Keep Your Getaway Footprint Minimal With These Eco-Friendly Travel Tips
Posted by Sarah Thomson on Wednesday, February 14, 2018
Travelling is always a good idea, and when it's environmentally conscious, it's even better.
The impact of tourism on the environment is little secret, from pollution being left behind in national parks and along pristine beaches, to encroaching on the habitats of native wildlife. Embracing escapes and travel that come with eco-friendly credentials is a simple way to tread lightly on our environment. Working eco-tourism into your holiday plans doesn’t mean sacrificing an unforgettable getaway, and can be as easy as catching a bus, avoiding plastic water bottles or checking in to a stay with eco-friendly features. Here, we share some ideas on how to incorporate sustainable travel into your getaway plans.
Be water savvy
Australians are all too familiar with how precious water is, and that is only more reason to conserve and recycle where possible - even when you are away from home. Simple swaps like refilling water containers at drinking fountains instead of continually purchasing bottles, and using towels at hotels more than once are great ways to begin your eco-friendly transition. You might even look for luxury accommodation fitted out with rainwater tanks, solar panels or filtration systems. Plus, much like you might already do at home, if your stay is fitted with a dishwasher, optimise water use by only running it when completely full. Reach for a sponge if you need to wash up only a couple of plates.
What better way to completely discover a new getaway destination than to sample the local drink and cuisine? Do a little online research or ask around about weekly markets the region might host, and treat yourself to a scope of flavours. Pick up freshly baked goods, locally grown vegetables and homemade preserves, but don't forget to take your own (non-plastic) shopping bags for your wander. Supporting local usually means the food has travelled fewer miles, which cuts down emissions from transportation. Buying direct from the farmer encourages more energy efficient agricultural methods, too.
See Australia without being a slave to the stress of traffic. If you're travelling to a destination that can't be reached on foot, adopt the public system wherever possible and keep your rides green by using trains, trams and buses. If a car is absolutely necessary, look to hire an economic model that gives you the most mileage per litre of fuel. Not only is it much cleaner on the environment, but it saves your purse from unnecessary cash leakage. There isn't really an eco-friendly option when it comes to flying, so if you're interested in staying environmentally conscious, it's worth cutting down your airtime and exploring getaway options closer to home.
Use your own power
Take time to appreciate the intricacies of your surroundings and opt to tour the sites by foot or on a bike. Signing up to a walking, cycling or hiking tour can reveal hidden gems you may have otherwise missed. Not only will you be reducing your carbon emissions, but research shows it improves your mood and health, so you'll doing yourself and the earth a favour. Just be cautious where you tread, and keep to designated paths to respect the local environment and preserve nature's delicate balance.
While many accommodation types are involved with environmental programmes or encourage their guests to adapt green habits during their stay; there are particular properties to keep an eye out for that are especially eco-focused. Look for certification from groups like Ecotourism Australia or Earth Check. These credentials make sure businesses are reaching a standard of criteria, which may include the sustainable use of energy, water and chemical use, recycling and building materials. If the label seems slightly ambiguous, look them up on the Ecolabel Index online.