Travelling is one of life’s pleasures, but is it possible to do it and respect the environment?

The travel sector is currently one of the biggest polluters in Europe: adopting a sustainable approach is therefore essential to protecting our planet.

According to’s Sustainable Travel Report 2023 more and more people are choosing to travel responsibly, to help preserve nature and minimize their environmental impact.

Let’s have a look together at the ways to make travelling more sustainable.

1. Destination and means of transport

The first way to approach ecotourism is to think very carefully about our destination and how we get there. Some means of transport are more polluting than others: the car or plane for example are less eco-friendly that the train, bus or tram.

It’s obviously not always possible to choose the less polluting way, especially if you are travelling to a far-off place. One idea is that of the zero-kilometre holiday: there are many beauty spots near home which don’t involve long journeys and which can be visited in the low season to avoid the crowds.

If your final destination can’t be changed, it’s important to choose sustainable travel options once there. Using public transport or cycling not only reduces your environmental footprint but also allows you to emerge yourself in the local culture.

2. Accommodation

Choosing a hotel or B&B that cares about sustainability is important: wherever you stay it’s advisable to ask for a change of towels and sheets only when necessary and it’s a good rule to turn off the lights and electrical appliances when not in use.

Accommodation facilities with green policies commit to producing as little waste as possible and use water and air-cooling systems wisely, encouraging their guests to do the same.

There are certain types of accommodation, especially in the mountains and hills, which use biomass for heating: a solution which not only reduces emissions of CO2 but creates a vicious cycle of resource consumption: the well-known circular economy of wood, which we have talked about often in these pages.

3. Buy and use mainly local products

Sustainable tourism also means helping to sustain the local economy. But what does this actually mean?  Simple examples could be to eat out at a restaurant that serves zero-kilometre organic produce (watch out for tourist traps!), buy souvenirs made in local craft shops and shop at the local markets.

These choices will help you to discover the traditions of the place you are visiting and transform the whole experience into a cultural one and without doubt a more interesting one.

4. Respect the environment

If you love day trips, limit your use of plastic: take a flask, prioritize reusable containers over throwaway cutlery and don’t forget to pick up any rubbish!

Furthermore, avoid collecting natural resources such as shells, flowers or sand as if they were local souvenirs with no cost, they are in fact important components of the local habitat. What can seem like an innocuous act can actually damage the environment and put the entire ecosystem as risk.

5. Respect local communities

Sustainable travel also involves respecting local communities and their traditions. Cultural practices are treasures to be protected and sustaining them means respecting the pride and identity of local people and keeping these roots alive.

Finally, it’s important to be aware of local regulations on how to behave before visiting a new destination. Show respect for the sacred, avoid taking photos of private places and be considerate of local customs, including when choosing what to wear.

A sustainable tourism approach not only signals a positive change in the travel industry, but also allows you to discover the world in a more authentic and original way.

Foto di venemama | iStock

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Elena sta studiando Digital Marketing ed è una grande appassionata di viaggi, con un debole particolare per la Spagna e le sue isole. Ama i film romantici, rilassarsi al mare anche in inverno e mangiare sushi!