Traveling can be beneficial for people. For many, a weekend getaway is a much-needed break from the monotony of work and daily life. Longer holiday trips are also time well spent with family or loved ones. However, the side effects of traveling are less forgiving for our planet and the environment.
This piece from Bloomberg on how tourism can hit net zero predicts that the global greenhouse gas emissions from the tourism industry are expected to double by 2050.
The problem is more extensive than it sounds. The tourism industry is responsible for an estimated 11% of global greenhouse gas emissions. Experts state that the industry needs to achieve 100% sustainable aviation fuels by 2050, while half the responsibility lies on global travelers. That is, we should reduce the number of long-distance flights we take annually — at least until 2050.
Of course, travel by flight isn’t the only part of the puzzle. Experts also point to cruises and hotel constructions as huge sources of emissions in the travel industry, not to mention unregulated tourist activities worldwide. In this post, we’ll look at essential sustainable habits to help reduce the harm traveling is doing to our planet.
Supporting Local Economies
Eliminating travel can be impractical. For many people, travel is part of their work and livelihood. However, that doesn’t mean we should be irresponsible tourists in the places we visit. In our previous “Travel and Empathy” post, we discussed the importance of genuinely bonding to a new place and the people we meet.
Practicing empathy on your travels also means supporting local communities in the places you visit. The simple choice of eating at a local restaurant that sources their food locally — rather than settling for a fast food franchise near your hotel — can go a long way.
The same goes for purchasing souvenirs and merchandise that benefit local communities and families rather than buying faux-local products in shinier stores. You can also look into locally owned accommodations instead of opting for luxury four-star hotels and do some research for local guides and drivers.
While traveling does its fair share of environmental damage, there’s no denying that habits such as cigarette smoking — no matter where you are — are just as damaging, if not worse. Aside from the air pollution caused by tobacco combustion, cigarettes also lead to littering, while cigarette chemicals seep into our soil and water.
Alternatives like tobacco-free nicotine pouches have become increasingly popular as a safe and healthier workaround. For travelers, the side effects of ZYN pouches are that they produce more serotonin and catecholamines accessible to the body. So, besides the absence of tobacco and smoke, people using nicotine pouches have been known to experience better mood and anxiety regulation while traveling.
There are negative side effects, such as a sore mouth, but far fewer downsides than with long-term cigarette smoking.
Other tobacco- and smoke-free alternative products include nicotine patches from NiQuitin, Nicorette, and Nicoderm CQ. Like the pouches, nicotine patches are popular among users as they can be used discreetly and provide a regulated nicotine dosage. Moreover, nicotine patches and pouches are easier to dispose of than cigarettes.
Choosing Eco-Friendly Accommodations
Finally, as mentioned in our introduction, environmental damage isn’t limited to flights and tourist habits. Going the extra mile would be best to look for sustainable and eco-conscious accommodations.
Fortunately, Hospitality Net’s insights on sustainable lodging indicate that more and more hotel owners and operators today are taking the “go green” movement more seriously.
Hotel chains like Marriott, Choice, Hilton, and Wyndham have or are in the process of setting eco-friendly and sustainability goals with specific and measurable objectives.
Today, eco-friendly hotels have become a growing trend in the fight against the global climate crisis. These hotels have accommodations and lean on green initiatives to limit their carbon footprint and environmental impact. What does this mean for travelers? The options are there — as long as we actively try to use them.