One of the most healthily growing trends we are seeing, along with the health and wellness industry, is for eco-friendly travel. Travel that benefits the health and wellness of our planet. A more sustainable type of tourism or travel that aims to care for the planet (not damage it!) is on the up, and with it, the industry is responding.
Purpose-focused companies have sprung up to meet the needs of the eco-conscious traveller. You can choose from green holiday providers, unforgettable experiences volunteering or supporting nature reserves, community projects, or just eating out locally at your destination. Something as simple as taking the time to explore your surroundings with the local train connections available can cut down on your emissions by a third.
What is the greenest form of transport?
This brings us straight on to…what form is the very ‘greenest’ form of transport? A heavily debated question, often unfairly lobbied by transport conglomerates. The answer will also depend on what infrastructure is available to you, and what it runs on. The easy answer is that flights (especially long haul) come out on top, however, there are many small steps you can take to reduce your impact, if even partially. Offsets have become a ‘dirty word’ recently but identifying reputable providers and projects can bring crucial support to wildlife rehabilitation projects around the world. Choosing to support certified eco-projects can make a difference, even those offered through online booking engines, and is preferable to no action taken. You can even try to convince your employer to switch to a corporate travel provider, like budding startup Goodwings.
We have some sustainable transport ideas to choose from:
- Hop on the bus. Increasing the use of public transport is the answer to removing gridlocks from cities, and fume-filled highways that are nose-to-tail with single-occupant vehicles, stacked up for miles.
- Train yourself to make the switch. Taking the train can, once again, cut down on your car or flight emissions, which are known to be significantly more polluting in proportion to train travel (OWID, 2018).
- Get on ‘yer bike. The classic two-wheeled bicycle that many of us learned in childhood (or any other non-motorised transport for that matter!), is a fantastic answer to the sustainable transport issue. Where possible using it to complete short journeys, can be great news for your cardiovascular health, deliver some endorphins and cut down on vehicle emissions all in one go.
Eco-friendly travel tips
For many seasoned eco-travellers, a trusty reusable travel set is a ‘given’. However, eco-travel tips are forgotten on the run-up to a trip, things that will inevitably make our life a little easier, and our carbon footprint a little smaller. An easy start is to invest in a quality travel set, like Eco Travel Set, that you can refill with your favourite products, again and again. Not only that, but you can avoid those temptingly tiny travel miniatures, fun-size versions displayed invitingly next to the check-out. These single-use-intended products have a short lifespan, are challenging to refill, and often end up being disposed of in hotel bathrooms, with no hope of being recycled. Try packing a reusable water bottle or travel mug while you are at it, and you will have removed many more troublesome items from the waste stream.
Most eco-friendly places to travel on earth
When packing for our travels so sustainably, it seems only right that we should be visiting some of the eco-friendly places there are on our shared earth. Visiting less heavily touristed areas, or visiting off-season can also help make the tourist industry a little more forgiving for hot-spot destinations, and support local businesses during quiet periods. Taking part in, or supporting local initiatives, can also help keep our pristine nature locations looking magical for the foreseeable future. As the world is waking up to the effects of over-tourism and lack of protection for natural areas, we are seeing change being enacted by local governments around the world; for example, Hawaii banned the sale of reef-toxic sunscreens, Palau protected 80% of its waters, and Barcelona cracked down on illegal vacation rentals. For more eco-friendly travel ideas, check out the top eco-friendly cities in the world to help plan your next trip.
Written by Cicely Sinclair