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Fri 13 August 2021

Conscious Travel

Many of us wonder how we can be more sustainable when traveling. Sensitive to the impact our individual choices make, travelers want vacation options that reduce environmental impact while making positive social change.

While traveling, we can go on “impact initiatives”. One example is the Open Farm experiences, where we can go to different farms around Greece, stay there while cultivating the land, learning about regenerative agriculture, helping out and generally giving back. On an international note, one option is Global Himalayan Expedition (GHE), for do-good tourists who help to electrify remote Himalayan villages by building solar microgrids.

Moreover, we can choose to stay in sustainable accommodation options. There are now “energy- positive” hotels that produce more power than they consume, that are powered by renewable resources or that support local communities. In Greece, on the amazing Cycladic island of Tinos there are eco-lodges like Tinos Ecolodge that provides an eco-friendly tourist destination, using the natural resources of the island in a sustainable way and creating an autonomous, state of the art, off-grid system. Luxury hotel operator Six Senses is considered a pioneer in sustainable tourism. Each of its resorts and spas around the world boasts its own Sustainability Fund to support social causes, such as providing clean water, which benefits the local community. Its properties are also eco-friendly. The newest is solar-powered, having built the largest microgrid in Fiji using Tesla batteries.

When enjoying our days during holidays, we can also minimize our impact. We can choose to carry reusable bottles for water and reusable cutlery to the beach, or do activities similar to forest bathing, which aims to let nature enter the body through all five senses and often involves hiking, tasting natural ingredients such as root teas, and smelling plants. The practice has been scientifically proven to lower heart rate and blood pressure, and even boost immune system function. For those who want to give something back to nature, plogging might be the answer. It involves picking up litter while jogging, combining exercising in nature with doing something worthwhile.

Finally, considering our transportation options can largely lower our environmental footprint: choosing ground transportation vs flying when possible, or at least compensating for our carbon emissions when flying. Most airlines nowadays offer a lot of options in this area.