New Year’s Resolutions: How To Travel Greener In 2016

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By Daniela Frendo 

We all make them, and break them. New Year’s resolutions tend to have a short-life span, be it the promise to exercise more, eat healthier food or spend less money; however, one common resolution that’s definitely not as daunting as the rest is the determination to travel more. In fact, it’s very likely that most of us have already made travel plans for the next few months.

So as we gear up for another adventure-packed year, here’s how we can compensate for all the broken resolutions by traveling ethically and responsibly in 2016.

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1. Buy Less, Experience More

Recent surveys suggest that more people are ditching flashy commodities for exhilarating experiences. Before forking out money for a new car or hitting the shops for the January sales, ask yourself what could really make you happy in 2016. Would you feel more fulfilled if you had to spend last year’s savings on volunteering abroad or going on a backpacking trip? The novelty of a new car or phone wears off after a few months, but travel experiences leave indelible marks in our lives.

This year, try orientating your trips around rich experiences. Instead of using your spending money on souvenirs, pay for a tour around a nature reserve, get on a bus to a remote mountain village or take diving classes.

This year, try orientating your trips around rich experiences to #travel more responsibly. #ttot #rttc Click To Tweet
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2. Choose Eco-Friendly Lodging 

As the problem of global warming continues to dominate the world, eco-friendly choices are becoming more popular among responsible travelers — especially in exotic destinations. When booking accommodation, run a search for eco-friendy hotels in your chosen destination. Although some tend to be slightly pricey, green hotels offer a more peaceful stay than mainstream resorts. Just be careful of greenwashing, where accommodations and tour operators make themselves appear more environmentally responsible than they really are. Try to read between the lines, read reviews by past guests on sites like TripAdvisor, and ask questions about if they’re hiring locally, sourcing locally and what specifically they’re doing to act more ethically.

Another eco-friendly accommodation choice is, quite simply, to pitch your own tent. Camping sites are cropping everywhere nowadays, and you’ll even find them on the outskirts of major cities. Always camp with a “leave no trace” mentality, making sure the person who comes after you can’t tell you were ever even there.

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3. Walk More

If you don’t have the time or energy to exercise after your 9-to-5 job, turn your trips into a physical yet enjoyable challenge. Climb mountains, hike through forests and explore big cities on foot. It’s not only great for your health, but allows you to truly feel the beat of your destination and is also an effective eco-conscious choice.

Avoid renting a car or riding a jeep if you’re fit enough for long-distance walking in safe environments. Trekking also helps you to fully absorb your surroundings and leaves you feeling revitalized.

If you don't have the time or energy to exercise after your 9-to-5 job, turn your trips into a physical yet enjoyable challenge. #travel #ttot #rttc Click To Tweet
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4.  Buy Recycled & Ethical Souvenirs

Some of us can’t resist the temptation to pop into a shop for souvenirs, but what we normally find is the usual cheesy t-shirts, tacky fridge magnets and cliched ornaments. The good news is that eco-friendly and ethical gift stores can be found in most cities, but you might have to look them up online — although if you’re spending a whole day wandering around a city you’re bound to comes across a shop selling Fair Trade foods and green gift ideas.

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5. Support Local Communities & Ethical Projects

Make 2016 the year of giving. Nothing makes a trip more rewarding than contributing to a good cause. Whether it involves a day working on an organic farm (check out WWOOFing) or visiting a women’s co-operative in developing regions, find a cause that you’re passionate about and fit it into your itinerary.

Supporting local communities and reputable charities and NGOs that put money and efforts where it’s really needed is a wonderful way of expressing our gratitude for being among the privileged few who can afford to travel in 2016.

Make 2016 the year of giving and making more responsible tourism choices on the road. #travel #rttc #ttot Click To Tweet

How will you travel more and travel responsibly in 2016? We’d love to hear in the comments below!


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Daniela Frendo is a travel writer and photographer from Malta. No matter how often she travels, she keeps breaking out in cold sweats at boarding gates. She is terrified of flying, but willing to try out stomach-churning delicacies wherever she goes. Her trips aren’t complete without doing a bit of trekking, experiencing local culture and getting a souvenir t-shirt.She has a degree in Communications and divides her time between teaching English and writing for different publications, including her own travel blog

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