In 2018, we’ve seen a much stronger focus on developing more sustainable habits in our lives, and travel was no exception. However, let’s make 2019 an even greener year in terms of what we can do when visiting Mother Nature’s finest mountainous regions to truly live up to our own sustainable expectations and make a more positive impact with our traveling behavior.
If you’re a skiing fanatic or a hiking aficionado, you can use the following five tips to green up your travel methods and your attitude during your mountain adventures to make sure you’ve done your best to preserve the environment you enjoy so much!
Eco-friendly accommodation options
Long gone are the days of massive hotels with little to no awareness of their surroundings, made exclusively to serve one purpose: to attract more guests no matter the cost for nature. We are now entering a new era, one brimming with opportunities for sustainable lodging options, especially in countries where their local natural wealth is under strict governmental protection.
However, you can make your own decision to stay in a bungalow, a cabin, or a local home that boasts sustainable practices from start to finish. Proud of their alpine riches, many French, Swiss, and Austrian resorts boast unparalleled renewable energy programs that help protect their astounding ecosystems.
Hit the road – on foot as much as possible
In addition to carefully choosing where you stay so that your rooms inherently lower your carbon footprint, you can make sure that your own sightseeing and mingling doesn’t endanger any natural gems. For example, you can invest in a pair of sturdy snow shoes and hike from one location to another. That way, you won’t only prevent overuse of motorized vehicles, but see and absorb more of your destination’s untamed beauty.
If you do, for any reason, need to rent a car and drive from time to time, look into greener options such as electric or hybrid vehicles in the local rental agencies. Do some research before you go, and this may become one of those “deal-breakers” in case a certain destination has no eco-friendly rides to offer. Summer travels allow you to use bicycles, as well!
Switch from fine dining to local dining
It may not seem like that big of a deal if you head to a fancy restaurant and order a portion of squids while you’re in a ski resort, but inadvertently, millions of people support enormous environmental damage by not eating local goods. How? Because of the incredible fuel consumption and plastic packaging needed to go into the process of importing food from other parts of the world, or even the country.
Instead, you can look into stores and restaurants that use local farmers’ produce and are upfront with their policies. That will help support the local economy, you’ll not add to the already dangerous carbon footprint of such practices, and you’ll raise awareness.
What you do before you even board the plane (or preferably a train or a bus) also has an impact on how green your travels can get. The lighter your bags are, or if you can stick to one bag per journey, the lower your carbon footprint will be due to the lower fuel consumption.
If you do plan to pack anything “extra”, make it something meaningful. Organizations such as Pack for a Purpose can connect you to charities in need, and you can bring a few items that may seem irrelevant to you, but may boost a child’s quality of life somewhere in the developing world. Make those pounds count and remove any additions you know you won’t use!
Go the extra mile
If you do stick to our previous advice and you truly do your best to walk and cycle most of the time of your stay, kudos for such effort! However, this choice opens up a door of possibilities for your own impact and how you can make even more of a difference while you’re on foot.
To start with, you can bring glass or insulated water bottles that are reusable (not the plastic, throw-away kinds), bring your own reusable shopping bags, and finally, always carry some biodegradable garbage bags with your to collect any litter you come across during your mountain hikes. If every single one of us did more to clean up instead of litter, our world would be a far cleaner place for it.
We still have a long way to go in terms of traveling greener. However, you can use these tips to make sure your impact becomes more positive for the environment and add a whole new level of purpose and value to your globetrotting!
Author Bio: Zara Lewis is a regular contributor at TheWellnessInsider, a traveler and a mother of two. Originally from Chicago, she found her place in the sun in Perth, Australia. Passionate about spreading the word about fantastic places to visit and creating a better world for the generations to come.
Background image: @garrettsears on Unsplash, Feature image: firstname.lastname@example.org, Gallery Image 1 – Eco-friendly accommodation: Patrick Tomasso on Unsplash, Gallery Image 2 – Eat local food: jill111 on pixabay, Gallery Image 3 – Make a difference: Shirley810 on pixabay