According to the World Travel and Tourism Council, the travel industry grants around 313 million of the jobs in the world. While traveling has been a major attraction for people around the world, it creates humongous voids on the destinations. From visitors’ sightseeing to leaving their collateral damage to the cities, travel sometimes can lose sustainability.
Well, there’s no second thought about the dollars generated from traveling or the expenses counted while moving nationally or internationally. It all surely comes with a price. Travel has its very own environmental and social cost. Nonetheless, you can surely adopt small habits that might make the UN’s sustainable tourism for development initiative a success.
From now on when you travel, keep these five points in mind:
1. Go vocal for local
As we all like to continue our lavish lifestyle even when we are moving to different cities, we opt to ignore the local economy. But how many of us remember that we are traveling to the city because the local people and their local lifestyle are making the place stand out? Yes, this is where we are avoiding the fact that we are wrong. We need to start making efforts to buy local items and stay on local residences. As much as we learn that the tourism industry is benefited as we travel, the money actually goes to the large corporates, not the local people. So, it’s better to shop local, eat local and explore as much as you can.
2. Choose transportation wisely
A sustainable trip means traveling in a way that it’s not affecting our environment negatively. Most of us like to book flights but do we know the harm? Using flights leads to more production of carbon. Less of us have to be taught about the negative effects of carbon and the pollution it causes. For international travel, go for a flight that does not have multiple hauls. Instead of flights, book a train or bus or use your very own vehicle. Traveling by bus or train is an easy mode of sightseeing even during the destination and you are not harming the environment.
3. Prevent plastic and food waste
According to National Geographic, around 91% of the plastic is not recycled which means the remaining i.e 9% is recyclable. This is one major hindrance to sustainable travel and tourism. When we carry plastic with us, we are already improving our chances of deteriorating the environment. It is advisable to carry no plastic products while traveling. Instead of plastic bags, rely on paper bags or jute bags. In case you have to carry sanitary pads or diapers, go for disposable bags.
They are easy, degradable and have no altered effect on the eco-system. If you are buying plastic bottles, make sure you throw them in such a way that they can’t be re-used again. While traveling to different cities, make sure you don’t carry extra food or some that you might be throwing around. Remember to use the dustbin always. Preventing plastic and food waste is a huge way to maintain cleanliness and sustainability.
4. Use sustainable travel companies
A major step you can take to travel for good is to use the local and sustainable travel companies instead of the obvious ones. For example, a startup names I Like Local in the Netherlands is structured in a way that it connects with the local travelers and is focused mostly on Kenya. With every travel booking, a local host earns a certain amount of that money which is then used for the beneficiaries of locals.
Another Indian startup NotOnMap is aimed to create a livelihood for marginalized people and built connections with travelers as well. Using companies like these never go in vain. Spending in these tourism companies will never be a waste as our money is gone for the welfare of locals, the culture and preserving the heritage.
5. Pack sustainably
When finally deciding to travel, start packing lightly. Pack clothes in a neat way, take products that are reusable and eco-friendly. When your bag pack is light and you carry it to airways, you will be carefree at the security check. Light luggage means lighter weight and lesser fuel consumption in the flight which definitely is the best way to get sustainable travel. Carry toiletries and cutlery that are bio-degradable. Use essentials that do not use plastic bottles even when it comes to daily essentials such. These little steps might not make a difference to you but it does a lot, seen or unseen.