We are used to dream big, in particular when it comes to plan our next vacation. We start the decision making process thinking to travel for many days, to go far away from home, to stay in accomodation where we’d get spoiled, and so on. However, soon enough the reality wakes us up, when we realize that we have a limited number of days off and/or that prices are higher than expected.
Well, the good news are that some insights on sustainable traveling might support us in choosing our destination and accommodations wisely.
Here you find a few suggestions as food for thought when you start planning your next vacation:

Avoid the popular destinations also known for the negative effects the tourism has on the local culture and environment. This does not mean you should give up on your desires, but simply think out of the box. Let’s assume you are a European citizen and, in your next holiday, you are looking for a long tongue of sand in a crystalline sea. Well, you do not (necessarily) need to fly all the way to Maldives or Saint-Domingo. Rather check out these amazing, closer, cheaper places:

Often what we want is closer than expected, it’s just a matter of being able to see it.

Be wise enough to avoid huge all-inclusive resorts. In most cases they are controlled by non-local corporations that bought the land for a small price and built massive hotel facilities with no concern about the local environment. These all-inclusive packages often consist of an abundance of food that will trigger you to endlessly eat or drink (which is very unhealthy) and that will ultimately create a lot of waste. Instead, stay in hotel facilities managed by locals or in their houses, which you can find searching on the web or asking to someone you might know, who did it before. Local people are able to share with you the best tips and tricks about the city, its surroundings, where to eat, have fun, and so on. It makes it easier to not feel like a stranger and, at the same time, to ensure that your money is distributed among the locals.
… From my experience in Cuba: i visited this amazing country for 3 weeks staying in Casas Particulares, houses of locals who rent you a private bedroom or even a part of their home. I have been in several of them, all comfortable (surely not luxurious but i had all what i needed) and always very clean. It gave me the chance to experience how Cuban families live, to talk to them while having breakfast or dinner all together (a basic knowledge of the Apanish language helped me a lot), to understand what they are willing to share only within the confidence of their home. On top of it, I was very happy to know that the payment of my accommodation was going to these families: my hosts, my friends.
Travel with small group tour operators, which tend to have less of an environmental impact. Membership in an organization like The International Ecotourism Society is a good sign that the tour operator tries to conduct itself in a responsible, sustainable manner. Have a look into it and get inspired by doing something different from the tours proposed by any travel guide.
Once there, honor local customs. Do a little research to get to know more about the cultural traditions and learn at least some key words that will help you interact with the locals. It will allow you to understand the context that surrounds you (why things look the way they do, based on the historical and political influences of the country) and, in general, to get the best (and the reality) out of the country you are visiting.


Federica Patrizi
Find out more about the Habits team here

Last content update:

October 06, 2017