The Future of Traveling – Sustainable Travel
Travel is essential, and most people see the need to gain organic experiences from foreign places; According to the World Tourism Organization, tourism is one of the largest and fastest-growing sectors globally.
As per Our World in Data, from 1950 to 2019, the world population increased from 2.5 billion to 7.7 billion, or by 208%. On the other hand, annual tourists rose from 25 million in 1950 to 1.4 billion in 2018, which is 5500% of the astounding growth rate in the tourism industry.
My multicultural family has always been a frequent flyer on both business and personal reasons. My daughters and I had our first trip when she was six months old. However, engaging much research in environmental studies after moving to Spain. I have realized being a meaningful traveler is not just about speaking the local language, trying the local food, and being polite to people.
Meaningful travel is also about protecting the local community and nature, lessening your impact on the environment, and promoting sustainable tourism and responsible travel.
What is sustainable travel?
Sustainable travel means finding a balance and positive relationships among tourism, nature, local community, and economy without harming the cultural environment.
Travelers should be aware of pollution levels caused by travel and how that impacts the environment and wildlife. Understand how tourism may affect the local people, businesses, and native cultures.
Where it is not suitable for the local people is most likely not good enough for tourism. Therefore sustainable travel can create a healthy ecosystem and economic advantage for the environment and the local community, such as building the infrastructure to support tourism.
As of 2020, several locations worldwide are beginning to experience overconsumption of natural resources, waste pollution caused by over-tourism. The local community faces the challenge of managing plastic pollution, food waste, water pollution, and carbon emission. In some cases, tourism creates harmful-wildlife interactions or even tourism phobia that forces local residents to relocate.
Most climate experts would repeat protecting nature and the environment is the key to all our future actions. Tourism alone is responsible for 8% of the World’s carbon emissions. Statistics continued to predict a growing number in tourism. If the industry doesn’t take action to reduce carbon footprint and shifts to sustainable behavior. The consequences to the environment and human life could be devastating.
Packing Rules for Sustainable Traveler
Packing for a family can be challenging, learning how to downsize the pieces of luggage isn’t always easy. There is no one-size-fits-all packing method for families since most people demand a different level of needs. However, regardless of how many people are packing for travel, there are always some tips to make your travel experience more sustainable.
Follow these three simple rules and slowly adapt yourself to a new packing technique:
1. Avoid single-use product
Small isn’t always better in some situations. For example, travel-size toiletry is lightweight but often results in a large amount of waste. Alternatively, you can bring toiletries from home filled with reusable containers. Children will be drinking plenty of water during the trip instead of buying new bottles along the way and bringing a reusable water bottle.
2. Less is more
Quick-dry and light material clothes, schedule a laundry visit during the trip if necessary. Instead of bringing a few pairs of shoes, bring one multi-purpose shoe. Differentiate “nice to have” and “must-have,” keep your belonging under the “must-have” category. Remember to leave a reusable bag with you for a sustainable shopping experience.
3. Reduce chemical used
Reduce chemicals used in consumable products such as sunscreen. Some of the chemical substances can enter the environment through air, soil, and water.
Top 10 Sustainable Travel Essentials for Family
1. Reusable compartment
Picking the right-sized luggage for the family can save you time during the travel and make it easier to move around.
When we are traveling in a group, I often choose Rimowa luggage, which comes in different sizes and colors. We have taken them all over Europe, Asia, and the United States. Couldn’t be happier with the quality. Rimowa is lightweight, easy to transport, and durable.
2. Reusable bag
Reusable LDPE and polypropylene bags are lightweight, easy to store and have a lower environmental impact.
The rule of thumb is any materials you have chosen to bring, reuse them, and use as many times as possible.
3. Eco-friendly toiletry
Travel convenience kits, eco-friendly toothbrushes, and soap are widely available in the market. However, the most recommended way is to fill up your toiletries such as shampoo, bath, and conditioner from home with reusable containers. Most of the empty containers from the convenience kits are often end up becoming waste in the hotel.
4. Reef safe sunscreen
The researcher believes that up to 6,000 tons of sunscreen are estimated to wash into coral reefs around the world each year.
Avoid sunscreen products containing petrolatum, and titanium dioxide that are harmful to aquatic and sea life.
If you are on your way to Aloha State – Hawaii; sunscreen containing oxybenzone and octinoxate are banned, and new law goes into effect on January 1, 2021.
Choosing a coral-friendly sunscreen is vital not only to protect skin from burns and cancer but also to preserve our oceans and marine life.
5. Natural repellent
One way to protect ourselves from the insect is to use insect repellents. However, many repellents contain high toxicity for our environment.
DEET products are effective but have the potential to cause health and environmental problems. You might choose to avoid using these products unless you’re advised by a professional or visiting places with a high risk of disease.
6. Reusable water bottle
No matter where we go, we never leave home without a reusable water bottle. There are several reusable water bottles with advanced technology that can help to keep the beverage colder or hotter. It comes in a different size, materials, color, and design.
I have tested a few products over the years, and my favorite is still Tiger compact bottle made from Japan. The bottle is in fantastic shape, comfortable to hold, single gasket, seals well, and easy to clean.
7. Reusable cutlery set
According to the New York Times, 3.8 million trees enter the manufacture to create approximately 57 billion disposable pairs of chopsticks in China; Forbes says “The World throws away around 40 billion plastic utensils per year.”
A cutlery set is often considered too contaminated and lightweight to recycle again. Most of them end up becoming a single-use waste that is damaging the environment.
In the early years, plastic cutlery was considered reusable until the post-war economy boomed. Therefore, regardless of which materials of reusable cutlery you have chosen, the main goal is also to use as many times as possible to help to reduce the consumption of waste utensils.
9. Quick-dry towels
If you are considering camping, hiking, or outdoor traveling, a quick-dry towel is more environmentally friendlier than disposable options.
Travel towels are lightweight and simple to pack. Most brands are made of microfiber, which air-dries easily.
Last but not least, check all your travel documents and download the digital version if possible. Enjoy a paperless travel experience is also part of sustainable travel.