How can we plan more eco travels and travel more sustainably? This is a question many eco-minded people ask themselves; whether they are interested in simply sustainable travel, or want to embrace eco travels?
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What Is Sustainable Travel?
It’s hard to not get bogged down in definitions when you begin to look at sustainable travel. Even the associated areas of responsible travel or even eco travels. Here we are going to try to break it down to how we interpret it. Which is hopefully fairly simple for fellow travelers.
Sustainability, as a concept, goes back some 30 years to the Brundltland convention. They defined sustainable as “living today for future generations”.
In our life, we quite simply define sustainability as “living in our means with consideration for the future of our planet”.
Sustainable travel is, for us, economic decisions considering the future of the planet. It means being aware of your impact and making decisions to minimize that impact.
Honestly, probably the most sustainable way to approach travel is to holiday close to home, in an eco-friendly way. However, you are reading this because you want to learn how to travel sustainably. So, here are our tips for eco travels and to travel consciously!
Tips for Eco Travels & Sustainable Travel
1. Live, and travel within your means. See that wonderful holiday advertised for a quarter of the price but to do it you will have to max out your credit cards? Then don’t do it!
2. Consider the types of travel you do. Cruise lines and resort package holidays are notoriously not sustainable for the environment. If you enjoy this type of travel, do your research and support companies that have an environmental policy.
3. Look for eco-friendly hotels and research where you are staying. Check that they have a sustainability policy.
Do they recycle? Do they support local people, do they have fair labor laws? Even if they don’t tick all their boxes, your questions might prompt them to consider these options. Look for certification like Rainforest Alliance, Ecotourism Australia, Green Globe 21, Sustainable Travel International.
4. Eco travels and sustainable style lodges and accommodation are often boutique, high-end, or even luxury establishments. We understand that not everyone can afford this type of travel. If not, go back to option 3 and try to find places that fit your budget and have some kind of sustainability policy. Make sure you TELL the companies you are considering it in your decision-making process.
5. Offset your flights. Again, this can be an expensive exercise especially if you are traveling as a budget traveler. Well, if you can’t afford offsetting, then consider planting some trees.
6. If you have a choice, choose non-stop flights as it is taking off and landing which use lower carbon emissions.
7. When you are traveling take shorter showers, turn off the AC/Heating, and lights when you leave the room. Make sure you hang your towels, a universal sign that you wish to reuse them again.
8. When you are in local places consider your impact on the environment as tourist. Travel with the intention to “do good”. This is a topic we cover in detail in our post How to be a Responsible Traveler – For Families.
9. Finally, we are all about living in a more minimal way. So we aren’t advocating buying more stuff, but there are some eco-friendly products out there that can help minimize your impact. Check out our post on Eco Friendly Travel Products here.
What Is Our Experience To Write This Article?
Ariana, our mama traveler is the co-founder of Apus Peru Adventure Travel Specialists, based in Cusco, Peru. Apus Peru is a responsible, sustainable, and ethical travel agency. Ariana has grappled with these concepts for over 10 years, especially how to put words and ideas into tangible action. In addition to this business was Rainforest Alliance verified. An interesting process and illuminating at how profoundly sustainability can be explored.
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