Think back to 30 years ago. When discussions about travel came up, your most pressing questions may have been which trails to hike
or how to dress for the weather and occasion.
Today, travel questions dive deeper into how we interact with the environment and culture of a new place:
“How do I respect and honour the culture?”
“How can I be a responsible traveller while making the most out of my time away?”
And: “How do I explore the world while not harming it?”
Thankfully, many of the most impactful green tips are also fairly basic and easy to incorporate into travel plans.
Quick Tips To Travel Green This Summer
First and foremost – travel close to home. The smaller your carbon footprint
(think public transportation versus planes), the kinder you’re being to the environment.
It’s tempting to imagine yourself in unexplored terrains, embracing your adventurous side and bringing back stories from places that few others have explored. But, the pleasure of travel is often not in how far you go, but rather in how deep your experiences are.
While many of us have dreams of traveling far and wide, there are boundless opportunities to travel to incredible places right here in North America. Why not travel to a neighbouring state, your own state, or even your own city?
Packing a backpack and grabbing some friends for a ride to the nearest mountain, forest, waterfall, desert, or other unexplored terrains is possible in many parts of North America. Here are some basic tips to practice sustainable living and traveling this year:
- If you're hiking, stay on marked trails, camp only where appropriate (and where campfires are permitted), and dispose of trash or objects that can harm wildlife.
- Join a walking group and take a tour through urban landmarks, or make use of car-pooling and public transportation to explore nearby shores and national parks.
- Bicycling touring is another fun and healthy way of getting around and staying green, with tours offered to vineyards and other fun attractions.
- For visitors who are traveling abroad, and especially those going through Europe, get to know the different landscapes of cities and countries that you’re visiting, and simultaneously cut down on plane fuels by booking a train ticket.
- It seems that every day we hear of new green hospitality companies. Establishments in the hospitality industry can advertise themselves as operating with green practices, but not all self-proclaimed sustainable lodgings practice what they market. Take a close look at the details and check online to see if other travelers can confirm sustainable operations and practices.
- Or, travel more sustainably by couch surfing or staying with friends – neither option uses up as many resources as most hotels do.
- Ever heard of working farms? Working farms offer travelers the opportunity to learn and connect with the land and farming community of new their destination. Frequently, travelers will exchange agricultural labour for food and accommodations.
- Change habits like reusing towels instead of using a new one after each shower when staying in travel accommodations, or recycling and using the compost. Practice general good green hygiene habits: take short showers or turn water and electricity off when you are not using either.
- Another way to be practice sustainability as a traveler? Bite into a juicy apple or peach. Yep, you heard that right. Just make sure whatever produce you eat was sourced locally – your delicious purchase goes back into the local economy.
- Next time you’re on a new adventure, head to a farmer's market and strike a conversation with one of the vendors there – they will most likely be involved at the very core issues of food and sustainability in the area.
Share your travel goals for this summer with us, and let us know your favourite tips for traveling sustainably.
Happy, safe and green travels!