Let's become responsible travellers =)

Nowadays, we have seen a lot of people doing their best to have sustainable habits and to practice a responsible tourism, which is great! But many of them are struggling. They need more tools and information to help them on daily basis and also to start understanding that being sustainable involves three main pillars: environmental, social and economic.

Knowing that, we decided to share with you 8 tips that will help you to practice a responsible tourism and to create healthy habits when traveling. We would like to highlight that all of these tips can be applied in our cities as well, after all, every change starts within ourselves and little by little impact the ones that surround us. Let’s start?

1) Be a conscious consumer

A great way to start having a sustainable life is to become a conscious consumer. How many times did you catch yourself impulse buying? Or planning a shopping trip that includes outlet visits?

Unbridled consumption is one of the main environmental problems since any product you desire to buy goes through a manufacturing process that requires natural resources from our planet. For example, did you know that to produce a t-shirt we need to use 2,495 liters of water? Crazy right? That’s why we should only buy things that we really need, reuse packages, and try to be as minimalists as possible.

Think of how you can substitute single use plastic for long life products. This way you will be contributing a lot to our planet and to yourself, as you will save money, will not pollute much and will be an inspiration to your friends and family.

Tartaruga marinha comendo sacola plástica
Sea turtle eating plastic
Photo: greenpeace.org

2) Use and abuse of sharing economy

When we are planning our trips, we usually make a list of all the items we shall not forget and a list of things we need to buy. But, do we really need to buy all of those equipments and clothes that the trip requires? Or, is it more important to just have access to those items?

Don’t you think that we may rent or even borrow some of them? And pay only for the time we will actually use and allow people to reuse them, instead of encouraging the production of more materials which we are unsure we will ever use again?

Let’s question ourselves: does the manufacturing process impact the environment, the society and or the economy of some region? This is why we should practice a responsible tourism even before leaving our homes.

Before buying anything, look for websites and apps that offer rental services. In Brazil for example, we have Aluga Trip, which rent over 70 travel products. If you still need to buy something, consider brands and products that respect the 3 pillars of sustainability.

Sharing economy companies
Sharing economy companies

3) Choose non polluting or collective transportation

According to the Brazilian Energy & Environment Institute, cars are responsible for 72.6% of the greenhouse gas emission in São Paulo city. The greenhouse gas advance intensifies the global warming, and end up melting glaciers, prejudicing several animals and compromising our quality of life.

How to avoid it? Simple! Chose non polluting transport, like a bike or even just take a walk. Bicycles are easy to find for rental around the globe and besides being active you will avoid being stuck in traffic and will have more freedom to enjoy the landscapes on the way.

In case these options aren’t viable, you can opt for public transport as well. At the end of the day, traveling is also about experiencing the local life.

Public transport in London
Public transport in London
Photo: Iwan Baan

4) Find out who is the owner of the accommodation you intend to stay

Is the owner of the place where you are planning to stay a local citizen, that may have helped that community to grow? Or is the owner a big entrepreneur, a celebrity or even a politician that bought a protected piece of land and built an accommodation to make even more money? Valuing locals is also a way to make a responsible tourism and help with the country’s development.

5) Choose accommodation that have a recycling program

Even though several countries encourage businesses to have a recycling program, it is not available everywhere and not everyone has the habit of recycling, which is a fundamental practice to a sustainable world. When we reuse and/or recycle items, we reduce the pollution and flooding issues, besides marine and wildlife death.

You can encourage the recycling program when you require it before booking an accommodation during your travels.

Recycling bins
Recycling bins
Photo: Edmara Silva

6) Value local and regional products

When we talk about responsible tourism we need to be aware of the “Zero Kilometre” concept. Have you ever stopped to think about how do all the things that we buy get to us?

Peru Artesanato
Handcraft – Peru
Photo: Elaine Villatoro

It is super common to buy things that aren’t regional or even national, which means that the products come from ships or aircraft and they cause a lot of pollution because of the fuel and of the waste that is usually disposed in the ocean by some ships.

Encouraging the national and regional businesses and tax collection, besides generating jobs and income to local people, it also strengthens the business network and environmental consciousness.

If you go to Jalapão in Brazil for example, you will have the opportunity to purchase some golden grass crafts from locals, and in Peru you can find some traditional clothes.

7) Prefer organic food

Organic food is getting more accessible and are beneficial to everyone. Starting with the health benefits, as they are free from chemicals. The nature, once in their cultivation it is forbidden to use synthetics pesticides, chemical fertilisers, and transgenic seeds. It also encourages local producers, which means that your money will help a household and not a huge corporation.

And let’s be honest, one of the greatest things about travelling is to experience the local food. So enjoy the local free markets, try the traditional meals, the fruits of the season and local spices.

Açaí being peeled off

8) Carry a zero waste kit with you

To have a sustainable lifestyle we need to have sustainable tools that reduce the impact on the environment. The first thing you can do is to refuse single use plastic in your travels. In remote places these materials may take several days to arrive, sometimes arrive by donkeys or boats for example.

Order your drink in a glass, don’t get coffee capsules, use inox cutlery, use cardboard boxes instead of plastic bags when leaving the supermarket. And to make it all easier for you and to inspire those around you, you can have a zero waste kit in your backpack, or purse, since they are usually small.

Wherever we go, we always take inox straws, a collapsable cup , camping cutlery and a reusable bag with us.

Sustaineble Tourism: Reusable cutlery
Reusable Cutlery
Photo: Menos 1 Lixo

Did you like these tips? Share with your friends on social media!

If you would like to know more about Aluga trip, check it out our website and follow us on Instagram and Facebook.

Believing that our attitudes and choices can make a difference, we idealized and founded a travel equipments, sports and leisure rental business in São Paulo (Brazil). Our goal is to reduce the negative impact caused by the unbridled consumption and collaborate with the sustainability of our planet through a sustainable tourism.

Karina A. Pimentel | Founder of Aluga trip

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