According to the United Nations World Tourism Organization, more than one billion international tourists travel the world each year. Tourism has become a powerful and transformative force for many millions of people. But all this travel is not as positive for the planet. To that end, the luxury travel network Virtuoso assembled a short, simple list everyone can follow to reduce the environmental impact of their travel.
The first tip is to stay at hotels that have green practices, such as recycling, LED lighting, renewable energy systems, composting – just to name a few. These green initiatives are often highlighted on the hotels’ websites or you can ask about them when booking.
Secondly, travel with a reusable shopping bag. Avoiding disposable bags when buying groceries or souvenirs is a great way to not contribute to plastics pollution, a significant problem in many parts of the world. Locals will thank you as well as this saves them money.
Thirdly, carry a reusable water bottle – ideally with a filter – and say no to bottled water whenever possible. Bottled water is widely available, convenient, and cheap, but the environment pays a price. In the United States alone, we toss out 35 billion plastic water bottles every year. And since it takes anywhere from 500-1,000 years to break down, the debris winds up clogging landfills and polluting oceans.
The fourth tip is to green your transportation. Choose a nonstop flight if possible. If you need a rental car, choose a fuel-efficient option. And walk or bike whenever possible.
And finally, eat local. Enjoying meals produced with local ingredients means fewer fossil fuels were expended because they didn’t travel far to reach your plate.
2017 International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development
Photo, posted April 16, 2015, courtesy of Eric Salard via Flickr.
‘Making Vacations Greener’ from Earth Wise is a production of WAMC Northeast Public Radio.