When it comes to travel trends in 2021, the one topic that keeps popping up over and over again is sustainable travel. It’s not new, but now, in the world with the pandemic, sustainable travel gets more and more attention as we move forward and look for ways to travel more responsibly. Big changes may be underway, but in the meantime, what can we all do to travel more sustainably? Here are some ideas.
Avoiding Tourist Hotspots
Overcrowding and mass tourism isn’t just bad for the planet, it’s bad for the locals. What’s the solution? Choosing destinations that aren’t overrun by tourists: if you’re riding Peru, instead of trying to make it to Machu Picchu, visit Kuelap. Traveling through Europe? Avoid capital cities and explore less popular regions instead. Want to see the Amazon basin? Choose the Yasuni National Park in Ecuador instead of the over-crowded Puerto Maldonado in Peru.
As overlanders, we’re already traveling slower than jet setters; still, we can reconsider the big bucket list destinations and journeys and explore more locally, or simply, slower, instead. As an example, making it to Ushuaia from the US in three months can be replaced by three months in Mexico and Guatemala; the London to Sydney odyssey sounds incredible, but exploring Central Asia for months on end can be just as satisfying. The slower you travel, the more you see, and that’s not a bad policy for traveling in 2021.
Locally Owned vs Chain Hotels
When booking your stays, try and find locally owned guesthouses and BnB’s rather than chain hotels – that way, you’ll be directly supporting locals rather than faceless international corporations. The same goes for eating local instead of McDonalds, shopping local instead of relying on big shopping malls, and booking tours with local guides and local motorcycle rental companies. Every little bit helps, and locals will welcome and appreciate you more if you immerse yourself in the local ways of life rather than hiding behind a bubble of familiarity in a Holiday Inn.
This one may be small, but it can all add up: swapping plastic for reusable containers can do good. A refillable metal water bottle, a canvas tote for groceries, and a reusable coffee cup won’t take up much space, but it will prevent you from using plastic excessively while on the road.
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