Five ways to make your summer travel more sustainable

frog with suitcase

Bee + Hive, a not-for-profit global sustainable tourism association which unites hotels, restaurants and parks that embrace sustainable practices and experiences has simple tips to help even traditional travellers reduce their footprint.

Below, the organization’s founder, Bruno Correa, offers some tips for a sustainable trip this summer.

Use local suppliers

For every $100 spent on an international trip, only five per cent stays in the country visited. By prioritizing and choosing local suppliers of services and products, you can ensure that the local community shares the economic benefits of tourism.

Move around

Try walking or biking whenever possible. You will not only reduce the carbon footprint of your trip, but when you take a car or bus or, worse yet, the subway, you miss many details that make your local experience truly unique. Always ask the hotel how to go about it, and the no-go areas.

Reduce plastic consumption

Whenever possible, take you own refillable cup instead of ordering plastic bottles every time you need a sip. At restaurants, order your drinks “with no straws, please” — remember they do not want to offer straws, and it is a cost for them as much as it is a problem to the environment. If they get enough requests to avoid straws, they will gladly cut them from their service.

Find out what is unique about where you are and seize it

There is no point in going to a different place and doing something you could do back at home (yes, Big Mac I’m talking to you). Your trip can begin months before you visit the place — researching is a great way to anticipate the excitement, and it also lets you find out what is truly unique about where you are going. Consult with your travel agency, hotel concierge, or local connections to avoid pitfalls. Look for the local alternatives instead of settling for the “safe” choices.

Be curious

Upon arriving at the destination — if the local culture allows for it — talk to a local, asking questions “How’s [insert destination] these days? The weather?” Unless you have the bad luck of getting someone in a bad mood, you’ll be surprised by how much this small talk informs you about the place. Don’t be shy to ask about the idiosyncrasies of the destination, its history and what motivates residents. In general, locals are very proud of their traditions and cultures, and will be very happy and proud to share with you their views.

Bee + Hive’s origins lie in Correa’s’s first-hand knowledge developing sustainable experiences. Belonging to a successful hotelier family, for over a decade Correa has helped launch and run boutique hotels which have positively impacted their local areas.  In one case, boutique hotel Pousada Literaria de Paraty in Brazil replanted 21,000 trees to regenerate a neglected environment, which in turn attracted a plethora of birdlife. This transformed the site into the country’s first private bird reserve, enhancing the local wildlife and the community. Such inspiring action, coupled with Correa’s experience witnessing other sustainable initiatives led by luxury boutique properties, has resulted in the launch of Bee + Hive.

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