How You Can be Part of Sustainable Travel NOW
By Allegra Lynch, President of Authentic Vacations
When we think of sustainable travel, what comes to mind is the energy we use to go from one place to another. Exciting prospects are on that horizon. At the last World Economic Forum, many attendees arrived in jets powered by SAF—Sustainable Aviation Fuel. This fuel comes from refined plants or waste products as opposed to fossil fuels—it’s a lot more earth-friendly. How about going electric? We’ll see that for short flights by the end of this decade.
But sustainable travel is so much more, and that more can offset the carbon footprint. We just need to be aware, and active, around the other important aspects of sustainability.
Being considerate of the environment and contributing to local businesses are huge parts of the sustainable equation. Positively impacting a society is, too—that includes teaching, helping a community achieve economic freedom, and medical care. But let’s talk about what we can all do right now.
Whether we’re traveling for business, taking a trip we’ve dreamed about forever, exploring with friends and family, or venturing out solo on a whim, we can actively support sustainability. Our checklist includes using local transportation and lodgings , diving into the culinary scene, shopping for items by area artists and craftspeople, and encouraging communication. (And each is a unique opportunity to create memories.)
Step out of the familiar. Immerse yourself in the people, nature, culture, and customs of the places you visit. Doing this sends your happiness quotient soaring, and it boosts the well-being of the area you’re discovering.
I’ve been travelling for decades—my parents got me off to an early start. I consider that to be an enormous stroke of good luck. Travel has taught me to move seamlessly through various cultures, both abroad and at home. It has supported my ability to face challenges while remaining calm. It makes me, I hope, a more understanding person.
Travel shapes us. We become resilient, self-confident and empathetic. These qualities serve us in our personal lives, but they also create healthy, global interactions. We truly are one. We see our differences disappear when we travel with people and understand their cultures.
My earliest memories are of back roads. They were green and twisted, punctuated by homes with peeling paint and families on the front porch. Roadside stands, with farm women selling fresh jams and juices, were always worth a stop. I remember one stand where an ancient man, who sparkled, sold his hand-carved red birds. (I still have mine.) The money he earned went into a tin coffee can, and you can bet that money was spent in the grocery store down the street.
My wish is for travelers to experience their vacations, even if they’re in a big city, as if they’re on a back road. I want them to dip into local cultures and see life through new eyes. Harmonious relations are definitely part of fostering a green world, and strong communities support our drive for innovation and need for security.
I encourage travelers to welcome awe. When we’re filled with wonder, two things happen: We don’t have anxiety—wonder and anxiety cannot co-exist, it’s simply impossible. Here’s the second thing that happens when wonder is a player: We feel deep appreciation for natural beauty and we want to protect it. Walk through an ancient grove in Scotland, see a reindeer herd, and tell me you don’t care what happens to them. I won’t believe you!
Consider experiences and places off the beaten path that boost locals. Natural wonders, vibrant food scenes, arts and crafts, homemade music and festivals, and unique wellness opportunities are all elements of sustainable travel.
Here’s how to be part of the sustainable travel movement:
- Buy local products.
- Use local guides.
- Avoid chain lodgings
- Support local economies. (St-Georges-Market_Belfast.jpg)
- Be a tidy traveler—don’t leave trash behind.
- Enjoy fresh-to-fork foods. (Mushroom-Foraging-Leitrim.jpg.)
- Look for flights with the fewest stops.
Last and definitely not least:
- Accept kindness and spread joy. Nothing creates a healthier planet.
Allegra Lynch is President of Authentic Vacations, the US brand of Tour Partner Group. She sits on the board of directors for Tour Partner Group, a multi-national collection of destination management companies headquartered in London. In her role as President, she uses the latest technologies, paired with unique local in-destination products, to provide authentic travel experiences, with an eye on customization, to travelers worldwide. Her goal is to build healthy relationships on every level of the travel industry. Her joy is to travel mindfully and with curiosity.
Authentic Vacations specializes in creating customizable itineraries, featuring a variety of authentic experiences and accommodations. All are carefully vetted to ensure that every client has a unique adventure, one that they choose. As a division of the esteemed Tour Partner Group (TPG), Authentic Vacations is a leading travel provider for destinations across the globe. With its culturally-diverse staff of travel experts, and offices in Dublin, London, Edinburgh, Copenhagen, Scottsdale, and San Francisco, Authentic Vacations offers a level of personalization and client support that is unsurpassed in the travel industry.