It's time to talk about the elephant in the room: carbon footprint tourism. We're all guilty of it, but do we really want to impose a personal ban on travel? Don't worry, we've got some eco-friendly tips for you.
Do plan your journey wisely. In other words: ask yourself 'where', 'when' and 'how'. Choose holiday destinations that don't suffer from 'over-tourism'. Instead, ask yourself why you want to visit that certain city in the first place and find a less popular alternative.
Travel off-season when possible. Not only will you save a great deal of money on accommodation and transport, but you'll also avoid overcrowded restaurants and inhumanely long queues. The Caribbean islands, New Zealand, Australia and Iceland are just some of the many examples of destinations that are off-season in August.
Don't assume planes are the only form of travel. Myself being extremely guilty of this, I find air travel way cheaper and more comfortable than any other transport methods. However, I've come to realize that trains usually travel along surprisingly scenic routes and are perfect to read a book in or work on without having a stewardess give you that really intimidating stare.
If you do find yourself with no other option, make sure to fly with 'eco-friendly' airlines (as much of an oxymoron as this is) and check out Sky-scanner's 'eco' filtering tool that has eased my guilt trip a little. Remember that flying is still a much better option than cruise ships or car travel, if you're a slow traveler!
Do research your accommodation and tour-operators. Support local business by staying in locally-owned accommodation rather than opting for foreign hotel-chains (and avoid all-inclusives as they don't benefit the local economy). When looking for tour operators, research their green accreditation and read reviews from reliable travel bloggers. The same applies to animal tourism that guarantees encounters with animals for money.
Do pack lightly. The more lightly you travel, the less fuel vehicles need to carry that weight. This also allows you to travel using public transport without breaking a sweat.
On this note, reducing your carbon footprint by choosing public transport over cabs is a big one for me. It's cheaper and also allows you to experience the country on a much more personal level.
Don't litter. This one should be obvious, but you'd be surprised how many people don't understand this basic principle of respect. Bring your own reusable bottles, bags and containers to reduce waste on the go. Speaking of bottles...
Do be mindful about your water consumption. Unlike here in Luxembourg, tap water usually isn't safe to drink so make sure to inform yourself beforehand. Water purification tablets or filters can be a great alternative to buying endless bottled water. Where possible, avoid destinations that are suffering from water-shortages like Cape Town or India.
Don't be an 'evil tourist'. Instead, act like a local! Sustainable tourism doesn't just concern the environment, but aims to minimize the negative impacts of tourism as a whole. You'll realize that acknowledging the culture and being respectful towards the place will reduce the risks of you inadvertently offending the local community. Learning a bit of the language can get you far: make sure you know key phrases like "Hello, how are you?" or "How do I get to XYZ".
And finally... Do keep up your sustainable mentality at home. Whether it is on an environmental, social, or economic level, all the habits you've developed abroad can be applied to your everyday life and make more of an impact than you would think.