Travel with a Conscience

February 22, 2018

When we take a vacation, it’s usually because we need to take a break from things, whether it be taking a break from work, a bad relationship or situation, or simply our usual surroundings.


However, you can still play your part in helping the environment with eco-friendly travel! Did you know that tourism produces 5% of the world’s carbon emissions? It’s time for us to be more conscientious about our travel and tourism plans.


Photo: Mantas Hesthaven on Unsplash  


One of the first ways to be eco-friendly is to choose the right mode of transportation. Airplanes cause more emissions and fuel consumption than other modes of transportation, so if you’re travelling to a place that can be reached by a bus or train, then choose that over air travel.


When you’re at your destination, choose public transportation as a means to get around, rather than hiring your own car or hailing a cab. Having a whole car to yourself adds to the pollution, while public transportation is more eco-friendly.


There’s an easy Enviro-Matrix created by Travel+Leisure that can help you decide on other feasible options that will make your trip more eco-friendly. They range from choosing a hotel without a pool to reusing the hotel towels.


Reusing hotel towels and linens is actually a great way to help the hotel conserve water. They wash these items every day, and by reusing them for even an extra day, the hotel can conserve gallons of water.


Carrying your own water bottle and sterilized water, rather than buying bottled water, is also a great way to be eco-friendly. Bottled water leads to more plastic usage and waste, and its best if you can avoid buying them in the first place.


When you’re out on vacation, choose from the plethora of green-activities available to you. Go snorkeling, hiking, biking, or even bird watching. Find a tour guide from a company that hires locals, or choose activities conducted by companies that donate to local charities.


When it’s time to pick a souvenir, try supporting the local community by buying from a local arts and crafts fair. Also, choose souvenirs that are not made by harming local animals or plants. Avoid exotic animal products or skins, especially from endangered species, as this could be illegal.


All in all, remember to be a good tourist and traveller. Pick up after yourself, find the garbage bin whenever you can, avoid breaking plants or feeding animals around you, and always turn off the lights and fans when you don’t need them.


My name is Pankhuri Kumar. I'm a 23-year old graduate student, majoring in Journalism and Computer Science. I'm a nerd about technology and hope to make the world a more informed place with data. I'm obsessed with Indian food, The Office, and Harry Potter.

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