Travel the World with Trip.com
Over the past year, we have had more time to think and reflect on what is truly important in our lives. Protecting and caring for our local communities and the environment has been at the forefront our minds because of the impact of the global pandemic. The good news is we are not in this alone. It is within our power to make better choices when we travel, choices that have a positive and meaningful impact on the countries we visit.
This Earth Day we have the chance to focus on our planet, our home. The global pandemic forced us to give up traveling – and understandably we want to get our travel groove back on and start discovering the world again. Today is an opportunity to consider how we can travel differently, and we want to share some useful practices and tips you can use to make your next trip as sustainable as it is enjoyable.
One of the easiest ways to reduce the carbon footprint of your next trip is to travel locally and discover the destination on your doorstep. If you are traveling farther afield why not use public transport? It’s amazing the different perspective you can get of a destination simply by experiencing the local tram, bus or train network. You’ll get to feel like a real local, discover neighborhoods off the beaten track, and maybe make some new friends who give you a hot tip on the best rooftop bar in town! You can save money too by buying travel passes in advance. Lots of cities have municipal bike hire facilities which is a great way to get around, and it’s good for your heart as well as the planet!
For many of us, flying has become an integral part of our lives. Thankfully, companies are working to enhance traveler information regarding the carbon output on different air carriers and routes. Make sure you’re utilizing these resources to make informed choices. Demand travel service providers and airlines work to provide such information where it is not yet available. If possible, take a train rather than fly. If it’s not possible, consider contributing to a carbon offset fund. The first step is to recognize the carbon cost of your trips and once you do, you’ll never look back. Instead of having three vacations a year which involve flying, limit yourself to one and look at alternative travel options for your other breaks.
Research where you want to lay your head after a busy day exploring. Does your hotel, hostel, B&B, cottage, or campsite use energy efficiently, employ local people, source its food locally, recycle, and contribute to the local community and economy? These are all questions you can ask yourself when you make a booking to ensure that where you stay makes a difference to you and to the place you visit.
In many areas, farm-to-fork restaurants are gaining in popularity. Not only are such eateries eco-friendly, they serve fresh, seasonal, and in many cases organic produce and support local farmers and suppliers. The farm-to-fork movement is one aspect of a broader effort to source more things locally. Globalization and trade stitch the world together and have helped many people escape poverty; however, shipping things around the world requires enormous amounts of carbon-based energy. When you travel, make an effort to buy things that don’t have a significant carbon footprint. Look for farmer’s markets or local food vendors. Try to find small shops, local artisans and craft markets who will be creating goods with a local story to add to your memories!
Seasoned travelers know all too well how single-use items pervade the modern travel experience. From individual snack packs on flights to disposable water bottles and plastic cutlery in restaurants, cut down on or eliminate anything that can only be used once. Pack refillable shampoo bottles, mouthwash, and other toiletries so you don’t have to use the single serving ones provided by the hotel. Carry a refillable water bottle and perhaps easy-to-clean travel utensils. Always have a small bag for your shopping. If you’re dining out, make a point to order less or bring your own small Tupperware for any leftovers. Can’t stand paper straws? Bring your own or avoid them all together. Hand sanitizer and masks will be standard items for us to carry wherever we go in the post-pandemic world – don’t let them become the new scourge of our natural environment and oceans!
Be mindful of the places you visit. As travel numbers continue to rise, many popular destinations pre-pandemic found it hard to accommodate the influx of new visitors. In an ideal world, everyone could enjoy walking the Venetian Canals or visiting Games of Thrones locations in Dubrovnik. Sadly however, these are two poignant examples of where over-tourism is causing lasting damage. Consider alternative destinations where not only will your spending have greater impact, you’ll also have the time and space to really enjoy and get to know the destination. If you are going to well-traveled spots, remember to take care not to damage your surroundings. For example, stay on marked trails while hiking and avoid bumping coral or other fragile parts of underwater ecosystems while snorkeling. Ensure that you engage with wildlife in an ethical way and only go on tours where animal welfare is a priority.