As if we needed reminding of the awesome power of nature, Australia’s bush fires in 2020 were a stark reminder of the very real, very present threat of climate change. The fires burned for longer than ever before and there is an undeniable connection between them and the effect that all of us have on the earth and the climate.
It’s not that we don’t know that the natural world is in crisis, but perhaps it’s worth reminding ourselves now and again that travelling to places because they themselves are in crisis is a double edged sword.
Wanting to see a place before it disappears or is irrevocably damaged, like the Great Barrier Reef for example, is perfectly understandable and all those tourist dollars go a long way to helping to protect those places. But the very fact that people are making the trip and bringing with them sun lotion that pollutes the sea, a huge carbon foot print from air travel and the inevitable plastic waste that follows us all as we travel, all of this can only hasten the demise of these beautiful places.
But it’s not all doom. Being aware of just how much visiting a place can affect its future is the first step towards taking personal responsibility for the consequences of our wanderlust and often, our neglect with how to travel sustainably. So what can we do?
Here is Everything You Need to Get Started on How To Travel Sustainably
1 – Give your money to the good guys.
Imagine you find out that the hotel where you are staying, uses thousands of single-use plastics every day, generates food waste regularly and don’t care about resources like water, petrol and energy? Well, sadly this happens in almost all the big chains. And let’s face it, it is more satisfying spending your holidays in a beautiful and cozy accommodation family-owned by locals.
Locals know how to treat their land, protect the place where they always lived and will give you good advice on how to explore the area, especially in Australia!
When it comes to tours and activities, the same thing happens. Small businesses usually offer unique experiences that sometimes may cost a little bit more, but they are totally worth it.
Explore the local markets, for gifts and souvenirs try to purchase arts and crafts made by locals artisans and support the community. The feeling is amazing!
2 – Learn and pass knowledge.
Whenever you travel, seize the opportunity to learn new things like history, nature, wildlife and cultural heritage. This helps to promote a more sustainable tourism industry, where the owners of our favourite places, like Aboriginal people or local communities, can teach us how to take care of their homes.
We get it, you are on holidays and you deserve a drink by the pool and have fun! But that doesn’t mean you can´t learn from a local guide while you enjoy an outdoor activity.
3 – Be original
This pandemic gave a good rest to some over visited places. Overtourism occurs all over the world and wildlife suffers the most. It is very rewarding to visit not so popular places, more exciting and special, where pictures and videos look equally awesome!
There are stunning isolated islands in The Whitsundays, wild and fresh creeks on Fraser Island, and secret beaches on the East Coast that will give you that feeling of a real and unique adventure.
4 – You are a visitor, act like one
Remember you are in someone else home and you should take care of it as it was your own. So remember not to feed any animal and taking all your rubbish with you.
Always try to ask locals how the recycling system is and of course, avoid single-use plastics. It is such a common mistake to forget your water bottle and end up buying a plastic one at the closest shop before heading to your tour. So look back on your package essentials list and add a good water bottle, a coffee cup for your takeaways, a food container, reef-friendly sunscreen and bathroom essentials made of bamboo.
5 – Transport, the key point
Our last tip focuses on transportation and how you choose to move during your holidays. This is one of the most important things if you want to reduce your carbon footprint while travelling.
If you are going on holidays with friends or family, consider using as fewer cars as possible, taking the bus, train or riding around on bikes!
So if you are becoming mindful of how to travel sustainably, you’ll notice that this can actually take you to more authentic travel spots, you’ll always be on the front line of the war against plastic and the world will be that little bit better off because of it!