
While it is true that we all have a responsibility to our planet and to each other, it's not necessarily fair to demand that people forgo traveling altogether.
That is why we're seeing a movement towards sustainable traveling. We want to see the world preserved for future generations, but we also want to balance that with the freedom of movement needed for people to actually see the world.
It is possible to strike a balance between the two. All it takes is the dedication and presence of mind to do so.
And of course, to help live your best, most sustainable life, be sure to keep up with our blog for all the latest on leading a sustainable lifestyle.