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What Does Sustainable Travel Mean?

April 25, 2023

Originally posted in the Daily Local News

Sustainability. We hear that term a lot, don’t we? More than ever, folks are noticing their impact on Mother Nature and looking for better ways to care for her. I’m sure most of us could rattle off several key areas where sustainability has crept into the spotlight in recent years. Would sustainable travel make your list? That’s right, sustainable travel. Believe it or not, it’s one of the top travel trends of 2023! As an employee of a personal care home founded upon Quaker values, two of which are stewardship—not only of the things we own and use but also stewardship of the Earth—and community, my curiosity was naturally piqued. What is sustainable travel all about, anyway? Because if there’s a way to see the world while simultaneously taking care of it and its many inhabitants, I’m all for it!

Sustainability in where you stay

Certified sustainable hotels and resorts practice things like water and energy conservation, serving locally grown food, and employing local workers at living wages. To achieve this status, they must adhere to a set of global standards. You can find information on how to locate certified sustainable hotels internationally here as well as get a glimpse of a few beautiful, sustainable hotels across the United States here.

Sustainability in how you get there

Tourism-related transportation creates a big carbon footprint—the number of greenhouse gases released into the atmosphere. Train travel is the most sustainable mode of transportation, but for many travelers, taking an airplane or car is unavoidable. In this case, you can buy carbon offsets. When you buy a carbon offset, you’re basically funding an increase in carbon storage elsewhere else in the world, like planting trees.

Sustainability in what you do there

Besides the obvious things like turning off lights, consider activities in the community that put money back into the local economy. The benefits of this are twofold: you’ll get a unique, out-of-the-ordinary travel experience, and your spending will support the individuals and families who live and work there.

Sustainability in what you bring home

When it comes to souvenirs, opt for handmade goods that are produced locally. You really can’t get those anywhere else, plus you’re once again supporting the local economy!

No matter where you’re headed, it’s always a good idea to talk to your doctor beforehand about any health considerations that may be affected by travel and review your health insurance coverage should you need it while you’re away from home and your local healthcare network. Happy sustainable travels!

The Hickman is a senior living community located in the heart of West Chester, Pennsylvania. Guided by Quaker principles and traditions that value all life and welcome diversity, The Hickman offers individualized care allowing older adults the opportunity to enjoy a productive life and to explore the richness of all of life’s possibilities.

Jennifer Singley, MGS
jsingley@thehickman.org