Guest post - written by Clayton Miller
Responsible tourism isn't just about jumping on a trend. It’s about being part of a crucial movement that minimises our carbon footprint, promotes eco-conscious awareness and helps us become mindful of adopting environmentally friendly habits. Responsible travel means choosing your destinations carefully, finding ways to support local communities, staying in hotels which advocate sustainability, picking restaurants with a strong focus on organic and local food, and travelling in a way that has as little impact on the environment as possible. Here are five ways you can be a more sustainable traveller.
1. Carry reusables
Bringing reusables when you travel may seem like a small step but the more we all participate, the chances are that big brands will start to wake up to the demand of less plastic packaging. With one in three millennials prepared to spend as much as £5k on a summer vacation, it's easy to think buying a few more bottles of water on your holiday and extra toiletries aren't going to add too much extra to the bill. But it's the cost on the environment that is the biggest concern, and reducing travel waste plays a big part. If you're camping or going self-catering bring canvas grocery bags for the farmers' markets. If you know you'll be drinking lots of water make sure to carry a reusable eco-friendly bottle. Use reusable bags if you're taking snacks on the airline and carry decanted toiletries in a reusable clear zippered pouch. Take it even further by bringing a fabric bag for dirty laundry.
2. Choose hotels that promote minimal impact
Make sure to do your research before booking a hotel. Big resorts and all-inclusive hotels are often owned by foreign companies that have little care for sustainability. But there are eco-friendly hotel portfolios out there doing their utmost to create a positive impact on the environment. Look around and you'll find luxury hotels which have a zero plastic policy, use renewable energy, build with local recycled or renewable materials, and have rainwater filter systems. Examples include the Bucuti & Tara Resort in Aruba which has become North America's first CarbonNeutral® resort hotel.
3. Support local communities
From avoiding imported foods flown into the county, to choosing hotels that source food from their own vegetable and herb gardens, there are many ways to support local communities when you travel. And it doesn't stop with dining. You can immerse yourself in local life by taking part in community volunteering projects, buying ethically made artisan gifts and clothes, and avoiding experiences where wildlife is put at risk or exploited. Making informed decisions about your carbon footprint is a critical step in travelling more sustainably.
4. Conserve water
Water is renewable so why do we need to conserve it? Pure and simple, it takes a lot of energy to pump and treat water and reducing your usage helps preserve the freshwater that fish and plant life thrive on. The best way to help minimise water usage is to choose hotels that use a rainwater filter system, take quicker less frequent showers, and be mindful of reusing towels instead of sending them over to housekeeping to be laundered every day.
5. Choose environmentally friendly activities
Leave no trace of waste and make sure your footprints are respectful to the environment. This can be anything from ditching the gas-guzzling taxis and choosing to cycle, swim or hike to using public transport instead of a private car from the airport to the hotel. Pick off-the-beaten-path destinations that haven't been over damaged by tourism, take part in eco-friendly sightseeing tours and use non-motorized boats such as traditional jukungs or kayaks.