A question we are often asked is, “How can I travel more sustainably?”. In today’s world, many of us are trying to work out how we can explore new places but ensure we still preserve its culture, beauty and wildlife. With high visitor numbers negatively impacting cities, cultural attractions and eco-systems; poorer communities often ignored from receiving tourism dollars; and fossil fuels from major airlines polluting our environment, it’s a tough issue.
One of the simplest (and most obvious) ways to be more sustainable and reduce our individual carbon footprint is to cut back on emissions and fly less often. However, for many this is not ideal as we still keen to discover more of the world and enjoy fantastic learning experiences in far-flung places, and, travel offers many benefits as it can increase cultural understanding, aid wildlife conservation, create jobs that support communities and there is much self-learning, for example.
But there are other simple things we can do to make trips more sustainable. These include where you go, what you pack and how you decide to get there and offset your environmental impact without totally overhauling your trip.
So in answer to the original question, it depends on the sort of holiday you’re planning. As the tourism industry re-emerges from Covid, it will be a more sustainable version of its former self – there is much that destinations, suppliers and operators need, can, and (many) are doing. Also, for you, as a traveller, there are things you can do. Here are a few suggestions to help you embrace the sustainable traveller within you:
- Consider using a sustainable travel organisations/agent/operator – one that is a member of the Global Sustainable Tourism Council and organises trips and activities that take environmental and social impact into consideration.
- Be a selective detective! - ask your travel operator/agent where the money is going? Who is benefitting? Eco-labels can be hard to verify, so check out their social media. This will help you determine if a business is simply greenwashing or has met standards set by sustainability councils. Do your research!
- Be aware of your carbon impact – if your holiday involves a flight or a cruise, Carbonfootprint.com has a little calculator and some great ideas for offsetting your journey and helpful information on sustainable flying. Or contact us and we will calculate an off-set value for you to donate to one of our Great Causes.
- Seek out local experiences – ensure your operator includes cultural experiences – ones that give back and injects money into local communities.
- Reduce your plastic and consumption of single-use products – use biodegradable shampoos, a bar of soap, low chemical sunscreens, and carry a reusable water bottle.
- Pack light – create a capsule wardrobe. Take lighter luggage and key items that mix and match. It makes your life easier, and lighter luggage helps to reduce your emissions footprint.
- Buy local – find out the conditions for the workers; take an interest, ask where the money goes – supporting local craftsmen helps to conserve local traditions.
- Be conscious of what you buy while travelling – avoid items using animal products, skip the packaging; and invest in a quality locally made product.
To find out more about our environmental credentials at Alexandra’s Africa and what we do to ensure each one of our safari holidays are sustainable, do contact us!
Alexandra’s Africa Eco-Cultural Safaris & Retreats
Crafted with Passion – Delivered with Care!