OFFSET YOUR CARBON FOOTPRINT
UNLIKE Europeans, Australians have no choice but to board a plane to explore another country.
If you’re going to fly, opt for the most direct route possible and be mindful of your carbon footprint.
“Choose a carbon offset adventure, or a brand that will offset your carbon footprint for you,” Tess Willcox, eco warrior and CEO of World Resorts of Distinction, told WHO.
Brooke, who plants a tree with Greenfleet for every booking she makes, adds that whilst some travellers are still sceptical about where their funds are actually going, airlines like Qantas and Virgin have had solid carbon offset programs in place for years and invest passengers funds in environmental projects which reduce the carbon dioxide in the air by the same amount.
WITH overtourism a topic of conversation at the moment, consider travelling out of season or opt for off-the-beaten path destinations and local haunts.
Instead of flocking to major cities like Barcelona and Dubrovnik, check out lesser known towns and villages instead.
“I recommend avoiding areas where there are a lot of people at one time,” Brooke told WHO. “Consider other alternatives and get off the tourist trail.
"For some people, it’s not always about the sun, sea and sand. You can go to the same location and experience a winter instead.”
Willcox also recommends asking locals for their suggestions on the best sights and places to experience and explore that may not appear in guidebooks or on Instagram.
“One of the biggest issues we face is over tourism and people are starting to forget how to adventure,” Willcox told WHO. “Put your phone away and you will find far more beautiful places.”
While relaxing by the resort pool is part and parcel of a bucket list trip, Willcox advises travellers to engage with local communities outside of the hotel.
“Understanding the locals is a sure fire way for you to understand the impact your travels are having on those communities and the environment, both positively and negatively,” she said.
“This will help your decision making process on which brands/companies to support when you do travel.”
Brooke said travellers should also be mindful about whether the hotel, cruise or tour operator is 'green' accredited, rated by a governing body such as Earthcheck, Greenglobe, Green Keys and LEED and whether they have sustainability policies in place.
Hospitality group Soneva is a pioneer in sustainable luxury and has been lauded for its commitment to protecting the planet.
The Soneva properties haven’t been using plastic straws for years and in 2008, they banned imported water, saving approximately 1.5 million plastic bottles since.
It is also imperative to be respectful of local culture and customs so be sure to research a destination before you arrive.
“It will transform your experience, you will earn respect and be more readily welcomed by local people,” the World Tourism Organisation advises tourists. “Be tolerant and respect diversity – observe social and cultural traditions and practices.”
SAY NO TO PLASTIC
YOU have to be living under a rock not to know what catastrophic impact single-use plastics are having on the planet so be mindful of not travelling with it.
“Every year, eight million metric tons of plastic end up in our oceans, it’s equivalent to five grocery bags filled with plastic for every foot of coastline,” said Coastal Care.
Willcox suggests bringing your own reusable water bottle, stainless steel straws, soap bar, bamboo toothbrush and shampoo and conditioner bars.
“Don’t travel with disposable plastic,” she said. “There is just no excuse anymore.”
Brooke travels with a stainless steel water bottle and a filter to purify her water, as well as reusable cutlery and containers.
“I am never short of finding somewhere to re-fill my water bottle,” she said. “I just got back from India and saw refilling stations everywhere so if India can do that, the will be no shortage of places to find filtered water.”
One of the best ways to make a positive impact on the lives of the residents in the country you’re visiting is to purchase ethical, locally grown or made products.
“Buying locally made and responsible souvenirs is a great way to support a community project,” said Brooke.
If you want to jump on a city tour, Brooke also suggests booking with a company like Context Travel Tours or Urban Adventures that use local guides and historians.
When holidaying overseas, bypass the larger supermarket chains and head to smaller stores, where the produce is often fresher, local and seasonal and visit local markets.