Fashion and travelling: two of my biggest passions, and two industries that are generally unsustainable at present.
I have a strong belief though that if we change our behaviours overall to be more responsible/sustainable, then we can continue enjoying the things we like, and feel good about it. As a result, VILDNIS’ mission is to replace the unsustainable practises in the fashion industry with a more responsible (yet equally stylish) new norm.
This also goes for travelling, and ironically the more responsible our travels are, the more beautiful our travel destinations will be. That’s surely worth a shot, isn’t it?
Below is my take on how we can be more responsible tourists and get more out of the holiday at the same time:
1. Go on just one long holiday to one destination instead of lots of shorter holidays to different destinations. The result: less flights and more time to get a better glimpse of another culture.
2. Pay the carbon offset fee when booking your flight ticket. Yes, you still have a negative impact on the planet when you take a flight, but with offsetting your carbon use, you can at least feel better about it, knowing that something will be done to reverse the damage.
3. Use public transport instead of hiring a car at your destination. Again, this minimises pollution and is also a brilliant way to take in the local scenery and allows you to fully relax rather than staring at the GPS.
4. Explore the surrounding areas by foot or by bike. Keeps you fit (= room for more Aperol spritz!) and gives you the opportunity to check out all the cute cafés at the end of narrow alleyways without having to sweat over parking up hill on a single lane road ;-)
5. Everywhere you go, always take your litter with you. To quote one of VILDNIS’ favourite slogans: ‘less plastic, more fantastic’. Actions inspire actions, the better we are at picking up our own litter when leaving the beach etc., the more people we are encouraging to do the same, ultimately ending up with litter free areas.
6. Be respectful to local wildlife. Instead of engaging in activities that change the natural behaviour of the animals and leave them dependent on humans (e.g. elephant rides), engage with a local wildlife guide and watch the wildlife from a distance. It is incredibly rewarding to see the animals in their natural habitat, and if you are into photographing, this is a unique opportunity to practise your skills and bring home some out-of-this-world shots.
7. Support local craftsmanship and businesses. In many of the popular tourist destinations, the locals are often much poorer than the tourists, and that can create a hostile environment. Through supporting local artists and businesses, you are giving something back to the local community – instead of spending all your holiday dollars (or pounds…) at a large hotel resort…
8. Keep your energy and water usage at a minimum. Yes, it is tempting to leave the aircon on 24/7 or the shower running when you are not the one picking up the bill (well, in a way you are…), but think planet in this instance, and keep your energy and water usage to a minimum – or at least the same as you would if you were indeed the bill payer. Much better for the environment and future generations. Unless of course the aircon is powered by solar power and the shower using harvested rainwater, then knock yourself out.
9. Support restaurants that use organic local produce. Vote with your dollar (or pound…) and show the less sustainable restaurants that this is the way forward. It helps reduce pollution overall and is so much better for your body and well-being.
10. Stay at an eco hotel or resort. By staying at a hotel that aims to minimise its impact on the local environment, you have a direct positive impact on the local nature and wildlife. Often life is simpler and more peaceful in these places too, leaving you with fully recharged batteries and perhaps inspired to making positive changes in your daily routine (for inspiration, check out my bucket list of eco resorts elsewhere on this blog).
With all this in mind, have a wonderful holiday and remember point 0: to have fun!
PS: Feel free to share your ideas/tips in the comments section below – new input is always very welcome.