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4 Ways To Be An Eco-Smart Traveller

While travelling should be a fun experience, it’s important to recognise the impact your journey can have on our planet. 

Tourists have been known to devastate natural wonders just due to the sheer numbers of people visiting, and planes are definitely not the most energy-efficient mode of transportation. With the climate emergency worsening by the week, you can do your bit by planning to be a bit more eco-conscious next time you travel.

1. Offset Your Trip

Most airlines now offer the option to carbon offset your flight for a small amount extra. If you’re in a position to afford it, choosing to do this is a really simple way to give back to the earth. Similarly, other parts of your trip may offer the option to pay extra to help offset your experience. For example, Byron Bay’s Splendour In The Grass offers a ‘Green Offset’ option with each of the tickets they sell. For just an extra $3, punters can help invest in environmental initiatives for the local region, such as a solar panel program. Intrepid Travel also offers trips that include a carbon offset cost in the total price. You can see how much carbon a trip emits, and how much is offset by Intrepid, on every trip booking page.

2. Reuse Things

Please, please, use your towels more than once. Although many hotels in Australia and America already encourage guests to do this, it’s really just a no-brainer even if the hotel doesn’t request it. You don’t wash your towel after every use at home, so why would you do it elsewhere? If the hotel doesn’t have a policy about where you should put towels and sheets that you don’t want to be washed, write a note, or use the ‘do not disturb’ sign for a few days. Similarly, try to use reusable bags while travelling rather than plastic bags. Not all countries are phasing plastic bags out like Australia is, so you may need to bring your own bag from home. Within reason, also try to carry a reusable water bottle instead of buying loads of disposable ones. In countries where tap water isn’t drinkable, buy a large bottle of water to refill your bottle, rather than lots of small bottles.

3. Stay On The Path

You know the saying “take nothing but photographs and leave nothing but footprints”? While it’s always a good adage to follow, it’s super important in a lot of delicate natural areas of the world. It’s also a good idea to follow this rule in more urban areas that are being overrun by tourists, to allow the locals to live their lives in peace.

4. Plan Your Travel

Sounds like a no brainer, but planning your trip can help ease the burden on areas that are feeling the stress of increased tourist numbers. Instead of heading over to the latest Instagram hotspot, why not try visiting a lesser-known area? There are loads of underrated cities across the world that will be happy to have your money going into their local economy. It can also be good to visit areas that are recovering from an economic shock e.g. where a natural disaster has struck recently. Of course, research is essential – you don’t want to be bringing more pressure with you to a town that cannot handle it.

If possible, also try to take road transport over air transport. Particularly in places like Europe where everything is so close together, driving or getting the bus between countries can be a great way to discover new places. While it’s not a completely environmentally friendly way to travel, it’s much better for the earth than taking a short flight.

This article first appeared on Blitz UNSW. The full article can be found here.

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