Stride climate

How to be a More Eco-Friendly Traveler

By Stride Team
July 29, 2019

At Stride, we are passionate about helping people explore the world. To see incredible places, and meet and interact with people from all different cultures.

One of the topics at the forefront of travel today is climate change, and how many of these popular travel destinations and local communities are being affected. 

A new trend of “last chance tourism” sees travelers flocking to see places before they’re gone, or at least before they look unrecognizable from our grandparents postcards.

Our hope is that by encouraging travel to some of our planets most beautiful yet most threatened destinations, we can all continue to enjoy them for longer. 

As people gain insight into just how dramatically climate change is disrupting major sites, they can begin to travel more responsibly themselves, make small changes within their own homes and communities, and spread the word about why climate change and travel matter.

Why Go Now?

Large ice wall in Antarctica

It’s important not to avoid visiting places impacted by Climate Change. Both because they won’t look the same forever and also because for a number of these destinations, the local economies rely heavily on tourism. 

Not only are the natural surroundings and historic buildings at risk, the living breathing population is as well. 

So if you need a nudge in prioritizing your growing bucket list, we encourage taking a look at these threatened destinations first.

10 Simple Ways You Can Be a More Eco-Friendly Traveler

Young traveler in rainforest with small tour group

Traveling by itself only solves part of the equation - and some would argue cancels out the good by introducing more carbon emissions into the atmosphere, thereby contributing to the problem.

But there are some ways to counteract this. Simple steps you can take to make sure you travel responsibly and sustainably.

1. Embrace Reusable - One of the easiest ways to have a positive impact as a traveler is to always carry reusable items, minimizing your use of plastic. Today there are numerous styles of travel friendly reusable straws, cutlery, water bottles, towels (designed to be quick dry so you don’t overuse water) and more.

2. Use public transportation - Not only will you get to enjoy a glimpse into local life when you use public transportation, you are helping keep one more car off the road. Most public transit systems offer a variety of prices and durations. 

Public transportation in London

3. Book nonstop flights where possible - Air travel is a necessary evil (or joy depending on how much you like airports) for international trips. And it is one of the more visible contributors to our changing climate. However if more people booked non-stop as opposed to multiple layovers, the carbon emissions created from take off and landing would be fewer. 

4. Use IATA member airlines - The IATA (International Air Transport Association) is an organization dedicated to helping airlines improve their fuel economy and operate in as eco friendly a way as possible. They are also actively working on redesigning aircrafts and researching alternative fuel options.  

Fuel efficient air travel

5. Do Not Disturb - When staying in hotels, use the Do Not Disturb sign whenever you leave for the day. The hotel staff will skip cleaning until the end of your stay, lessening the use of chemicals and water for laundry.

6. Purchase locally crafted and manufactured souvenirs - When you buy local not only are you supporting the artisans and merchants directly, you’re also encouraging less air travel in the way of merchandise that is flown in from other destinations.

Young traveler with one suitcase in airport

7. Pack light - Every extra kilo counts when traveling. It may not seem it, but the lighter you pack, the fewer carbon emissions the plane will emit. Some top things to consider leaving at home: hairdryers, straighteners, bulky adaptors, heavy shoes, and if you’re debating between bringing one sweater or two, opt for one.

8. Help wildlife stay wild - As much as you may want to pet a tiger or touch undersea coral, this can have incredibly harmful effects on the fragile ecosystems as well as help promote unethical tourism practices. 

Brown bear cub in the wild

9. Travel with small group tour operators - traveling in a guided group has many benefits. Firstly, you’re traveling in one vehicle as opposed to several rental cars. Secondly, guides are a wealth of information about the surrounding area, highlighting how the environment impacts local cultures, histories, craftsmanship, etc. Lastly, it’s a great way to meet like minded people and create lasting friendships!

Small tour group on sustainable travel trip in south america

10. Give Back - Seek out tour companies that actively give back to local economies and incorporate various volunteer opportunities into their itineraries. This can mean things like planting community gardens, assisting with forest or beach clean up, and even helping ensure turtle hatchlings make it to the ocean!

You can also opt in to the Stride Gives Back program. We will donate 10% of our revenue to organizations that work to allieviate the special issues faced by the below destinations due to climate change. Opt in and find out more »

10 Destinations Threatened by Climate Change

When you opt in to the Stride’s Give Back program, we will donate 10% of our revenue to various  organizations that aim to alleviate a specific destination’s unique environmental issues.

1. Greenland

Rapidly melting sea ice and glaciers are dramatically transforming Greenland’s landscape. Trillions of tons has already been lost from Greenland’s ice sheet, reservoirs and glaciers which continue to melt at an increased rate.

Rising temperatures mean a total shift in the landscape of Greenland. Unpredictable weather has made some regions unreachable. Each year, decreased snowfall and ice separate the land, reconstructing the environment. 

If all of Greenland’s ice sheets completely melted, global sea levels could rise by 23 feet, enough to displace billions of people globally.

Many areas have already been rendered unrecognizable to locals. Additionally, normal activities like fishing and dog sledding (a popular tourist activity) are now impossible - impacting the local economy.

2. Easter Island, Chile

Statues on Easter Island off Chilean coast

The Moai statues of the Eastern Islands, located off the Chilean coast, are one of the six heritage sites most vulnerable to climate change in the world, according to a UNESCO report.Rising sea levels, land erosion and a floating mass of garbage, known as the “South Pacific Garbage Patch,” threaten the island’s ecosystem and iconic Moai statues. 

Roughly 6,000 people live on Easter Island. They are heavily dependent on tourism which sustains their local economy. However, there is a dark side to this. Tourism to Easter Island depends on cruise ships which contribute to pollution in the area.

3. Great Barrier Reef, Australia

Rising ocean temperatures and increased pollution are causing coral bleaching and creating inhospitable environments for thousands of diverse species. 

Clown fish in the great barrier reef Australia

Coral that is more sensitive to the increased water temperatures have not survived and the remaining community is becoming increasingly homogenized.

The Reef provides 64,000 jobs and 6.4 billion dollars to the Australian economy - figures that will die out with the reef in years to come.

4. Amazon Rainforest, Brazil

The Amazon’s incredible biodiversity depends on many factors to maintain a delicate ecosystem balance. This balance is threatened by deforestation which contributes to rising temperatures and drier conditions than rainforest dwellers can survive in. 

Beautiful aerial view of amazon river and rainforest in Brazil

Scientists predict that 55% of the Amazon rainforest will be severely damaged by the year 2030. Still, tourism is a potential solution.

The more people visit the more work and entrepreneurial opportunities are created for locals in the area. And the survival of rainforest life is made a more pressing and valuable issue through ecotourism.

5. Mt Kilimanjaro, Tanzania

Full snow at the top of Kilimanjaro in Tanzania

The glaciers around Mt. Kilimanjaro’s peak are retreating at an unprecedented rate. This is causing strain on local farmers who rely on glacial streams for irrigation and to support their crops and livestock.

Kilimanjaro is a fixture of the Tanzania skyline, and making it to the top is many a hiking enthusiasts dream. Numerous tour companies add Kilimanjaro as an extension for Tanzania tours, or offer the hike itself as the main event.

6. Dead Sea, Jordan and Israel 

A very popular tourist attraction for travelers in the Middle East, the Dead Sea is famous for its high saline content which creates a feeling of complete weightlessness. 

Rising global temperatures are causing rapid evaporation of the waters, meaning that The Dead Sea has been dropping continuously at nearly one meter per year. This is negatively impacting tourism in the area, as well as the local agriculture.

7. Patagonia, Argentina & Chile

With glaciers quickly retreating and breaking apart from global warming trends, the region’s ecosystem is threatened. The famous blue ice and packs of snow are in danger of disappearing from lower rainfall and rising temperatures.

Many more tour companies, both local South American operators and global operators,  have started to visit Patagonia and it is possible to do so without hardcore hiking or camping. Plan your visit soon to see the Patagonia glaciers in their full glory.

8. Rhone Valley, France

Climate change not only has devastating effects on our planet's natural resources and landscapes. It can have enormous implications for local industries as well. 

Lush green rhone valley in France

The Rhone Valley in France is one of the world’s premier wine destinations, famous for producing “GSM” varietals (Grenache, Syrah, Mourvedre) among many others. The wine industry and vineyard tourism is also the main source of income for many Rhone Valley locals. 

A steady decrease in glacial meltwater from the Alps is causing widespread drought, harming the region’s ecosystem and economy.

9. Antarctica

Antarctica’s vast ice shelves - a defining feature of its landscape - are melting. In fact there has been a loss of 25,000 km2 of ice shelf since the 1950s. Not only does this contribute to rising sea levels, it also leads to enormous worldwide shifts in climate and the elimination of the region’s biodiversity.

Some penguin species in Antarctica, including the Emperor Penguins, have experienced population declines of up to 50%.

10. Venice, Italy

Piazza in Venice Italy

Rising sea levels are drowning the historic city of Venice and destroying iconic structures. Each year, increased flooding damages historic sites including St. Mark's Basilica. Officials described the basilica as having “aged 20 years” in one day due to 35 inches of seawater damage.

An influx of large cruise ships that sail into Venice from the Adriatic also contribute to flooding throughout the city.

Houses and businesses built along the famous canals have been steadily sinking and could be under water by the year 2100.

Learn more about these destinations »

Top 10 Trips to Destinations Threatened by Climate Change

These trips are all included in the Stride Gives Back program.

See the full list of trips here »

1. Essential Greenland by Exodus

Colorful small houses in Greenland

Exodus is known for their adventurous outdoors focused itineraries, with a certain level of comfort thrown in. 

This trip takes you to some of Greenland’s most stunning landscapes learning along the way about the natural geology and ecology that makes Greenland so unique. Expect to be out on the water a lot as well as do a lot of hiking. You’ll also be visiting some traditional local towns and villages.

Exodus tour reviews »

2. Easter Island & Patagonia by Lost World Adventures

Easter Island statues at sunset

This trip takes you to two destinations impacted by climate change, Easter Island and Patagonia. Lost World Adventures provides boutique, custom, and private luxury trips in South America

This trip is perfect for couples or families who like a lot of flexibility. In depth guided excursions around Easter Island and Patagonia will give background into the history, culture, and natural surroundings in each destination. 

Lost World Adventures Reviews »

3. East Coast Islands & Rainforest by Trafalgar

snorkeling trip on Great Barrier Reef in Australia

Indulge in Australia's natural beauty on this 13 day trip that explores the beautiful North West coast and jungle of the country. 

End on a high note in the Great Barrier Reef on board a boat with a semi-submersible observatory. 

Trafalgar is a popular tour operator for older travelers seeking comfortable transportation and accommodation but don’t need anything outlandish. This trip includes a fair amount of outdoor activity, but plenty of opportunities to relax as well. 

Trafalgar Reviews »

4. Amazon Rainforest Adventure by ROW Adventures

Bright macaws flying over amazon rainforest

Experience the wonders of the Amazon through cruising, canoeing and engaging with indigenous people. You’ll also stay in community owned eco-lodges, contributing to the conservation efforts in the Amazon.

ROW trips are very conscious of the environment - learning about the surrounding landscapes and wildlife are a key component of every trip.

ROW Adventures Reviews »

5. Mt Kilimanjaro Trek - Lemosho Route by G Adventures

Group of hikers on G Adventures mount Kilimanjaro tour

Explore what makes Mt. Kilimanjaro so unique as you climb to the top via the Lemosho Route with G Adventures. There are six main routes up Kilimanjaro, ranging in difficulty and scenery, as well as cost. Lemosho is widely considered the most beautiful route.

The Lemosho Route is challenging but like the Inca Trail, with some training beforehand, it can be accessible for a wide range of physical levels. This trip is 10 days long, allowing you to adjust to the altitude gradually as you climb.

G Adventures Reviews »

6. Iconic Israel by Collette

waters of Dead Sea in Israel

The Dead Sea is a very popular inclusion on tours that visit Jordan and Israel. Floating effortlessly with just a swimsuit on is one of the joys of taking a dip in the Dead Sea. Word of caution: if your skin is super smooth the salt can sting. If you have any cuts make sure they’re well covered before entering the water. 

This trip with Collette offers the option to swim or visit the AHAVA Visitors Center which provides an opportunity to browse locally made products - particularly cosmetics - from the Dead Sea resources. 

Collette Reviews »

7. Patagonia Adventure by World Expeditions

Bright blue icy glacier in patagonia

Take in the majesty of both Argentinian and Chilean Patagonia on this trip with World Expeditions. 

Well suited to travelers eager for a lot of activity out among the elements. There’s no camping on this trip, though. You’ll stay in simple hotels and lodges throughout your time in Patagonia.

World Expeditions Reviews »

8. Rhone River Cruise Biking by Butterfield & Robinson

Biking in the Rhone Valley with Butterfield and Robinson

One of the more iconic ways to travel through Europe is by bicycle. Renowned luxury cycling tour company Butterfield & Robinson is a classic choice for travelers looking for a balance of comfort and activity.

On this eight day trip you’ll be treated to wine tastings in the Rhone Valley, and ride through beautiful French vineyards for an unforgettable experience.

Butterfield & Robinson Reviews »

9. Antarctica: Antarctica Cruise Expedition by Smartours

small iceberg sighting antarctica cruise

Particularly for travelers concerned about seeing climate change affected destinations before their gone, Antarctica has become more popular and easier to get to in recent years. 

On most Antarctica cruises, including this one from Smartours, you’ll have the opportunity to observe and learn about in depth the wildlife that makes Antarctica home. Highlighting even more the many beings impacted by climate change.

Note: this cruise sails through the Drake Passage which is known for extremely rough waters. If you are especially prone to sea sickness, look into Antarctica cruises that “fly the Drake” such as this one from Exodus.

10. Venice: Italy’s Great Cities by STORY Land & Sea

gondola in venice

When visiting Italy, particularly for the first time, the “Big Three” should definitely be on your list: Florence, Rome and Venice. Most tours of Italy include these stops in their itineraries, two to three days in each on average. 

This trip from STORY Land & Sea spends three full days exploring with a number of unique excursions that highlight the incredible history to be found in Venice. Don’t worry, though. A gondola ride is most definitely included as well.

STORY Land & Sea Reviews »


 

Want to help?

Opt in to the Stride Gives Back program and choose any eligible trip to our ten chosen destinations. 

10% of our revenue will go to a variety of not-for-profit organizations to fund local efforts in vulnerable areas and that aim to ensure well-traveled places thrive ecologically, economically, and socially.

See all eligible trips »

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