Top 5 tips for sustainable travel

This is sponsored content for Lavazza Australia.

Travel more sustainably with these top tips for making your next journey a force for good.

Just about everyone loves to travel. Which can be a bit of a problem. Untouched landscapes and authentic cultures tend not to stay that way for long, once they have been 'discovered'.

And it's not like people are about to change their minds and stay home instead. Tourism is one of the world's fastest growing industries. There were 1.3 billion international tourist arrivals around the world in 2017, with 1.8 billion expected by 2030, according to the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO).

But tourism needn't be a bad thing. It can also be a force for good, preserving cultures and the environment while providing prosperity, peace and security for local communities.

Tourism is responsible for 10 per cent of the world's GDP, and provides 1 in 10 of the world's jobs. The UNWTO believes tourism can play a role in achieving the UN's Sustainable Development Goals. And travel doesn't necessarily have to be a huge contributor to global warming (which, let's face it, has the potential to ruin a lot of holidays if it gets out of hand).

Sustainable travel is a bit more involved than 'take only pictures and leave only footprints' (though that is a part of it). It protects the environment, respects local cultures, and distributes profits fairly.

Here are 5 tips to ensure your next trip makes the world a better place.

  

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1. Book eco accommodation and tours

Try a local homestay on your next trip.

Try a local homestay on your next trip. Photo: Lavazza

Eco accommodation comes in many forms: from treehouses to glamping sites; island resorts to jungle lodges. So don't worry: roughing it is entirely optional. As well as recycled timbers, solar panels and a commitment to giving back to the local community, your eco accommodation may well come with organic chocolates on organic cotton pillows and views that will remind you why saving the world is such a good idea. When choosing a tour, look for one that states how it manages its impact on the local environment and culture (and doesn't just call itself an eco tour because it includes a ride on an elephant). If you want to see a certification stamp of approval, the Global Sustainable Tourism Council approves eco certification bodies around the world (including Eco Tourism Australia, which lists tours and accommodation in its Green Travel Guide). You can also find a nice eco roof to put over your head through specialist booking sites such as Green Getaways.

2. Fly sparingly

Travel by boat on your next adventure.

Travel by boat on your next adventure. Photo: Lavazza

There are no two ways about it: travelling by plane is not good for the environment. It is, however, quite handy when you want to go a long way quickly, which presents the ethical traveller with a bit of a conundrum. While we're waiting for the boffins to perfect their battery-powered or biofuel Boeings, we can always buy carbon offsets when we book our flights to make ourselves feel a little bit better, and compare the CO2 efficiency of different airlines at German website Atmosfair. Even better, choose trains, buses, boats, bicycles, rickshaws and walking boots wherever possible. And consider staying longer in one place, and really getting to know it, rather than always jetting off to the next.

3. Buy local

Shop in local markets.

Photo: Lavazza

In theory, tourism can be a redistribution of wealth: a cash transfer from rich people in the developed world to poor people in the developing world. Unfortunately, there's also the 'leakage effect', in which the money you spend on holiday in country A ends up in countries B, C and D, where the owners of the hotels, airlines and tour companies are based. So make a concerted effort to spend your money on the local economy. Use local guides, eat in locally owned restaurants, shop in markets and locally owned stores and buy locally made products. It will probably lead to a richer cultural experience too.

4. Respect the culture

Rainbow bridge

If the locals don't want you to climb their sacred rock, don't climb it. It's basic good manners, really. Likewise, walking into a temple in a bikini, keeping your shoes on when everyone else has taken theirs off, and taking photos of people without asking their permission are all sure-fire ways of offending your hosts and getting yourself into bother at the same time. Research your destination before you go, observe and ask questions when you get there, learn a bit of the language, and go easy on the hawkers – they're just trying to make a living.

5. Eat mindfully

calzone

Photo: Lavazza

Eating sustainably can be challenging at the best of times, and even more so when you're travelling. When you're buying a fish in a busy market, and using hand signals to haggle over a few rupees, it may not be practical to thumb through your guide book to find out how to say, "Was this hand-caught in a sustainable fishery?" Depending on where you are in the world, you might have to find different ways of judging what's sustainable and what isn't. The key is perhaps to be mindful about what you're eating. 

Lavazza's commitment to CSR have roots in values handed down from 1895 when the company was founded by Luigi Lavazza who stated, "I do not want to be part of a world that destroys nature's treasures." Since 2002, for example, the Giuseppe and Pericle Lavazza Foundation has supported small communities of coffee growers with projects like iTierra!. Learn more about  iTierra! sustainable coffee range on lavazza.com.au

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