Today’s Solutions: June 30, 2022

We all love to travel, to visit the various corners of the world that play host to Earth’s greatest wonders. In 2016 alone, over a billion people took a tourist trip abroad—more than double the number of just 20 years ago. And while it only makes sense that people want to leave their hometowns for an exciting excursion elsewhere, the problem is that tourism takes a massive toll on the planet and the people who live in tourist destinations—from depleting local natural resources and creating pollution to encouraging inequality. Yes, tourism can be disastrous for the planet, but if you take into account the following tips, you can take a trip that won’t hurt the environment and our fellow inhabitants. First, be aware of your impact. Understanding the issues around travel and associated power inequalities is the first step to moving mindfully in the world. Second, explore closer to home. White sand beaches and turquoise swimming pools are an Instagram staple, but it’s worth remembering that there’s a whole universe on your doorstep just waiting to be discovered. Third, find alternatives to ‘at risk’ places. A number of destinations, such as Scotland’s Isle of Skye and Italy’s Cinque Terre, are actively discouraging visitors, and many more are grappling publicly with overcrowding. Get creative with your trip planning and find somewhere that’s more likely to benefit from your visit. Fourth, travel in the offseason. Not everyone has the option to travel outside of the school holidays and other peak times,  but if you do have that flexibility, there are lots of advantages to doing so—such as fewer people and lower costs. Lastly, don’t fly! Nothing is worse for the planet than taking to the skies when you travel.

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