This April 22nd marks the 50th anniversary of Earth Day, which coincides with the year people across the world are asked to stay at home. Urban life has hit a pause button, and pollution has decreased dramatically across continents. Countries have reported cleaner air and wildlife sighting in now empty areas. More than ever, we can see the impact our actions have on the environment.
In celebration of Earth Day, we’ve compiled several eco-friendly ways you can become a responsible traveller, minimise your carbon footprint and make a positive difference when you travel.
1. Conserve Energy
Energy-saving tips are simple, but these often goes out of the window when we are travelling. When you are at a hotel, remember to unplug your electronics and turn off the lights when you are out. Reuse your towels and bathrobes because – let’s face it – we don’t really need to have a new one every day. To save water, take shorter showers and do not leave the tap running when not in use.
2. Be Mindful About Wildlife
If you love exploring wildlife when you travel, choose ethical animal tourism. Be careful of operators that offer wild encounters with exotic animals, use wild animals as photographic props, or turn captive animals into entertainment. Don’t support the purchase of illegal wildlife products, such as ivory, turtle shell, feathers and coral.
3. Choose Local Experiences
How does going local experiences help with travelling responsibly? By interacting with locals and looking at a destination through their eyes, you can understand the culture better. You’ll also be able to learn about the challenges they face, how it is different from back home, and become more considerate in the process.
If you would like to look for local experiences in Malaysia and Southeast Asia, head to LokaLocal. The travel platform connects you to local guides, traditional artisans, creative entrepreneurs, chefs and social impact organisations that have skills and stories to share. Every booking you make goes towards providing an extra income and outreach for these locals.
4. Eat, Shop, Support Local
Going local doesn’t just give you an insight into the culture, it is also a sustainable way to support the community. When eating out, choose restaurants and stalls that sell locally produced food. When you are out shopping, you can go for local markets, shops and grocery stores. Instead of buying yet another cheap key chain, help local artisans sustain their livelihood by spending on a handmade textile, local artwork, carving or jewellery.
5. Avoid Single Use Plastics
Say no to single-use plastics like straws and plastic bags. Bring your own tote bag and refillable water bottle when you travel. If you are staying at a hotel, bring your own soap and shampoo instead of using those luxury soaps in all that fancy plastic wrappings. Reducing waste would also reduce your environmental impact.
6. Choose Trains Over Planes
Although planes are faster, it also leaves a high carbon footprint. Where possible, choose local forms of transportation like trains and buses to travel. Not only can it work out to be cheaper, this gives you a chance to take in majestic scenery and interact with your surroundings on a more personal level. It’s all about the journey, right?
Instead of travelling abroad, you can also take a look at what is happening at home. Sometimes we spend so much time going far and wide, that we don’t even realise how beautiful home can be.
7. Respect Local Culture
Be mindful of your actions wherever you go. Remember that you are a guest, and you should honour this role as you would in someone else’s home. If you are at a sacred site, wear appropriately and do not behave in a manner that undermines the local custom or harms the community.
On that same note, realise that we are all guests on Mother Earth, so we should tread lightly to preserve this fragile gift we have.
Explore Responsible Tourism with LokaLocal
LokaLocal connects people to fun experiences hosted by local experiences, ranging from heritage walks, cultural workshops, cooking classes, food experiences, outdoor activities, indigenous experiences and more. When you book on LokaLocal, you can contributing to the local community. Currently you can find experiences in Malaysia, Singapore, Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Indonesia, Japan and Korea.