Green travel, ecotourism, sustainable tourism, it is about the same issues, just with different names. The heart of the matter of green travel is about the importance of protecting nature and culture. When you travel, be conscious about the natural and cultural environment. Respect wild life and other natural resources, respect the way people live their lives and their culture, be aware of their social norms and do your best to adapt to their rules when you are visiting, and do your best to contribute to the local communities to help them develop further to help themselves. Remember that even though the culture may be different from yours, and you do not agree with their ways of living, adapting to the local culture does not necessarily mean that you agree upon everything – it simply shows that you are able to show respect for the diversity of the world.
Toursim gone wrong
There are so many examples of tourism gone wrong, where local societies lost their uniqueness to mass tourism. It has changed from what people used to call a hidden gem, to a party village or a small town without its own character. At this point, tourists and travelers avoid the place, and start looking for new hidden gems. That is why we should travel consciously, and encourage the growth of local culture and support local business rather than large, international travel businesses.
Reduce your carbon footprint
I do take a flight when I go traveling to get to my destination. Once I am there, I try as much as possible to use local and public transport on the ground. In many parts of the world the comfort will be something else than you are used to, but I promise you that a 16 hour bus trip in the rural parts of Africa is quite an experience! Some places, you will even find comfy buses!
Book local and environmental friendly
If you like to plan your trip try to find local tour operators, and book your trip with them. Stay at local hotels and guest houses, rather than large international hotel chains. Does the hotel do anything for the environment? Does the hotel contribute to local development or environmental projects? With internet, it is possible to find local operators online in most parts of the world. If you are comfortable with no planning, some of my best travel experiences have come from the surprise of the moment. Be open to stay with local families who offer you a shelter, you may make friends for life!
Reduce the intake of meat and fish, and include more green and environmental friendly food in your diet. Try to buy food and other items that are produced locally. Buy your vegetables in the local farmers market directly from the producer, or ask in the supermarket where they get their veggies from. Explore the local options instead of choosing the brands that are imported. Dine at restaurants with locally sourced ingredients. You will not only save the environment, you will also support the local business, which is extremely vulnerable in many developing countries.
Walk or bicycle
When you explore a new place, or use public transport. Try to avoid renting your private vehicle, if you can use more environmental friendly transport. When you walk or use the same kind of transportation as the locals, you get closer to them, and you will easily get in touch with people and get a glimpse of their everyday life. You may even be fortunate and get an invitation to their homes!
Hiking, camping and safari
Respect nature and do not destroy the vegetation. Use guides and tour operators who are conscious about the environment and respect or take part in conservation project. Stay in marked camp sites only, and leave nothing but foot prints. To observe the animals in the wild is a great gift, and we should not disturb this natural environment.
Other contributions to a greener travel style:
– use water sparingly
– in countries where you can drink the tap water, carry a re-usable bottle and fill it from the tap instead of buying new bottles of water.
– always turn off lights when you leave your accommodation
– do not take brochures and maps unless you are going to use them (I have collected so much paper that went straight to waste on my travels!!!)
– do not throw away usable items because you don´t need it anymore. Leave it in the room, and be sure that someone will be happy to use it
What are your best tips for a greener travel style?
I´m an Oslo based web publisher with passion for communication, travel and a green lifestyle. When I travel, I prefer to go slow, sustainable, and “live like a local”. Why slow? It is about challenging the cult of speed, and to enjoy the small things in life and to live in the present.