Oh yeah, finally vacation, nothing to worry about, just relaxing in the sun, get your dinner cooked and your room cleaned by someone else. Jackpot!!! Jackpot??? Well, we certainly can discuss about the idea of a successful vacation. Everyone loves to spend his days differently.
But there is one thing we have in common…
No matter whether you go on a luxury trip or a backpacker adventure – we all leave our footprint. This is why we should keep in mind that we can do a lot to make our holiday more respectful and preserve our surroundings.
Minimize your ecological footprint and increase social sustainability
The following six points are certainly no new ideas or insights, but it never hurts to think about these things again and more important: implement them. Maybe it works a bit for you, like it does for me. Often I read things 9 times, but it needs a 10th time to let it click. I hope my post contributes to your click.
6 ways to make your holiday more sustainable
- Turn the water off
Sounds banal, but certainly not everyone is doing it – maybe not even on purpose. Whether it is brushing your teeth or taking a shower, you can save heaps of water – with a simple step: just turn it off. That also applies for home, of course ;). Sometimes we aren´t even aware of how many water we waste by not turning off the tap, when not needing water.
Do you already know the project “Stop the water while using me“?
- Use the “Do not disturb” sign
I admit this suggestion arises a bit from my own experience in housekeeping. Do you really need fresh towels every day, a professionally made bed and a dust-free floor? Really? Then you are quite spoilt and should change that NOW!
Seeing it from the social point it certainly is a matter of how the room service is being paid. If they are paid per room – also just for doing a quick service – then maybe it´s better to let them in. In general, however, I would like to say that the expenditure of time which they have with the occupied rooms is higher than the payment suggests. Saves the people a lot of work and the environment as well.
I always find the best, if you get directly in touch with the reception or the housekeeping to tell them a service is not necessary.
- Remove your waste
Especially during my semester abroad in Spain, I got a long-term first hand impression that worldwide there is still much to catch up on the topic of waste disposal. Example: the empty can of coke just is going to be thrown under a tree. I still get goose bumps thinking about that. But it is simply commonplace in some regions and countries. The more important it is that we – as tourists and travelers – do not leave our garbage as well. Clean up and be a role model!
- Don´t be too greedy at the buffet
Did you book an accommodation with breakfast, half-board or even all-inclusive? That´s awesome and you should enjoy your holiday. We all know how nice it is to enjoy a great buffet. But try not to be too greedy, do not let your eyes be bigger than your stomach. I´ve actually used to work at a hotel for some time and it simply was painful sometimes to see the buffet-tragedy. People load a high pile on their plates and finally only eat a quarter of it. “I´ve paid a lot of money, so I can do what I want” … really? You paid money to waste food? Of course hotels etc. generally have food left, but in the long term, food planning can only change and adapt when we set a sign. You may prefer to go to the buffet a second and third time, before you take so much right away, that you could probably be stuffed for two days. What do think?
- Leave the hotel
Locals can only benefit from your stay if you also financially leave a profit. You bring garbage and noise, so bring money too. Prefer local restaurants over the next fast food chain. Sure, you could argue now, the franchisee of McDonalds is also a local. But I´d like to assume that he´s got enough customers anyway. You understand what I’m going after. Also the local souvenir shop with its own handicraft is glad about your visit.
- Off the beaten track, but with respect
Especially young backpackers or some travel bloggers like to travel off the tourist routes. But that should definitely not be misunderstood. The curiosity of new experiences should be a must, and you certainly should go on a discovery tour. I just love to see where my intuition brings me (even often that leads me along alleys, where there is neither something to be seen or in which I really shouldn´t be;)). Travel guides are good clues, but often you experience a lot more if you don´t check off stubbornly every point on the list – just like everyone else. I find, however, that this “off the beaten track” motto is often praised too highly. As pointed out, the hundredth path in the forest need not be trampled, just so you don´t have to walk in the footsteps of others. Often it is quite enough if you enjoy some time with the locals and capture the famous photo spot not from the usual place, but just 50 meters off ;). Even visiting more exotic countries is connected to that. It is important to be off the beaten track, but paying respect for the environment, nature and the population should always be priority No 1.
The list could go on forever. In future I would like to try different things myself. This also includes staying at eco-hotels or choosing an electric vehicle as a rental car to. In contrast to my five proposals, these are also a matter of the budget. The subject of transport (evil plane, evil cruise ship?) is generally a different topic.
Do you have any experiences or ideas how to make our holidays more gentle and sustainable?