Sunny days soaking up the warm rays while dipping into the pristine ocean water is the dream! We all can appreciate the joyful feeling we get at the beach; it gives us exciting adventures and great tans! But, have you ever stopped to think about what we give back? Or how to have a sustainable beach trip?
We live in a crucial era where our decisions impact our home, our beautiful blue planet. Our vacation choices are one of them. Beach trips attract thousands of people each year, contributing to an increase in greenhouse gases. Planning a sustainable beach trip is a great way to offset our carbon footprint and do our part.
The tourism industry generates economic growth, providing jobs and strengthening the finances of cities and entire countries. Undoubtedly, its influence is positive; however, the rapid growth has left behind a hefty carbon footprint over the past years. The good news is that the industry is moving one step closer to sustainable tourism every day. As travelers, we are a vital part of the system and our choices matter. Let’s make them count for the good of our planet.
How do You Make a Trip Sustainable?
More than ever, there are many efforts made toward sustainable travel. The most urgent matter is to minimize the environmental footprint of the tourism industry by finding creative solutions to operate without increasing carbon emissions while continuing to support local communities, protect ecosystems, and offer the latest travel commodities.
Join the effort and make your vacation a sustainable beach trip this year. There are many small and not-so-small ways to make a difference and give back to our beautiful planet. Here are 10 actions that will make a difference on your next vacation.
What are 10 Sustainable Practices?
Take Longer Vacations
Taking multiple short trips a year equals more air travel which means a higher carbon footprint. Plan more extended vacation periods, fewer times a year, and consider staying in one place. Being on the constant go and trying to fit all the famous sites in one quick trip will only increase stress and carbon emissions. Enjoy the destination spot you select, immerse in the surrounding community, local culture, and flavors, and chill out without any bucket list expectations.
Select Accommodations on a Sustainable Path
Review the sustainable practices of the resort you select. Each day the community of hotels and resorts invest in offsetting their environmental impact grows. Many have started with actions such as substituting small plastic toiletries for large bottle shampoos, soaps, and lotions. Or by placing water filters to avoid plastic bottled water, heating with solar panels, and lights controlled by motion sensors.
Save Water and Energy, Turn Off the Switch!
Simple actions like hanging up your towels to signal that you will reuse them and placing the Do Not Disturb sign on your door to bypass cleaning for a day or two can make a difference. These measures save tons of water and energy that would otherwise go into washing linens and towels daily.
To avoid wasting energy, many hotels now use the same magnetic key that opens the door to turn on the power in your room, ensuring no lights are left on while you are out. If your resort does not have this feature, don’t forget to do so yourself, it will make a difference in energy consumption.
Bring Your Own Reusable Water Bottle
Plastic is one of the biggest and worst polluters of our oceans. Each year 8 billion tons of plastic make it into our seas, seriously damaging the fragile marine ecosystem. Single-use plastic is a problem we can all pitch in to alleviate; carry a reusable water bottle, cloth tote bags, skip the straws and bring your reusable containers. We can all adopt these simple yet powerful solutions during our sustainable beach trip.
Use Non-Toxic Sunscreen only
Scientists have found that two common chemicals in traditional sunscreens, oxybenzone and octinoxate, are highly toxic and harmful to coral reefs and other marine life. Thankfully, today you can find great environmentally safe alternatives on the market, such as mineral sunscreens. Many hotel shops now offer these options if you do not bring your own.
Pick up Some Trash, the Beach will Thank You
It might seem more common sense than a sustainable tip, but people still go to the beach daily and leave their mess behind. Sadly, we all know where the trash ends up. We have seen those heartbreaking videos of sea turtles with plastic six-pack wrappers stuck around their heads or straws in their noses. Most beaches have designated trash bins to keep the junk out of the ocean. If you see someone else’s trash left behind, please pick it up; the beach will thank you.
Break Down Sandcastles and Fill the Sand Holes
A favorite family beach activity is building sandcastles and digging dad-sized holes in the sand. But did you know newborn sea turtles must venture from land to sea as part of their life cycle? And have difficulty getting to the water when they get stuck in a pit or must climb a mountain of sand left behind on their path to the ocean. So, before you leave, don’t forget to level out your creations and fill in any holes. These small actions make your trip a sustainable beach trip, and these incredible little creatures have a better chance of living.
Support Local businesses
Choosing to buy from artisans, local shops, restaurants, and transportation ensures your money stays in the community. Smaller businesses produce less waste. Your decision to remain local positively impacts the region’s economy and connects you with the local culture.
Choose Eco-Friendly Tour Companies
Not all tour companies are created equal. Some are more committed to reducing carbon emissions than others, with practices that respect the region’s biodiversity. Find out which tours are at the forefront of sustainability, so you can enjoy your eco-tours knowing you contribute to sustainable tourism.
Carbon Offset Program
Most travel still generates considerable greenhouse gas emissions despite all efforts to have a sustainable beach trip. An excellent way to balance out the carbon footprint produced on your trip is to support a carbon offset program. Invest in a program making a difference in favor of the planet, such as protecting a forest from being cut down or creating alternative fuel options. There are many programs committed to a cleaner earth and it just takes a few clicks to find the perfect one for you.
Finally, let us always remember the health of our planet is our top priority. And since travel will always make our souls happy, we must step in and do our part to alleviate our carbon footprint by planning our vacations as sustainable beach trips that only leave behind footprints in the sand.