Travel Writer Yankie Chow guides us through her recommendations for travelling sustainably

Written by YankieChow
Images by Hugh Whyte

Sustainable travel, also known as eco-tourism or simply responsible travel, is about making sensible choices that reduce harm to the planet we live on. There are 3 major strands of sustainable travel, namely environmental, economic, and sociocultural. And even though sustainable travel might not pose a big impact on its own, it could make a difference if all of us start changing our routines.

There are 3 major strands of sustainable travel, namely environmental, economic, and sociocultural

Firstly, in the form of environmental sustainability, the first thing we could do is minimise our carbon footprint. Travelling requires considering different transportation options, such as walking or using public transport. We could try to limit our carbon footprint by grouping together attractions that are close by and visiting them all on the same day. If possible, this could all be done on foot, or at least on public transport which prioritises fuel efficiency to further reduce our carbon footprint.

In addition to more sustainable transport options, choosing eco-friendly accommodation that encourages water and energy conservation is an equally important change we can make as travellers. Furthermore, choosing activities that avoid exploiting or harming wildlife, or even supporting the conservation of the environment, could also significantly reduce the burden our travel and tourism activities have on our worldwide ecosystem. 

Choosing activities that avoid exploiting or harming wildlife

Secondly, on the topic of economic sustainability, supporting local businesses is one of the easiest ways to change our tourism habits. This involves directly helping smaller, independent businesses, thus contributing to the economy of a particular country. Plus, by choosing accommodation, restaurants, and shops that support fair wages, ethical working conditions, or places that are locally owned, as travellers we are ensuring our money goes directly into locals’ pockets. 

Lastly, in terms of sociocultural sustainability, we should all respect, and show greater interest in, the cultures and traditions of any particular destination. Visiting both popular tourist attractions and less well known spots, especially traditional or heritage places, could help foster positive relations between locals and tourists. Visiting these places could help promote understanding and appreciation of a destination’s hidden gems, and can help support the conservation of historical artefacts aiming to uphold the cultural integrity of a destination. 

Supporting local businesses is one of the easiest ways to change our tourism habits

Final Thoughts

Overall, there are many forms of sustainable travel and tourism that should all be considered with equal levels of importance. Making these small changes could not only help promote the preservation of a country’s history and culture, but at the same time, it could help with the environment overall. So why not plan a much more sustainable trip next time? I guarantee this will make for a much more rewarding experience. 

Read more Travel advice here:

Tips for Interrailing

The Best Travel Apps 2020

Travelling without Flying: Can it Be Just as Fulfilling?