Eco-tourism is a type of travel that emphasizes protecting the environment while supporting local communities. These excursions often include visiting natural areas, such as forests or beaches.
These tourism practices help local businesses, encourage tourists to consume locally-grown foods and stay in eco-friendly accommodations and thus can reduce carbon emissions while mitigating tourism’s impact on the environment.
1. Support Local Businesses
Local businesses are the backbone of every community, so by supporting them while traveling you are helping them thrive. From coffee shops and bookstores to dive bars, all depend on your support in order to thrive and thrive as businesses.
Also look for locally owned hotels and restaurants, which tend to be more eco-friendly than large chains. Solar panels, rainwater harvesting systems, energy efficient lighting are just a few features you might find here.
Travel can give you an opportunity to try different cuisines by visiting restaurants and cafes in local countries you visit – something which gives a deeper understanding of both culture and cuisine – plus offering up the possibility of purchasing unique souvenirs!
Many countries are taking steps to make their destinations more sustainable, which is great news for travelers as this will reduce overtourism’s adverse effects and allow host communities to flourish!
2. Reduce Your Carbon Footprint
One simple way to reduce your carbon emissions when traveling is considering how and where you travel. Selecting airlines offering eco-friendly options such as direct flights and purchasing offsets can all help lower emissions significantly.
Slow travel provides you with an opportunity to truly immerse yourself in the culture and customs of your destination, helping local economies as you experience it first-hand. Furthermore, slow travel opens your worldview in ways you wouldn’t otherwise experience it.
Eating local cuisine and reducing waste are effective ways of lowering your carbon footprint when traveling. Plant-based diets tend to be more sustainable, and bringing along reusable items such as water bottles and cutlery sets can further minimize their overall impact on the environment while you travel.
3. Explore Local Culture
Immersing yourself in a foreign culture is one of the best ways to travel, exposing you to local art, music, food and other aspects of everyday life.
Respect the culture when traveling abroad to avoid embarrassing situations and ensure your trip remains an enjoyable experience for everyone involved.
Before visiting any country, it is vital to familiarise yourself with its culture and history in order to gain an understanding of its people, language, customs and beliefs. This will enable you to navigate their customs more smoothly upon your arrival.
4. Eat Local Food
Consuming local cuisine while travelling is an excellent way to support local culture while making your journey more environmentally-friendly and decreasing carbon emissions.
Local food is fresher, healthier and tastes better than imported options because it takes less time to travel from farm to table, thereby losing fewer nutrients and incurring less spoilage; many organic farms also specialize in local production.
Locally grown produce can easily be found at farmers markets, co-ops and farm-to-table restaurants. Furthermore, buying local can promote diversification in farming practices that reduce monoculture’s impact – an overly-reliance on one crop across a broad area that threatens its health.
5. Stay in Eco-Friendly Accommodations
In order to travel in an eco-friendly manner, it’s essential that accommodations feature sustainable practices such as solar power, wind turbines, rainwater harvesting systems, energy-efficient lighting and low-flow toilets.
Apart from choosing hotels with sustainability initiatives in place, travelers can also look for other ways to lessen their environmental impact when travelling. For example, turning off air conditioning when leaving the room and carrying their own reusable water bottle are all ways travelers can help reduce their carbon footprint and recycle when possible.
Travel marketplaces such as Airbnb, Ecobnb and boutique hotel websites offer some of the best ways to locate eco-friendly accommodations. Their filtering functions enable users to see only properties that meet their criteria for eco-friendly lodging.