Sustainable travel should be more than a buzzword. It should be the default for how we set out to experience a new place, leaving a positive impact on the planet, people and animals. After all, there’s no point booking a holiday to explore the most sustainable travel destinations for 2022 if you don’t also take a green travel approach with you. But where to begin? Below we’ve come up with nine simple ways you can make your travel more sustainable in 2022, from what to think about before booking to green considerations to make while on the road.
Choose real, locally made souvenirs
Do you need that tacky fridge magnet? Instead why not consciously spend money buying local artwork, craft or something made by a skilled local artisan. When you travel you’ll come across creative people keeping ancient art forms alive and the best way to support them is buy a piece to take home. Imagine how special it will feel to display that new hand-painted vase, hand-stitched leather bag or new hand-woven cushion in your home.
Michelin starred dining with a green twist
If you’re a fine dining lover you might like to tick off a Michelin-starred restaurant or two while touring new cities and destinations. In 2020 the Michelin Guide launched a new type of star – a green star – to highlight incredible Michelin-level restaurants that are championing sustainability too. These special restaurants are at the forefront of the industry for sustainable practices, working directly with sustainable producers and suppliers to avoid waste.
Book a longer vacation
You don’t need to sail across the seas like Greta Thunberg, but thinking about the impact of air travel is a good place to start. Rather than plan lots of little adventures and half a dozen flights, be responsible for your travel footprint and choose a longer adventure instead. For example, instead of flying to Paris for a long weekend, plan a multi-week journey that takes you across France and Europe and cash in your annual leave for a grand adventure you’ll talk about for years to come. Why not knock over a few of our favourite sustainable travel destinations for 2022 while you’re there?
GET INSPIRED BY: Grand European
Choose green travel experiences
The activities you do and the impact they have matters. Is your tour guide local to the area? Is the money going to the local economy? Are the animals being treated ethically? Are the artisans being paid fairly? There is a lot to consider when booking experiences and activities on holiday to make sure you have a positive impact. It’s why Trafalgar makes it easy with MAKE TRAVEL MATTER® Experiences, which have been hand-picked and vetted to have a positive impact on the environment, people and places you visit.
BE INSPIRED: 7 questions with Trafalgar’s sustainability officer Gemma Myhill
Skip the cruise
When it comes to sustainable travel, cruising doesn’t quite tick the box. As most cruises are all-inclusive, travellers visiting popular destinations by cruise ship put pressure on attractions and services without giving back as much to the local economy. Sleeping aboard the ship means not using local hotels and hotel staff. Meals served on board means no need to spend at local cafes and restaurants. On top of that, cruise ships are massive and dump huge amounts of waste that destroy marine ecosystems
GET INSPIRED BY: European Supreme
Share the joy of travel
You can still experience the thrill of a shared adventure and meet like-minded travellers while exploring the best travel destinations to visit in 2022. Rather than fly from city to city or take a private car between destinations, choose to travel by public transport or join a group tour that travels via land. The majority of Trafalgar tours use state-of-the-art coaches to travel between cities and destinations and travelling as a group makes your footprint lower than any other means.
The best thing you can eat on vacation? Whatever the locals are having. Drink the local beer, ask for the region’s wine and enjoy whatever local dishes, meat or seasonal vegetables are on offer. Local food will be fresher, healthier and tastier than frozen hamburgers and pizza, plus you’ll be supporting the local network of food producers and farmers and keeping those food miles low. You can take your responsible travel a step further and seek out restaurants that label themselves as sustainable, who work with local producers or that have vegan and vegetarian options too.
Offset your travel
When you want to reach far-flung destinations (without spending months on a ship!) you have to fly. Of course, planes produce a huge amount of emissions so one way to explore the world more sustainably is to offset your carbon footprint. Plenty of airlines will offer the chance to offset your flight while purchasing tickets, or you can use not-for-profit organisations like Carbonfund.org or Tomorrow’s Air.
Reduce, reuse, recycle
Two simple things you can pack to reduce your reliance on single-use plastic? A tote bag and a reusable drink bottle. There’s no point seeking out the most sustainable travel destinations for 2022 if you don’t think ahead and arrive prepared to say no to plastic. During the 2021 monsoon season in Bali, some 60 tonnes of plastic waste washed ashore – an issue of insufficient infrastructure and overtourism. Bali receives some 16 million visitors a year who produce 3.5 times the amount of garbage compared to locals, says the Bali Partnership.
Curious to learn more about Trafalgar’s approach to green travel? Our five-year sustainability strategy – called How We Tread Right – is based around 11 goals that align with the UN Global Goals for Sustainable Development. Between now and 2025 we’ll be working hard both at HQ and on the ground to reach these ambitious goals and have a positive impact.
Do you have any other sustainable travel tips to share with us? Leave a comment…