January 6, 2020
How to Explore the World More Sustainably as a Solo Travel
Overcrowding and overtourism is an increasingly serious threat not only for tourist sites but for the environment as well. That’s why sustainable travel practices are catching on, as they help preserve these places while still allowing visitors to enjoy what they have to offer.
In this highly globalized economy, and in the age of Instagram, traveling has become very convenient for many people. But as reports suggest, the overcrowding in numerous tourist sites is fast becoming detrimental to the environment, the destinations, and even the local economies. An estimate from the David Suzuki Foundation on the growth of carbon emissions from aviation states that there has been an 83% increase since 1990.
On the other hand, the surge in tourism has generated more investment in these sites and the local populations around them. This has created cross-cultural exposure, democratized travel, and has helped put more value on having a global connection. While choosing more sustainable practices might sound daunting for solo travelers, it’s actually more fun than you think. Here’s how:
An American adult flies an average of six times a year. The Globe and Mail’s guide on sustainable travel notes that 25% of a plane’s carbon emission comes from the takeoff and landing alone. Simply opting for a nonstop flight can cut your travel carbon footprint significantly. Also, flying on a newer plane is much greener than an older aircraft. You can see the carbon footprint of your flight in aggregators, like Google’s ITA Matrix and FlyGRN, and adapt your travel plans accordingly.
Slow travel is the anti-thesis of Instagram tourism where a single photo ultimately caricatures your experience. This movement, which has its roots in the eco-friendly Slow Movement of the past, emphasizes savoring the journey and exploring a destination more methodically. Lottoland in their 12-step slow travel guide advise tourists to travel by foot or bicycle whenever possible in order to enhance the experience. This helps you take in not only the tourist sites, but also the beauty of the surrounding locale. Learning a few phrases of the local language also helps further deepen your experience of exploring the area. Ultimately slow movement values the quality of your experience rather than the quantity of destinations.
As mentioned above, overcrowding adversely impacts tourist sites. So, opting for less-traveled locations can help ease the pressure. This is also a great opportunity for you to find the least beaten paths for solo travelers. A voyage tour in Croatia, an adventure exploring the hundreds of islands in Tuvalu, or a trek across the mountains of Montserrat are just some options you should consider.
Sustainable travel does not only mean doing better for the environment. These practices must also directly impact those on the front lines of preserving these sites. While tourism has been an increasing income stream for many countries, a WTO report shows that only 5% of money spent by tourists stayed in the locality. That’s why you should try to support local businesses when you travel to a destination. This way you’re investing in them, and enabling them to continue preserving the sites as their means of living.
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