HOW TO TRAVEL RESPONSIBLY?
In the coming days, most of us will set off on a further or closer journey, enjoying a long weekend. There is no need to convince anyone about the advantages of travelling, since we all know – travelling educates. Unfortunately, we often leave behind piles of trash and trampled trails in the places we have visited. During holidays, we are not interested in environmental impact of our visit, and the priority is to have a nice time. When planning a trip, it is worth considering how to travel so that we will not destroy anything of what we are going to see.
How to travel responsibly? A few rules are listed below which should be kept in mind before and during the trip:
- Choose ecological means of transport. At short distances, it is worth choosing a train or a car instead of a plane. Flying is very harmful to the environment – one flight on a European route causes more pollution than driving a car every day for a year!
Obviously, driving a car is a mid-way solution. An old car can consume plenty of fuel and emit a lot of exhaust fumes. Additionally, driving alone is not ecological – in such a situation, it is worth thinking about taking additional passengers (within the so-called carpooling or car sharing). Shared journey will also contribute to additional savings.
- Before booking accommodation, find out whether the selected hotel/hostel cares about the environment. A green certificate, which is awarded to companies that meet certain conditions, may prove helpful. In tourism such certificates are awarded to hotels, campsites and night shelters which aim to reduce their impact on the environment. You may also use applications where people share opinions about a hotel (e.g. TripAdvisor), allowing you to choose accommodation based on an “ecological” criterion.
For example a frequent practice in many hotels is a daily exchange of towels and sheets for fresh ones. Check if it is possible to decline such a service in the hotel that you have chosen – sometimes it is enough just to put the right sign on a door handle or to inform the reception.
Consider taking your own toiletries, so you will not need to use soap and shampoo prepared in small plastic bottles in the hotel. In order to understand the scale of waste generated in this way in the hotel industry, it is enough to multiply the number of plastic bottles by the number of days in a year and the number of hotel rooms around the world!
The rules of responsible travelling also apply to people sleeping outdoors. Remember to pitch a tent at least 600 m from a river bank or lake. Do not build stands for tents, instead try to use places shaped by nature. When preparing meals, use a burner instead of campfire and wash the dishes away from rivers and lakes. When leaving the camping site, make sure that there is no trash left.
- Plan meals on the go and in your whereabouts. When we are unprepared, we buy a lot of unnecessary things and we litter more.
While traveling, it is worth eating locally, tasting the best local products. Remember that food imports mean wasted energy and additional environmental pollution with greenhouse gases.
And instead of buying bottled water, take a thermos or reusable bottle with you, and refill it as often as possible during a trip. In addition, avoid disposable cups, cutlery, plates, napkins and straws!