Air Travel

Friday Sound-Off: Will Sustainable Travel Gain Momentum in 2018?

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Workers collecting salt in the Hon Khoi salt fields in Vietnam.

With the increasing understanding we have of the impact humans are having on our environment, more-and-more attention has been given to sustainable practices.  From sustainable building, to sustainable farming, it seems like sustainability has become a very big trend in recent years.  And now it seems, the travel industry has begun to follow suit.

Over the past several years, we have seen more-and-more travelers start to take a sustainable approach to traveling.  Some steps travelers are taking are quick and easy, like renting a hybrid vehicle, taking a bus or train, or looking for direct flights when possible.  Some steps require a bit more effort, such as researching airlines that are International Air Transport Association (IATA) certified and hotels that are LEED certified by the US Green Building Council.

We have also seen organizations such as EarthCheck, Green Globe,  and the Rainforest Alliance gaining more influence within the tourism industry.  These organizations are working hard to help make travel more sustainable.

And the steps that travelers are taking aren’t just limited to transportation and accommodations.  Some other steps travelers are taking to be more environmentally conscious in their travels include, but are not limited to, some simple, common-sense things like the following:

  • Taking a water bottle on trips instead of buying bottled water
  • Never using hotel laundry
  • Hanging towels and re-using them
  • Returning maps, brochures, and other tourist info
  • Supporting Animal conservation movements
  • Never feeding wildlife, for any reason
  • Buying locally made products
  • Never buying anything made from endangered animal parts
  • Not using tours that exploit wildlife
  • Traveling with small group tour operators
  • Never snorkeling or diving with operators that chum the water
  • Using tour operators that give back to the local community
  • Honoring local customs
  • Donating the clothing they bring when their trip has ended

These are all fantastic ways in which travelers can help make a difference in ensuring that future generations are able to enjoy the wonderful travel opportunities that we get to enjoy.

Are there other ways in which you are trying to make your travels more sustainable?  Are there ways in which we can help build momentum in this movement to make travel more sustainable?  We would love to hear about your thoughts and experiences!

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4 replies »

  1. Great article and a good one to highlight again how big a difference any traveler can make. I would add to the list, writing about experiences to bridge gaps between cultures 🙂 In terms of animal exploitation, there is so much going on while the average tourist is clueless and contributes to it (we have seen this recently in South Africa where volunteers try to make a difference by working with “orphaned” lions that are in fact just being exploited before being sold off for the bone trade). I think it is our duty as travelbloggers to raise the awereness and stay very sharp. Very good article! Marcella

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