How to Be an Eco-friendly Traveler and Benefit Without Leaving an Impact

By Rachel Maglio

Posted 2 weeks agoGROWTH

A few years ago, the government of Thailand was forced to close down three popular islands in the coast of Phuket because of the negative impact of tourism. Just a couple of weeks earlier, they needed to close one of Thailand’s National Parks because of damages in the marine ecosystem such as coral bleaching.
Best Travel Destinations for 2016

The increasing number of tourists who damage corals, catch marine animals, or feed them, is slowly killing ocean life.

But that’s just not everything.

It might come as a surprise, but your travel choices can make a huge difference to the environment. Whenever you choose your mode of transportation, pick a hotel or buy a product at the local store, you’re making the choice. And that choice has everything to do with the environment, every single time.

For example, between 1972 and 1994, the number of international air passengers worldwide rose from 88 to 344 million. Tourism accounts for a huge chunk of air travel and is responsible for a huge amount of CO2 emissions. One study estimated that a transatlantic return flight emits almost half of emissions produced by all other sources (electricity, cars, etc.) consumed by an average person yearly.

Would you like to know what has a positive impact on the environment in your travel and how to make sure that your next holiday doesn’t significantly increase your carbon footprint?

How to be an eco-friendly traveler and benefit without leaving an impact

Here are 15 tips to help you become a real eco-friendly traveller.

1. Avoid plastic bags

You want your memories from the trip to last a long time, but over 500 years is a bit too long. Plastic bags take a lot of time to biodegrade so take a reusable shopping bag with you and whenever you go to local markets avoid taking extra plastic bags. Just because you’re travelling, it doesn’t mean you should give up your eco-friendly habits from home.

2. Double check green products and businesses

Since green tourism is booming these days, many companies use eco-friendliness as another way to trick travellers into buying products that aren’t eco-friendly at all.

Most companies are genuine, but plenty might be making mistakes. Before settling on a trip make sure that it has a third-party certification. That goes for picking hotels, cruises, airlines, and tour operators. Have a look at the company’s websites to see the comprehensive program.

Companies need to show that they’re aware of local environmental issues. For example, if you travel to Africa where water conservation should be commended, your tour operator should do so. Look for companies that are honest and support eco-friendly tourism.

3. Pack light

Whenever you’re flying, every kilo counts. The more the plane weighs, the more carbon emissions it will produce. That’s why you should make sure to pack only the items you will need.

How to lighten your load? Remove clothes that aren’t multipurpose and download your books on Kindle instead of bringing paper ones.

4. Pick a fuel-efficient airline

If you’re about to choose an airline, you should know that some are more fuel-efficient than others. A recent study revealed that Spirit, Frontier, and Alaska are the most fuel-efficient domestic companies in the United States. American Airlines which boasts the third oldest fleet ranked the lowest in the research.

5. Rent out from locals

Instead of choosing a hotel resort, support the locals by renting rooms directly from them. The truth is that renting out a room will generate less waste that comes as part of every hotel experience. You’ll also get to know the locals who will be able to introduce you to their cultures.

6. Look for these labels

Fortunately, you can tell whether a hotel is environmentally friendly or not by the kind of labels it has. So make sure you look for these labels:

  • Energy Star – this program scores hotels on the basis of their energy efficiency. In order to get that label, hotels have to submit verified energy bills for review. The label doesn’t cover water use for recycling.
  • TripAdvisor GreenLeaders – to get that badge, hotels need to meet some minimum standards for example recycling or linen reuse programs.
  • LEED – this label is used by the US Green Building Council on buildings and upgrades that meet green requirements. They add points for extras – for example, building on land that has already been developed.

7. Use public transportation

One of the best things you can do for the natural environment when you’re traveling is taking public transport. You won’t be creating any extra carbon emissions that come with private transport like taxi. Also, you will have a much more interesting travel experiences because you get to interact with locals.

8. Fly economy

One study demonstrated that the carbon footprint of the traveler who decided to fly business class can be three times as much as one who chose the economy class tickets. Remember to have a look at frequent flier mile programs. Many of them now allow passengers to donate miles to their favorite nonprofits.

9. Travel overland

Whenever you can, exchange a five-hour flight for overland travel. You will not only reduce your carbon footprint, but also get to learn more about the country you’re visiting.

10. Try an eco-friendly tour

Some companies use the best environmental practices in their tours. It’s worth to pay more for that kind of tour, because you will be paying people who actually live in that space and know how to organize your visit in a way that has the least impact on the environment. These tour operators are simply the best because they make sure that a large percentage of the money stays in the country.

11. Enjoy local beers

Have you ever heard about the ‘beer mileage’? It refers to drinking locally brewed or imported beers. Naturally, choosing a locally brewed beer will not only mean higher quality but also reduce your carbon footprint. And that applies to eating local produce as well. Experiencing different tastes, you will also reduce your carbon footprint.

12. When in a hotel, act as if you were at home

When in a hotel, behave as you would at home. That means you should avoid getting new towels every single day, have excessively long showers or forget to turn off the TV, light or air conditioning when you leave the room.

13 Don’t buy bottled water

Just like plastic bags, plastic bottles make a lot of waste. Many hotels have water filters installed for travelers to fill their reusable bottles with safe water. Make sure that the place you’re visiting has such equipment in place.

14. When hiking, stick to the path and observe local rules of conduct

If you’re planning to hike this summer, make sure that you always stay on marked trails and keep a safe distance from any animals you encounter. If you decide to go off the beaten path, you might pose a threat to protected or endangered plant species too.

15. Let wild animals be wild

Entering a cage with a tiger high on drugs? Riding an elephant who was previously severely ‘trained’ to obey through beating and keeping in captivity. Swimming with whales who are being fed against nature for the sake of tourist. And any other activity which harms animals for the sake to get some additional bucks from the tourists’ pockets. You don’t want to be a part of these activities.

Use these 15 tips and you’ll be on your way to making your next travel truly friendly. And what is one of the least impactful and most beneficial ways of travelling for your personal growth? An introspective travelling!

What’s Hot and What’s Not: Best Travel Destinations

Traveling is the only thing you buy that makes you richer. Spending money on experiences can bring you more happiness than anything else. Where should you take your memories?

Whenever you feel the urge to do some adventure travel or you simply sit down to decide where to take that much needed vacation, you are inevitably influenced by the travel trends. Take Greece for example: It has been one of the hottest tourist destinations for decades, but now, with so much happening in Greece, the country has fallen on hard times. As a result, many tourists are starting to avoid it, which affects the country’s tourism industry – more bad news for Greece.

Travel trends are changing every single year and 2015 was the year when international affairs heavily influenced travel trends. Though we can’t be certain of what the New Year will bring, we do have a pretty good idea about what’s hot and what’s not when it comes to travel destinations in 2018.

So, what are the upcoming travel trends? Where should you go and what should you steer clear of? What trends are hot and what trends are not? Read on and find out!

Solo Travel

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Various statistics revealed that solo traveling is becoming more and more popular and 2016 may just be the year of solo travelling.

Sure, traveling with friends and family is great, but if you really want to discover new things about yourself, meet new people and even make new friends, immerse yourself in a culture and a destination, then travelling alone is the perfect way to do it!

Do the research, choose a destination, buy the ticket and experience a new feeling of freedom, traveling solo. Alone, but never lonely!

Volunteer

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Being kind is innately human and volunteering is the best way to do some good in the world, to show yourself and others that you care. What’s great about volunteering, aside from helping people, is the fact that it costs next to nothing and that it will be a defining moment in your life. An experience that will teach you things that you simply cannot learn at school. If you’ve never volunteered, we highly suggest you do.

Choose a cause that is close to your heart and go for it. Be it Africa or Europe, the world is your volunteering oyster!

Wellness Travel

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Wellness-oriented vacations are all the rage right now and they don’t give any signs of slowing down. Mindfulness and empathy are two things that are so much more than just a trend, and this is starting to show up in all the areas of people’s lives, from travelling to cooking.

It may sound like a big cliché, but here it goes: You deserve the best, you are worth it, so do yourself a huge favour and go on a wellness-oriented vacation in 2016. For your body, your mind and your soul.

Wine Travel

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Wine travel will forever be a popular category of travel simply because people will always love wine! Italy and France are Europe’s top wine destinations and a seasoned wine traveller will always put them at the top of their destination list.

So, if you want to taste some of the best wines in the world in 2016, we highly recommend a wine tour of Tuscany.

Where to Go?

Brazil

The 2016 Olympics are happening in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, which means that this year Brazil will become the hottest destination in the world. Even if you’re not a sports fan, you might be tempted to visit Brazil for the wonderful opening ceremony. If you do plan to go to Brazil for the summer, Olympic organizers recommend that you slather yourself in mosquito repellent, for your own safety, as the Zika virus outbreak is nothing to joke about.

Croatia

Croatia is by no means a new destination, but ever since the country joined EU in 2013, it has become increasingly popular. The Croatian National Tourist Board has come up with the motto “the Mediterranean as it once was” to attract visitors and it seems to be working. More and more people are drawn to this European gem and you should definitely give it a shot in 2016. The city of Dubrovnik pictured below is particularly spectacular and breathtakingly beautiful.

Cruises

Cruises will never go out of fashion, but this year, they’re really gaining some new momentum, especially for young travellers. Until recently, cruises were aimed at retired, older travellers, who usually are just looking to relax, but now, cruises are much more adventure-oriented and will engage and entice you. If all you want is to relax in a nice environment, in your own happy bubble, with like-minded folks, then a cruise may be the perfect choice for you. And if you want to do some snorkelling or deep sea diving, a cruise may also be the answer for you.  

Australia

As a tourist destination, Australia is in a league of its own. Even though the country has been a tourist favorite for decades, it has slowly become a must-see destination for all travel enthusiasts. What’s great about Australia is that it has a little bit of everything for everyone. Love the hustle and bustle of the big city, visit Sydney, Melbourne, Perth or Brisbane! A nature enthusiast? Then the Great Barrier Reef is waiting for you to discover it!

Thailand

Thailand will never stop being one of the best travel destinations in the world. According to Wikipedia, tourism in Thailand accounts for around 20% of Thailand’s GDP. This means that the country thrives off tourism, which is also great news for you, as a traveler, as you will always be taken care of there. “Amazing Thailand” is the slogan used by the Tourism Authority of Thailand to promote the country internationally, which cannot be more accurate. But what makes Thailand even more popular in 2016? Just last year, the country ended their martial law; Thailand’s deputy prime minister declared that he expected the number of high-spending tourists from the United States and Europe to increase following the decision. He was right!

Japan

Similar to pretty much all the aforementioned destinations, Japan has always been a popular tourist destination. Its appeal cannot be denied and its beauty will impress even the finickiest tourist. But what makes Japan a hot destination in 2016? Well, the fact that the prices in Tokyo have dropped by 18% compared to the previous year! What are you waiting for? Book that plane ticket now!

Where Not to Go?

But what about all the places that aren’t going to be too welcoming to the average traveler this year? If you are worried about your personal safety, and you should be, then let’s take a look at the travel warnings that the U.S. State Department issued for 2016. So far, there are four warnings and one alert for the following countries: Sudan, Niger, Burkina Faso, Mexico, El Salvador and an alert for Haiti.

We are as shocked as you to see Mexico on the list! So, what happened there? Apparently, the U.S. Department of State is warning the citizens of the U.S. about the risks of traveling to Mexico due to threats to security and safety posed by the many organized criminal groups in the country. Of course, you can ignore the warning and simply go about your business, as these warnings are not interdictions, however many travelers do tend to take into account the U.S. Department of State’s warnings. So, if you do plan to visit Mexico, do a bit of research about the places you’re planning to visit. We’re certain the Riviera Maya and many other places are absolutely stunning and safe!

As for Sudan, the threats are terrorism, armed conflict, violent crime and kidnapping. For Niger, the ongoing activities by the extremist group Boko Haram are posing a significant threat to travelers.

For LGBT folks, the list is even longer. If you are lesbian, gay, bisexual or transsexual and you want to do a bit of traveling in 2016, then you should definitely avoid these following countries: Nigeria, Jordan, Senegal, Uganda, Ghana, Tunisia and Russia, as they are highly homophobic.

What are your travel plans for 2016?

Read more about: how to pack your suitcase before the trip and about the last minute workout plan to get the perfect beach body.

11 Great Reasons You Should Write Your Traveling

There are many benefits of writing a travel journal. It makes you creative and passionate about life and you can read it later to see where you have been and what you’ve seen and learned there.
But have you ever thought about blogging or journaling about traveling?

Journaling is an awesome activity to do on your travel for many reasons. It’s cheap and incredibly rewarding. Blogging, however, is a bit more complex and it requires a bit of money but it’s an amazing way to share your trips with the world and maybe make some money on the side for your future trips.

No matter which you prefer, both are great ways to record your trips and make sure you never forget a single detail.

This is why I started writing a journal in the first place – to record and remember for the rest of my life – the good the bad and the ugly. I have about ten journals so far – what can I say, I’m chatty, even with myself – and they are amazing. I read them from time to time and I thank myself for writing them.

Here are some reasons why blogging or journaling about your trips is a great idea.

1. Each experience is unique

One of your main cons for starting a blog is that there are plenty of travel bloggers out there. And truly, you are right.

But you are also wrong.

Being a travel blogger means having a beautiful community to turn to, familiar people wherever you go and someone to help you when you are in need. But there is more to it than meets the eye. “Not every experience is the same. You might have seen this country a certain way, someone else might have seen it in another. It’s not a simple thing as every human is different.

There are people out there who would enjoy your stories of great destinations. You just need to write it”, – says Carolyn Roy, a Travel writer and editor at Writemyx.

I never started my own blog – never quite worked out for me, I’m more of a notebook and pen kind of girl but I guest posted a lot on the blogs of the people I met and the response is always great, no matter how many times people have written about those same experiences.

2. Developing your observation skills

You have probably noticed that the greatest stories are often not those explicitly told or shown to you. You just have to sit, watch and observe what’s happening around you. You could hear a mother fighting with her son or see young people kissing on the bench. Just like you, all of these people have their own unique stories and by observing and writing about them, you become a part of something bigger too.

People are no longer interested in the buildings and resorts in distant destinations, they are more interested in reading about the locals, their mannerisms and behavior. They want to know about small streets and quaint shop that’s been there for hundreds of years. They want to taste unique products, everyday food of common people just like them.

I used to sit in public places and just noticed small details in the behavior and manners of ordinary people. It helped me get to know the culture better and understand people more.

3. Tell interesting stories

People don’t want to hear about the tedious details of travelling by a plane from one place to another – what they want is an adventure. “Something to take them out of their own lives and worlds and take them on a journey with you. And what makes an awesome story alive are the details interesting little notions about what people are doing ‘over there” – comments Dean Spurlock, a lifestyle blogger.

So, tell stories, especially if you are blogging. People will love them. And if you are journaling, tell stories that you love, something that will remind you later in life of the amazing things you saw and the lovely adventures you had.

This is what I do as well in my journals. I always write the stories I like down, whether it’s a two-page story or just two sentences. You can do in a local restaurant, by the pool, or simply in your room, to process all that happened during the day.

4. Find a community

As mentioned, blogging can bring you many great things but the best one is probably the ability to find a community of bloggers who will become your friends and helpers. You’ll be able to discuss your travels, boost each other up on your blogs and maybe even travel together at some point in the future. These people will usually think just like you and they will love to share their stories with you.

And let me tell you, did I meet some great people! They all helped me learn and grow as a person. Some of them were creeps but some of them are still in my life. You can even meet your future partner this way – I’ve seen many cases of this happening.

5. Become a travel blogger

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This is one of the best jobs out there. You will find friendship, interesting tales, adventures and you’ll be able to learn so much more than you ever thought you would.

Travel blogging does require some money and time for constant trips but if you monetize your blog from the start, you’ll be able to earn that money easily. A blog will also require quality photos and these can help you increase your following on social media. For a professional start, you could also benefit from hosting your own blog and getting a domain name for yourself. All of these things do cost money but compared to what you get in the end – credibility with consumers and Google – it’s not too much.

6. Have something to pass down

Years and years from now, someone is going to be looking through your attic, sorting your stuff out and they’ll stumble upon your travel journal. They’ll go through it, page by page and they’ll say something like: Hey, gramps was cool!

All jokes aside, you’ll probably get to read it to your children and their children or just simply show them how you used to be before they came. You might inspire future generations to follow in your footsteps and give them some great advice and ideas on where to go and what to see.

However, right now, write your journal like no one else is ever gonna see if – it’s your magic place.

7. Inspire others to travel more eco-friendly

There are a few simple rules a traveller of XXI needs to know, but many travellers somehow often forget. With the increasing amount of international travellers, the number of people entering the country can often destroy to the country’s culture and the environment. Having a blog, you are giving yourself an opportunity to influence people in a positive way:

  • When it is possible, take a train instead of a plane. This will not only make your journey more authentic and ‘real’, but also help to cut down your footprint.
  • Do solid research and don’t support tourist agents which destroy the natural environment.
  • If you have time, consider spending it on volunteering for a good cause in the places you are visiting.

And so on..

8. Keep track of your travels

It’s easy to forget things along the way. If, for instance, you start travelling now, in ten years you won’t remember in which order your trips happened or where exactly you went, stayed, what places you saw. It’s a fact.

But, if you write it all down, you’ll always be able to go back and figure out where you started, where you went next and so on. Even more importantly, you’ll remember all those little things that made you smile or cry. You’ll be able to read about all those off-track places no one knows about, restaurants, hotels and so on.

This is great if you someday wish to return there or if your friends want to visit, you can remember and tell them all about where they need to go and what they need to do.

9. Learn from your mistakes

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When you write about your various events in life, you often end up writing about some of the mistakes you’ve made, even small, what type of travel clothes to pack, which turn to be crucial while you are on the road. The advice you give to yourself can be invaluable, my friend. Not only can you rant about hotels so you can remember not to go back there but you can also rant about countries, people, girlfriends, boyfriends and so on. After a while, you begin to understand that this advice is truly what made you who you are today.

10. You always have good company on your trips

While I love meeting new people, traveling solo means that you are sometimes alone. That is unless you have a journal. If you do, no dinner or hostel room will ever be lonely again. You can record all of your thoughts for the day, doodle, write some more, organize your journal and so on. It’s amazing. I never go anywhere without it.

It’s much better to sit at a restaurant and write about your day than to sit at a restaurant and do nothing. After a while, your journal becomes your best friend and you just love those quiet moments you get to have, just for yourself.

11. Write To Explore

Blogging about your travels is one of the most amazing things you can do with your free time. You are sharing your intimate stories with the world and inviting them to your life and travels. If you are still keeping your stories in the journal, you should consider some of these points and think about blogging. It could change your life.

About the author Rachel Maglio

Rachel is a blogger based in Sydney, writing for several online magazines and working in a small team at BizDb.co.nz. She loves to travel and discover new cuisines.