Sustainable travel isn’t something out of your reach. By taking some simple steps, you can travel sustainably, have an amazing holiday and keep your carbon footprint low — regardless of how far you go.
Tourism is one of the largest sources of greenhouse gas emissions. But this doesn’t mean you should stay home.
As with many things in life, it’s easy to make the wrong decision without the right information. But when it comes to sustainable travel, being better informed can have a positive and lasting impact on the places you visit.
We believe it’s the simple things that have a big impact. Whether that’s eating local food, buying from local artists or taking trips with sustainability-focused companies that lead by example. These things don’t have to cost more, but they do reduce your impact on the environment as you travel.
Interested to find out more? Here are five sustainable travel tips to help you out.
1. Book Eco-Friendly Hotels
Whether you book a trip on your own or through a travel agency, choose eco-friendly accommodation whenever possible. Ideally, opt for eco-friendly hotels that are designed with sustainability in mind.
An eco-hotel, or a green hotel, is an environmentally sustainable hotel, or accommodation that has made important environmental improvements to its structure to minimise its impact on the natural environment. Some provide guests with organic toiletries, packaged in bulk containers and serve locally-sourced produce. Others use solar panels and indoor climate monitoring.
Sustainable travel doesn’t mean forgoing luxuries. Consider the Nay Palad Hideaway, a boutique all-inclusive hotel in The Philippines. Entering the gates feels like leaving the real world behind. Ten opulent villas are set in lush tropical gardens, steps away from a private beach. They are spread out enough to make it feel like you have the place to yourself.
Everything is included in your stay, from world-class cuisine to unlimited spa treatments. There’s also a speedboat at your disposal to explore the picturesque islands offshore. You can even have your sunrise yoga session at their custom-built pagoda in the sea. This intimate and personal experience is best described by the owners as ‘barefoot luxury’. There’s a real feeling here of a home away from home.
With an emphasis on supporting the community, the guest villas are furnished using material made by locals, including the dreamy oversized bathrooms and large hanging day beds.
The resort was constructed with locally sourced materials to minimise environmental impact and has recently opened its own organic farm to serve sustainable produce to guests. Green waste from the hotel is shredded and reused as compost. Single-use plastic has been completely banned and all cleaning materials are now natural and biodegradable.
Conservation of the beautiful but fragile surrounding marine area is a huge part of Nay Palad’s sustainability efforts. The hotel ensures that the vital mangrove area is clean and regularly planted. This is key to sustaining the diverse ecosystem, with its teeming flora and fauna. Excursions on a stand-up paddleboard are a great way of discovering this wild and beautiful scenery.
What’s more, the lagoon in front of the hotel is protected from dynamite fishing. In the past, this has been a major problem but is less so now due to new measures and education.
Luxury has truly been redefined in this part of The Philippines. Choosing a hotel like The Hideaway means you’re consciously making a choice to travel more sustainably.
2. Choose Local Transportation
Opt for local transportation such as local buses, trains and trams. Explore cities and the countryside on bikes rather than coaches which are noisy, polluting and aren’t designed for small towns and rural places. You’ll see more and have a much more authentic experience by doing so. By choosing local transportation, you’re supporting the local economy rather than larger businesses that might not be giving back to the community.
In large, busy cities, heavy traffic can make transportation frustrating. So, rather than adding to the problem by taking a taxi, you could head to a quieter area and walk or cycle instead.
Take Manila, for example. The old walled city of Intramuros is a calm and serene escape from the bustling streets. Here you can jump on a Bambike, a bicycle made out of Bamboo, and take a tour.
3. Save Energy and Water
When you’re at home, you switch the light off when leaving a room and unplug your devices when they’re not charging. You might also be taking short showers to reduce your water bill.
You can do the same things when travelling. Turning off the TV and other electronic devices before leaving your hotel room will help to save energy. And you can conserve water by turning off showers and taps when shampooing your hair or brushing your teeth.
Read more: 5 Luxury Hotels for the Eco-Conscious Traveller
4. Use Reef-Safe Sunscreen
Hawaii and other exotic destinations have banned most types of sunscreen. Personal care products have released over 82,000 chemicals in the seas over the past years, affecting the coral reefs.
The safest and most sustainable way to enjoy the water is to switch to a reef-safe sunscreen. Unlike traditional sunscreen, these products don’t contain titanium dioxide, oxybenzone and other toxic chemicals.
Some hotels offer free reef-safe sunscreen to their guests, so make sure you ask about it. If not, you can always purchase it in advance.
5. Avoid Attractions That Exploit Animals
Riding elephants, snorkelling with dolphins and having your picture taken with wild animals may look like fun. But attractions like these involve torturing the animals and forcing them to behave in ways that are unnatural to them. Supporting these attractions allows this exploitation to continue. If you want to get up close to the native wildlife, we suggest seeking out a local animal charity, sanctuary or conservation project. Often, you can feed the animals or help out with daily activities.
You can still experience the wonder of a whole host of wild animals but in a sustainable setting. The dream of many travelling to Thailand is to see an elephant and, perhaps, for some, to even ride one. Unfortunately, for the ill-informed, the latter is contributing to a devastatingly cruel industry.
Instead, why not try Elephant Nature Park in Chiang Mai? This is a sanctuary for distressed elephants, rescued from the logging industry or from unethical tourist companies. Here you’ll be able to see these glorious animals without causing them pain. Lek Chailert set up the sanctuary in the 1990s to not only provide a safe haven for elephants but also to encourage tourists to interact with them in the right way. You’ll be able to feed, bathe and walk side by side these majestic animals. You’ll be educated too about the horrors elephants go through during the ‘breaking in’ process.
The nature park is a great example of sustainable tourism. There’s a volunteer scheme available for those looking to spend more than a day there. Knowing your money is going towards the rehabilitation of these beautiful creatures makes the experience extremely fulfilling. The fact is, sustainable travel leaves a lasting positive impact on the places you visit and the animals that call them home.
Make the Most Out of Your Green Travel Experience
Green travel doesn’t have to be restrictive. There are plenty of ways to have fun while protecting the environment.
Our goal at Many Moons is to provide a unique travel experience, beyond your wildest dreams. A trip you’ll remember for many years to come.
So, are you ready to plan your next trip?
Contact us today and let’s make your travel dreams a reality.