With the end of lockdown and the imminent opening of borders, Australians are on the edge of their seats, poised to high tail it to their long-awaited destinations.
It is now more important than ever to remember that with the reinvigoration of the travel industry, we have a clean slate opportunity to become conscious and sustainable travellers.
What are the benefits of sustainable travel?
Sustainable travel is the idea of travelling in a way that avoids negative impacts on the environment and local community and also has many positive effects. It encourages us to find sustainable alternatives to our usual fast, and ultimately damaging, traditional forms of travel and tourism.
Sustainable travel, at its heart, is about conservation. By endeavouring to maintain and respect local cultures and communities, our environment and to travel with as light a footprint as possible.
Want to see the benefits of sustainable travel first hand? Here are 6 ways to incorporate it into your next holiday.
1 - Camping
Camping is one of the most environmentally friendly ways to travel. Enjoy the feeling of immersing yourself in nature, whilst also protecting it.
Lowering your holiday’s carbon footprint while drinking hot chocolate beneath the stars is not a bad way to travel!
To make this an even more sustainable trip, make sure you stick to designated camping sites, respect local wildlife and leave the campsite as you found it. A good camping philosophy to remember: ‘If you pack it in, you should pack it out!’
2 - Road trips and travelling slowly
Planning a road trip instead of flying to your holiday destination is a great way to travel more sustainably. It is reported that the aviation industry accounts for 2.5% of global CO2 emissions, meaning an individual's carbon contribution skyrockets when they fly.
There are many alternatives to flying, so get creative! why not take a train or a boat, maybe plan that cycling trip you’ve always talked about?
Opting to slow down or drive where you can is a great way to have a greener holiday.
Deciding to take a road trip also means you can stop at the paths less travelled and appreciate local tourism, which brings us to our next point:
3 - Travel local
Australians are great world travellers. In fact, in any country you go, you are bound to run into at least one Aussie, but many have yet to explore the wonders of their own backyards.
Travelling within Australia not only benefits the environment but also the local economy. In comparison, over-tourism of certain areas can lead to negative effects such as pollution, loss of natural habitat and the overconsumption of natural resources. Which in turn puts added pressure on these areas.
Travelling locally puts more money into local communities and businesses, and also helps promote the conservation of native environments and Indigenous cultures.
4- Local guides
No one knows an area as good as the locals do, hidden swimming holes, delicious hole-in-the-wall restaurants, shortcuts around town - the list goes on. Using local guides while travelling will not only allow you to see a place from a local perspective, it will also allow for a deeper understanding of these areas and more meaningful experiences that you might not have had otherwise.
Supporting local businesses, especially Indigenous ones, will benefit the community as a whole and also help fund the preservation of both natural and cultural sites.
5 - Stay in local accommodation
Avoiding larger commercial hotels and resorts and opting instead for local accommodation, such as homestays and short term rentals, is a great way of putting money back into the local community while also avoiding the environmental and economic impact that larger resorts and chain hotels can have.
6 - Choose green companies
Opting for companies that choose to go green will help you become a more sustainable traveller and encourage other companies to do the same. Look for companies that offset carbon emissions or accommodations that use green energy such as solar or wind. Car share services, such as Car Next Door, are also a great way of lowering your carbon footprint, with every shared car taking 10 other cars off the road.
Pat yourselves on the back for making it through a tough couple of years, there is light at the end of the tunnel and you deserve to make the most of newfound and hard-won freedoms. So go get packing!
Incorporate sustainable travel techniques where you can and it won't be long until you start seeing the benefits of sustainable travel for yourself.
Feature photo by Trent Haaland on Unsplash