Guest post from Kacey Bradley, the lifestyle and travel blogger for The Drifter Collective, an eclectic lifestyle blog that expresses various forms of style through the influence of culture and the world around us.
Traveling is certainly something that everyone should experience. But too often we don’t think about the consequences traveling has on our planet and the localities we’re visiting. Sustainable and ethical travel aims to change that. Try to take these things into consideration the next time you’re planning a trip.
What Is Sustainable Travel?
Tourism can seriously impact the environment, natural resources and the local wildlife of the places we’re visiting. Sustainable travel is about trying to minimize that impact. On the ethical side of things, it’s also important to watch how we impact the locals and the culture of these places. It’s about preservation of Earth’s wonders and unique cultures and customs so that they can continue for generations to come.
In the age of jet planes and constant connectivity, the world is becoming a smaller place. Culture is being erased and the constant trips of airplanes are wreaking havoc on our atmosphere. Beautiful wonders of the world that people dream about visiting are disappearing due to unsustainable travel and carelessness. And people are finally noticing.
1. Minimize Your Flight Impact
Air travel does some serious damage to the atmosphere. Never fly any farther than you need to, even though a quick stop in a new city sounds fun. In addition, try to fly carbon neutral. It involves paying a little extra, but the money goes toward helping offset the impacts of air travel on the planet. You may not be able to avoid flying to your destination, but you can at least feel a bit better about it.
2. Stay In An Eco-Friendly Hotel
You may not think of a hotel having much impact on the environment, but they can. They use a ton of water and electricity, while generating a large amount of waste as well. Eco-friendly hotels aim to cut back their impact on the environment, while still giving you a comfortable place to stay. They’re built sustainably and often use green methods like using rainwater for the water supply or having a compost pit for waste.
3. Try Backpacking
Instead of staying in even an eco-friendly hotel, a backpacking trip can really minimize your environmental impact – especially if you follow the Leave No Trace policy. Their guidelines help you ensure that you leave behind nothing but footprints, as well as not taking anything that shouldn’t be removed from its natural spot. Plus, what better way to really immerse yourself in nature?
4. Look For Sustainable Companies
Instead of going for whatever is popular, do your research to find companies that are committed to being sustainable. Cruises have one of the worst impacts on the environment, but the Red and White Fleet is committed to updating its boats to reduce their toll. AndBeyond offers safaris and adventures, where they pledge to care for the native land, wildlife and people, ensuring that tourism doesn’t bring harm to them.
5. Get Involved With Local Culture
Don’t become the stereotype of a terrible traveler that only wants people to speak English and refuses to eat anywhere but large chain restaurants. Try to learn some of the language of the place you’re visiting. Locals will appreciate the effort and it may lead to some new friends! Locals are your best resource when you’re visiting. They’ll know the best places to eat and drink, as well as some must-see attractions that aren’t in that guidebook you brought.
Eating in their restaurants also helps bring money and wealth to the local economy, instead of funneling it back into big businesses. Ethical travel involves accepting the culture and embracing it instead of fighting it. Let locals show you their world and your experience will be all the richer for it.
6. Volunteer While You're Visiting
One of the best ways to give back to minimize the impact of your travel is to volunteer in the destination you’ll be visiting. Too often tourism involves people coming in, making a mess and then leaving it for others to clean up. Take a trip to an amazing destination and do some good while you’re there.
There are some amazing programs, like working with sea turtles in Costa Rica, or helping conserve and restore Machu Picchu. Take your passion for traveling and mix it with giving back and helping to make sure other people can see the beauty of these places.
Traveling ethically and sustainably doesn’t really take a huge amount of effort. As long as you plan it out and do your research, you don’t have to feel as guilty about the impact of your travel plans. Be the traveler that every local love and wants to welcome back.
By Kacey Bradley
Kacey Bradley is the lifestyle and travel blogger for The Drifter Collective, an eclectic lifestyle blog that expresses various forms of style through the influence of culture and the world around us. Kacey graduated with a degree in Communications while working for a lifestyle magazine. She has been able to fully embrace herself with the knowledge of nature, the power of exploring other locations and cultures, all while portraying her love for the world around her through her visually pleasing, culturally embracing and inspiring posts. Along with writing for her blog, she frequently writes for sites like US Travel News, Thought Catalog, Style Me Pretty, Tripping.com and more!
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