The summer holidays are around the corner and it’s time to explore a new destination. Travelling, Holiday, Relaxation … are a few of the best-loved words, or are they? When we think of that well deserved, absolutely needed, break from our daily routines and responsibilities What are the priorities? Definitely, you need to measure the experience, the cost, the distance -which determines means of transportation, the accommodation, and all recreational activities as a family or as a solo traveler. We want to show you that you can add to your list of priorities the care of the environment with just a little thought when organizing your next trip. So, where are we off next?
WHAT IS SUSTAINABLE TRAVEL?
Sustainable travel means finding ways to travel respecting nature and the environment or at least trying to minimize the footprint we might cause. It’s time to consider the impact we have on a global level -for example when we choose to fly, which is considered to be the quickest mode of transport; although, it has been proven to cause harmful emissions to the planet.
If the distance allows, try other means of transportation like electric trains or electric car-sharing. They are noise-free with zero-emissions. And when looking for short distance journeys, you might want to consider bicycles. They are healthy and fun, good for every member of the family. They’re also a great way to take in all the sights at your own pace and to experience the nature of the environment.
We also want to bring you a new concept: Slow Travel. Yep! Same as with Slow Fashion, there is a Slow Travel movement. Instead of focusing on the urgency and the time it takes to arrive at your destination, why not experience going to fewer places and spending more time in each location to relax and get to know the place? Slow travel really is about immersing yourself in the experience of traveling. It’s not just about looking at tourist destinations, but how we enjoy them. It’s about getting to know the culture of the place and the local people. The food, the history, their vision, their ways… You learn so much when you visit with time and an open mind.
SUSTAINABLE TRAVEL ON A BUDGET?
If you are on a budget but still want to travel, there are options for almost every pocket. For example, maybe you can consider traveling in your own country and get to know nearby regions, which is called inland tourism. Why not try a new experience and be pleasantly surprised by exploring unfamiliar terrain in a familiar area?
For families, a hotel room is not always ideal. The option of Airbnb is cost-effective, provides privacy, space and comfort. It also encourages integration with the locals, supporting local businesses, by shopping in supermarkets for food supplies. In the evenings, check out the restaurants for local food. You’ll find more diverse and less restrictive options than the all-inclusive packages provided by some hotels. If you are a solo traveler on a budget you can check if options as Couch Surfer are available at your destination.
Also, you can visit rural areas and stay in the pleasant village houses surrounded by orchards and nature and with the possibility to learn how things used to get done the traditional way. If you are going to Spain, check this website with Rural houses or the tranquil rural accommodation of our friend Marta Garrido in Extremadura close to plenty of ancient Roman sites and beautiful landscapes.
WHY IS SUSTAINABLE TOURISM IMPORTANT?
With the increase of pollution and global warming, it is imperative that we take responsibility and look after the planet and think in-depth about travel choices and plans. With Sustainable Travel you can broaden the options minimizing the impact on the environment and still have that relaxing fun holiday hopefully, with great weather. Let’s encourage this diverse style of travel and support the countries that are investing in Sustainable Tourism. It’s a win-win situation for all!
TIPS & TRICKS TO BE SUSTAINABLE WHILE TRAVELING
There are some tips that can help you to take that first step towards a more Sustainable Tourism:
- Slow down and take more time to go deeper into the culture and history of the places you choose to visit.
- Get to know the locals and respect their way of doing things. Ask them how they perceive tourism, how it affects or benefits them. Find out what you could do to minimize your impact.
- Use public transportation or other more environmentally friendly options such as car-sharing or bicycles.
- If you stay at a hotel, please do not ask the staff to wash your towels or bed sheets until it is really necessary. The chemicals used are highly polluting of water and air, in addition to the huge amount of water required.
- Carry a bottle of water and reusable cutlery and always ask for your beverage without a straw. When possible, avoid throwaway packaging. In many parts of the world it is not possible to drink tap water, but bring your own bottle and refill from water sources when possible. Another alternative is to buy bigger bottles and refill from that one your own carry-around bottle.
- Respect ecosystems. It is very tempting to take a selfie with animals, for instance, but remember that most of the time simply our presence may cause them stress. Leave nothing but a good impression behind. Always collect your garbage and if you can, make sure you leave the place cleaner than when you arrived. Yep! That means collecting someone else’s garbage too.
- We tend to be more conscious when we are at home. Keep in mind that in a global world, what you do on the other side of the world will definitely affect you sooner or later. Have you ever heard of the Butterfly effect?
- Purchase goods from small and local businesses. You will be helping their economy.
WE COUNT ON YOU
With all this said, I think you have more tools and resources to enjoy your next holidays in a more sustainable way. And remember, it is not about being “perfectly” sustainable. For us, every little bit, counts and we appreciate enormously all your efforts.
Now it is your turn. Tell us, what do you do to be eco while traveling? Where did you go on your holidays? What places or initiatives you recommend to the rest of the community? Looking forward to knowing your thoughts!
Wishing you all a sustainable and safe journey!