Travellers should also consider the weight of the luggage they’re carrying given the heavier the plane, the more fuel needed and the more carbon emissions produced.
When packing, opt for quality basics you can wear multiple times and, if you can, take just a carry-on sized suitcase.
This way, you are not only reducing your personal carbon footprint, you can skip the lengthy queues at the baggage claim and spend less time unpacking and repacking and more time exploring.
A key aspect of being a sustainable traveller is to research and choose your destinations very carefully.
There are many beautiful places that have become overcrowded with tourists and where tourism has had a negative impact on the local culture and the environment, leaving the locals resentful.
Try to choose a destination were the locals aren’t feeling overwhelmed by visitors and where the resort or hotel actively gives back to the local community.
Resplendent Ceylon have three different resorts in Sri Lanka – including the spectacular luxury Wild Coast Tented Lodge adjacent to Yala National Park – and places a huge focus on generating positive change in the South Asian nation through the education of the local community and philanthropic practices.
All three resorts contribute 15 per cent of all bookings to the MJF Foundation, which works with underprivileged communities, as well as working with Dilmah Conservation on biodiversity conservation, environmental education, research and development in the areas of sustainable agriculture, climate change adaptation and heritage conservation.
“Resplendent Ceylon are not only leading by ‘in destination’ example of how to operate sustainably as a tourism company, but they are blazing trails in terms of philanthropy and their future plans on how to change the paradigm of giving back,” Tess Willcox, CEO of World Resorts of Distinction, tells WHO.
The Principality of Monaco is not only an idyllic destination, but has been bridging the gap between sustainability and luxury for many years and has a goal to be carbon neutral by 2050.
The second smallest state in the world has a range of sustainability initiatives and targets in place including a carbon-neutrality program and a Mission for Energy Transition to promote renewable energy and efficiency, making it an appealing destination for eco-conscious travellers.
There is also a slew of sustainable luxe hotels with their own ‘green teams’ to help reduce their ecological footprint.
CONNECT WITH LOCALS
Adopting and imitating the local way of life is not only respectful, it allows us to form truly meaningful connections with the local people while travelling.
Strike up conversations when you’re in a market, shop or a village and see if the residents – your new friends - can share details about any off-the-beaten-path gems you can explore.
Bypass the larger supermarket chains and head to smaller grocery stores and farmers’ markets, where the produce is fresh, local and seasonal.
Where possible, try to eat at local restaurants so your tourist dollars are going back into the local community.
There is really no excuse for travelling with disposable plastics in 2020.
Bring your own stainless-steel drink bottle as well as reusable cutlery, bamboo straws, containers and environmentally-friendly toiletries.
You can always ask restaurants or hotels to refill your bottle with filtered water or bring your own portable water purifier or filter system along on the trip.
Like supporting local eateries, 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.
Leave the kitsch, bad quality items on the shelves and spend your money on something meaningful that has been crafted locally such as artwork, textiles or jewellery that will last a lifetime - and not end up in the rubbish bin.
There was a time many of us would try to see as much as possible on a trip to Europe, rushing from one monument and attraction to the next in a bid to tick it of the list.
However, these days, I prefer slow travel, which is essentially picking one spot and really immersing yourself in the destination and local community.
You can learn some of the language, buy food from the farmer’s markets, cook and really relax and reset.
Not only will embracing slow travel save you money on transport and accommodation costs – which is really going to benefit travellers in this current economic climate – your tourist dollars will go back into the local communities, farms and restaurants instead of the pockets of large hotel chains.