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Eco-Conscious Travel Practices for Your Next Trip in 2024

"Be the change you want to see in the world," said Gandhi. And if you are traveling across this planet, even more reason to make a positive impact along your journey.

A person enjoying a view of the ocean with a sunset.

by Sylvia Marie

5 de dic de 2023

When exactly will be the moment that we as a whole understand that it is time to make a change in how we experience the world? I’m not entirely optimistic that it will be any time soon but until then, I know that I can be responsible for how I impact our planet and so can you.

Here are some ways we can travel more responsibly:

1. Reduce plastic use:

The easiest sustainable practice you can do for the planet—and your wallet—is to travel with a good reusable water bottle, utensils, and cloth shopping bags. For every country I visit, when I buy food from a market, some of the first words I learn are “no bags please” and I show my cloth bags.
Be sure to carry a small water filter with you depending on where you are exploring.

2. Walk, cycle, or use public transportation:

The best way to get to know a new place is to walk around aimlessly and get lost in it. If walking is not for you, consider renting a bike or using public transportation. Many cities around the world have efficient and accessible public transportation systems that not only reduce your carbon footprint but also give you a local perspective on daily life.

3. Support local shops:

Exploring local markets and supporting small businesses is a great way to immerse yourself in the culture of a destination. Purchase souvenirs, crafts, and products from local artisans rather than opting for mass-produced items. This not only helps the local economy but also ensures that your travel memories come with a unique, authentic touch.

4. You don’t need to buy new things:

If you need to purchase something, consider alternative options like online platforms for second-hand items or explore local thrift shops. Participate in exchange programs or repair services for your belongings. This not only reduces waste but also promotes a sustainable and circular economy. On the flip side, if you want to get rid of something, offer it to a local or find a donation center near you.

5. Buy long-lasting durable & multifunctional things:

Investing in quality, durable, and multifunctional items not only saves you money in the long run but also minimizes the need for constant replacements. Choose products that serve multiple purposes and are designed to withstand the test of time, reducing the overall environmental impact of your possessions. I use an insulated water bottle that keeps my water cool and doubles as a recipient for my hot tea.

6. Encourage others by gifting them a reusable item:

Spread the sustainability message by gifting reusable items to friends and fellow travelers. Whether it's a reusable water bottle, a set of eco-friendly utensils, or a compact shopping bag, these gifts not only demonstrate your commitment to the environment but also encourage others to adopt eco-friendly practices.

7. Volunteer at sustainable projects:

Give back to the communities you visit by volunteering at sustainable projects. Engage in activities that contribute positively to the local environment, wildlife conservation, or community development. Many organizations welcome travelers who are willing to dedicate their time and skills to make a meaningful impact. Workaway is one of our favorite websites for this purpose. Use this link to get an extra free month added to your membership.

8. If you care, do something about it:

Last year, my boyfriend and I were at a beach in Ecuador and we were shocked at how much garbage was lying around on the sand. We grabbed some large bags and walked along the beach for a couple of hours picking up all the garbage we found. We even made a friend while doing it who got inspired and joined us. As we were doing this, we noticed a few locals picking up some litter around them and coming to bring it into our garbage bag. At least for that moment, it sparked a little bit of awareness in the locals at that beach.

In conclusion

As we traverse this beautiful planet, it's imperative to acknowledge the profound impact our choices can have on the environment and local communities. By adopting a mindful and responsible approach to travel, we not only enrich our personal experiences but also contribute to the well-being of the places we explore.

Remember, the essence of travel lies not just in the destinations we reach but in the responsible journey we undertake along the way.

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