Traveling is one of my passions, I love being on the road discovering new things, meeting new people and immersing myself in other cultures. After traveling around the world twice in my twenties and exploring Europe, Australia, South and Central America, I realized the importance of slow travel. Ultimately, the experience of being in untouched nature inspires me the most and slow travel allows me enough time for reflection. I am passionate about exploring new environments, keeping it clean and learning how to live lightly. Here are 5 Eco-friendly travel tips for your next adventure.
Go Off the Grid
Escape to nature. Skip the hustle of bustle of fast paced urban environments and instead head to the beach, the countryside or the mountains for some time to connect in nature. Scientifically it has been proven that time in nature is good for mental clarity, stress reduction and physical well being (read more here). The more connected we are to the environment the more we treasure it.
Eat, Drink, Be Merry & Sit Down
Part of travel is enjoying local cuisine. If you are eating out, instead of grabbing something on the go, why not sit, relax and enjoy a delicious meal. Connecting with the people who serve the food, asking where it came from, discovering local ingredients can be half the fun. I believe the reason food tastes better in Italy is because all the ingredients are sourced locally and the people are incredibly proud to share their table, food and stories.
Ditch the Plastic
Unless you want your next adventure to be sitting on a white sand beach surrounded by plastic bottles, stop using them. There is so much single use plastic items in our oceans which is having a negative impact on ocean ecosystems. Plastic straws are an unnecessary convenience with a big impact. In Bali, Indonesia, 130 local businesses have created ‘The Last Straw Campaign’, stopping over 1 million straws from being dumped in the ocean. They used bamboo (re-usable and compostable) or metal straws. Simply, ask for no straw on your next vacation. If you are traveling in a place where it is inadvisable to drink the water, bring your own bottle. Buy the bigger 1 liter bottle and then refill your bottle at home, it maybe a small gesture, but every bottle that is not in circulation helps the ocean.
Whether you choose to use a local tour operator or eat in local restaurants, spending your dollars at local business helps support the local economy. A thriving local economy in turn creates sustainable tourism opportunities which helps people increase their standard of living. Traveling is experiential, while we create memories some people like to take something home. Don’t wait and buy some tacky tee shirt at the airport or end up with a made-in china replica of a local artisan craft. Go to the local market and speak to the people, they will tell you how items are made, where the materials are sourced and the local significance. Lastly, buying items locally is better for the environment because there is little to no transportation costs.
Before you set off on your adventure do a little research. Find out if there is a local volunteer organization in the area that you can volunteer to help. There are tons of cool Eco-tourism opportunities where you can get your hands dirty (literally). It will allow you to get to know some locals, have a truly unique experience and do some good.
Always remember when you are traveling you are an ambassador for the world. Your actions speak louder than your words. Try to leave as little impact as you can and if you see garbage pick it up, it’s a small gesture to show locals you care.
We are all busy, however, the importance of adopting a slow travel mentality is important to people, the environment and the experience. On every trip, I remember to be conscious, try and engage with the local culture, use my actions and my wallet to support the community and commit to protecting the environment while minimizing my impact. Happy travels!
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