We’re always told to fly less and take the train where possible, but what in-resort behaviors could also help the local environment and community? We look at some simple actions to take below…

Use Local Suppliers 

From booking tour guides to staying in locally-owned accommodation, engaging with communities ensures that your money remains in the surrounding economy rather than causing ‘leakage’ (when revenue actually goes to foreign-owned businesses). The added bonus? You’ll get a more authentic feel for your destination too. 

Hold off on the laundry

Most hotels now have linen policies that encourage guests to keep their towels for more than one use in an effort to save water and prolong the life of each item. Some are going further, stripping back the daily housekeeping service because of its use of chemicals and precious resources. Wherever you are and whatever the local policy, be mindful of the environment and ensure that you’re not over-using important commodities.

Pack Reusable Shopping Bags

Much like a reusable water bottle, a cloth shopping bag significantly reduces single-use plastic waste. In many countries, the problem of plastic bags stretches into the sea, where they hinder or harm wildlife: in the USA alone, around 325 billion of these bags end up in the water every year but it’s estimated they can take up to 1,000 years to break down. Avoid contributing to the problem by keeping a bag in your luggage that you can use wherever you go.

Use Public Transport

Not only does it help prevent harmful pollution, it’s also a fast-track to experiencing life like a local. From Tokyo’s crowded subways to the minibusses of La Paz via Zurich’s lake-skimming ferries, they’re the cheapest and often most evocative way of getting around too. 

Watch your food miles

That wagyu beef in the Maldives may sound delicious, but it’s definitely not the most environmentally-sound menu choice. The transportation of food accounts for around six per cent of global emissions according to research by the University of Sydney. Eating local, seasonal produce will stop you playing a significant part. Other food pitfalls to be aware of?   Fish from unsustainable sources and too much polluting meat. 

Get a ‘vacation wardrobe’ – for life

The concept of a whole suitcase of clothing purchased solely for a vacation needs rethinking because fast-fashion is so environmentally damaging. Instead, borrow items you’re unlikely to use again (such as ski wear) and invest in solid, sturdy items you can keep forever (such as walking boots or outdoor jackets).  

Check your hotel’s eco-credentials

Sadly, greenwashing is a reality in the hotel industry. If you’re serious about vacationing sustainably, look for robust eco-friendly policies – from local reforestation projects to wastewater use, renewable energy sources and thorough recycling schemes. Ask for a copy of your chosen hotels responsible tourism policy, or look out for respected eco-certifications such as Green Key Global or B Corp.

Practice Responsible Wildlife Tourism

Be mindful when engaging with the local wildlife. In Australia, for example, many tour operators offer experiences with kangaroos and koalas. While seemingly harmless, these encounters can stress the animals and disrupt their natural behavior. Always ensure that your activities adhere to local and international wildlife protection standards.

Get in touch with Travel Leaders 365 to find out more.

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