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Is eco travel really possible?

Level Contributor
31 posts
65 reviews
73 helpful votes
Is eco travel really possible?

Putting the question out there to see what people think.

Eco travel is a term getting used often now. We use it too.

But do you think that you can travel and really be eco?

We do things when we travel like:

-Fly as direct as possible

- Use natural and organic products

- Avoid single use plastics

- Do beach clean ups

- Educate and promote sustainable practices with locals when we get to places (try to encourage them to stop using plastic bags where they can etc.)

- We buy local when possible (local fruit markets, local beer instead of imported)

- Use reef safe sunscreen when snorkelling

- Avoid animal tourism shows etc.

But is that enough to be considered "eco travel"? There's no real definition. So wondering if anyone else out there has an opinion. Or has practices that they use or encourage others to use.

Wondering if the idea of travel is really that eco.

We'd like to do more travel by sail. Think that might be the most "eco" way to get around. Unless you ride a bike (but that can be a bit limiting).

Anyone tried using Crewbay or Findacrew to get around?


11 replies to this topic
West Vancouver...
Level Contributor
1,775 posts
1. Re: Is eco travel really possible?

My friend’s brother found a couple of people to crew; I’ll find out how. He’s in exotic locales, though, which makes it attractive.

As for cycling, a friend and I planned to cycle around France years ago but never got around to it. In the tentative planning it seemed feasible. Holland or other smaller countries would also work. Lots of European countries aren’t big.

United Kingdom
Level Contributor
5,595 posts
35 reviews
35 helpful votes
2. Re: Is eco travel really possible?

The easiest way of being "eco" is to avoid flying, particularly long flights. Those carbon emissions threaten the survival of society and civilisation, and not boarding a long flight is an easy way of reducing yours by 1000kg of CO2 or more.


West Vancouver...
Level Contributor
1,775 posts
3. Re: Is eco travel really possible?

Aside from travel which, for some destinations, does require airplane travel, it’s important to be eco- friendly in day-to-day life. That means each of us not using plastic bags but using reusable cloth bags for shopping, minimizing use of or not having a car – I don’t and don’t need one but that’s fortunate because of where I live. The one people don’t want to hear is not eating factory farmed meat which is basically all one can buy in a grocery store. One calorie of animal protein costs the planet over eight times the water than a calorie of plant protein, in addition to the carbon stress.

The original poster had some great ideas about how to minimize ecological impact while traveling. I agree a flight is a carbon hit but sometimes the knowledge gained from travelling is invaluable.

Specifically, I think about our trip to Iran which was only a few months after September 11. We learned a huge amount about a very diverse country and learned that what is on the news is not representative of the people themselves. We learned from our driver & family — good to employ someone local rather than flying all over the place – and I believe his family learned from us.

Finally, to avoid taking flights, one option is to book a very cheap ticket on a freighter ship. It’s going where it’s going anyway and the accommodations will not be like a cruise ship, but there will be no extra carbon hit as long as it goes where you want to go. Not every line offers this and obviously the destinations will be limited but it’s worth Googling.

Level Contributor
31 posts
65 reviews
73 helpful votes
4. Re: Is eco travel really possible?

That's for sure Martin C. Be ideal not to fly.

I read that there are some new aircraft that are running off electricity and due to come out in the net couple of years!

Edited: 5 years ago
Level Contributor
31 posts
65 reviews
73 helpful votes
5. Re: Is eco travel really possible?

Great idea Crystal.

I looked into catching a freighter once down in Argentina to get to Antartica.

Didn't work out unfortunately, but would be good to see other options around the world.

Sounds like a great experience in Iran too. So great to have real interactions when travelling and learn things (both ways).

Level Contributor
87 posts
6. Re: Is eco travel really possible?

I don't think a travel that is completely eco-friendly is possible, or at least it isn't so convenient. There has to be an initiative on the part of travel companies on this. Otherwise, we can resort to smaller actions such as the OP listed.

Level Contributor
49 posts
7. Re: Is eco travel really possible?

As long as people rely on planes for long distances then I don't think so. Eco is also very vague, but that isn't a case unique to traveling.

West Vancouver...
Level Contributor
1,775 posts
8. Re: Is eco travel really possible?

The absolute best when traveling, is language. I would suggest learning as many languages as possible. In Iran, I did not speak that language but spoke fluent Punjabi so was able to communicate.

Brisbane, Australia
Level Contributor
129 posts
263 reviews
131 helpful votes
9. Re: Is eco travel really possible?

Agree with Martin C. One return flight across the Atlantic generates 1.8 tonnes of CO2. I started travel blogging at the start of this year (as a hobby, wildlife and nature related) but after the Amazon fires started researching climate change and discovered that air travel was responsible for 2.5% of all carbon emissions. Although this is relatively insignificant compared to the farmed meat industry, for example, flying is still something we can't keep doing if wet want to avoid reaching an irreversible tipping point with climate change. I was listening to an interview with the Emirates CEO who states that the idea of electronic planes is still not viable as they can't produce enough energy to travel sufficient distances. Anyway, electric planes won't be developed in time to stop a climate crisis which may occur in the next 10 years. I also appreciate Crystal'sVancouver's view that the knowledge gained from travel is invaluable - my love of wildlife and now saving the planet stems from everything I've seen traveling.

We have stopped traveling overseas, at least for now. I am in the process of trying to put facts about travel and climate change on our travel blog. I thought about shutting down the site, but I thought I could do more good by leaving it running and trying to educate others. People will undoubtedly continue to travel, so if they stumble across our blog at least it might help them make more informed decisions about travel and the climate.

Most importantly I'm looking for opinions from people you, about what kind of information about carbon footprints and traveling I should put on our blog. The original poster has listed some excellent ideas.

What information about eco-travel would you like to see available on a travel website?

Edited: 4 years ago
Bengaluru, India
Level Contributor
61 posts
9 reviews
26 helpful votes
10. Re: Is eco travel really possible?

Ecotourism is all about going out into the natural world as opposed to cities and is more about what you do in a place than where you stay. Firstly it is important to know the difference between Green Tourism, Ecotourism And Sustainable Tourism : https://travel.earth/difference-between-eco-sustainable-and-green-tourism/

Also, if people are serious of following eco-travel, then here are a few eco-friendly apps that will help you place sustainability at the forefront while enjoying your vacation: https://travel.earth/5-eco-friendly-apps-to-make-you-a-conscious-traveller/

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