Travelling is a true gift. We get the opportunity to deepen our understanding of other cultures, to see natural beauty we haven’t seen before and to be truly present in the world. Unfortunately, travel can come with quite a footprint. We take carbon guzzling flights, use teeny plastic shampoos and overindulge at buffet dinners with monumental food waste behind the scenes. This is why sustainable travel is so important.
Read: 4 Impacts of Mass Tourism on the Environment
If you are sustainably minded and want to make a positive impact as you travel this mini guide is for you. We have put together some easy little lists to help you practically plan your next adventure.
5 Countries for Sustainable Travel
First off you’ll be wondering where to go. Pull out the dusty globe in the corner or trawl through Google Maps. The world is wide and full of sustainable travel options but there are a few countries that stand out.
- Costa Rica – as much as 26% is made up of national parks, wildlife reserves and protected lands
- Norway – Years of progressive politics have given Norway impressive sustainable policies, heavily regulating grey industries like oil, fishing and hunting, and recently becoming one of four pilot destinations on the Global Sustainable Tourism Council’s model list
- Kenya – the government has banned single-use plastics and all plastic bags, while also supporting the development of eco-lodges and hotels
- New Zealand – 20% of its land is labelled as a national park, forest area or reserve
- Iceland – Iceland is the cleanest energy consumer in the world, taking 75% of its usage from renewable sources
Want to find out more? Here is a more in depth article on the top 10 eco tourism countries.
5 Websites to find Eco Friendly Accommodation
Next, depending on what type of planner you are you might look into accommodation options. These 5 websites have amazing eco friendly options listed on their websites.
- Bookitgreen (only for Europe)
- kind traveler
5 Activities for your Sustainable Trip
So now you’ve got your base you’ll be thinking up what to do (besides lounging in your eco friendly paradise of a hotel)! Here are some easy sustainable travel ideas to get you started:
- Beach cleanups
- Bike tours or walking tours/hiking
- Visit the local market
- Learn about the local culture (museums, eco tours, etc.)
- Volunteer with an NGO
5 Tips to Find an Eco Friendly Dive Center
Diving or snorkelling are great activities to do if you’re an ocean lover! Not all dive centers are created equal! If you want to support an eco friendly dive operator here are some things to look out for.
- Donations – do they donate to charities?
- Reviews – do the reviews mention sustainability?
- Participation in cleanup efforts – do they have cleanups?
- Education – are they educating people on marine conservation?
- Awards or Certifications – look out for sustainable travel awards like Greenfins
Read: What is Greenfins?
5 Sustainable Things to Pack
Finally, as you get ready to pack you can add in some items to lower your plastic and carbon footprint!
- Reusable water bottle
- Reusable bag
- Reef safe sunscreen
- Shampoo & conditioner bars or refillable toiletries
- Portable solar charger
There are so many ways you can get started with sustainable travel but we hope this was a helpful guide to get started. Remember small ripples turn into waves. Enjoy your upcoming travels!
Are you an ocean lover?
Check out our more in depth article: Easy Ways to Protect the Ocean while Travelling