Sustainable tourism refers to travel that preserves the environment, respects local culture and promotes economic development in the local community. While it may seem like you’re sacrificing fun when you travel constantly, there are plenty of ways to have fun and be respectful and responsible at the same time. Whether you’re heading to a black sand beach or just going on an exciting Euro-trip, this guide will teach you how to balance beauty and stillness while being a tourist.
Research what this means for every place you visit
The first step is research. For each place you plan to visit, research what this means for that location. Find out how they want to treat you and whether it’s okay to dump your trash in local bins, or whether it’s better for you to bring all your trash back home with you. Some places are tougher than others, so find out ahead of time what measures you need to take. And make sure your trash ends up where it needs to be. This is an easy way for tourists or people arriving from distant places (often called wasters) who do not respect the environmental norms of other countries, can actually harm their environment – such as accidental aggressively transferring invasive species.
Find out what’s in your budget
Before you travel, it is important to know how much money you are able to spend. While many people assume that once they get there, they’ll have plenty of time to figure out where they’ll live or what they’ll eat, few things actually work out so smoothly. Make sure you have money set aside for at least one night at the hotel, if possible (if not, make sure you save some money), as well as food and transportation costs. This ensures that even if your housing options are limited or your plans change, you won’t be scrambling for cash. Being aware of your budget also ensures that you do not make hasty decisions that are not very sustainable. If you have a big budget then you can also opt for eco-friendly accommodation.
If you are traveling by plane, car or train, you are bound to make some carbon emissions. You can offset those emissions by making your travel more efficient. For example, flying is one of the most carbon-intensive ways to travel, but if you keep your flight less than 3 hours you can earn credits for choosing eco-friendly hotels later in your trip. Or, consider carpooling with friends or buying a carbon offset after your trip to help balance out any high-emissions parts of your trip.
The most sustainable way to travel is to visit places that are nearby, but there’s no point traveling cross-country if you only have a few days. The best thing you can do is to plan your trip weeks in advance so that you can take advantage of cheap flights or even drive with friends. If you’re planning on renting a car and flying internationally, make sure you shop around for deals; Some credit cards offer substantial travel miles for new customers, which can save hundreds on plane tickets. Although travel does cause emissions (how much will depend on how far your destination is), it may not be worse than staying home or driving somewhere nearby.
Do not shop for, resale, trade or freecycle clothing
One of the biggest environmental issues affecting tourism centers on garbage and litter in particular around clothing. If you go to a city, be respectful enough to follow its rules. If the place you’re visiting doesn’t have a trash can, don’t leave your trash in an open area. Honor your host country by packing everything you bring – including water bottles, cans, food scraps, cigarette butts (please smoke responsibly), plastic bags, and more.
respect local rules
One of the most important things any traveler can do is to respect local regulations. The specific laws of the country or region you are visiting may be different from your home country, so it is essential to do research before you leave. The laws that seem silly in your hometown can have a very real effect on you while traveling. And if you’re traveling as a tourist rather than an immigrant or migrant worker, strange-sounding laws may not apply at all (even though immigration status varies widely around the world). In many cases, respecting local customs can also make for a better trip.
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