Can You Travel Sustainably?

Sometimes, you need to venture out a bit further than the hometown to get to the best surf spots. Trying out different breaks and discovering new beaches is a big part of improving your surfing abilities, but is there a way to do this without damaging the environment?

Here at Wetsuit Centre, we always try to show our respect to the environment we love, which is why we want to explore how we can continue to surf while being as eco-friendly as possible!

So, whether you're looking to buy wetsuits online, find the perfect surf spots or adopt environmentally-friendly habits, you can find it all here!

A van by the beach with a surfboard secured to the roof

Is Traveling Sustainable?

This question is usually asked with notes of optimism and hope.

To start with, sustainability is an incredibly complex concept. There is rarely a definitive yes or no answer. With that said, sustainable travel is an even more complicated concept that is often misrepresented and misunderstood.

However, there is some good news; Justin Francis, the CEO of Responsible Travel, has been reported saying "caring about sustainability doesn't mean giving up holidays altogether." This is an important factor as tourism has a massive impact on the global economy, employing one in ten people on the planet and helping to build (and sometimes rebuild) communities.

Carbon Offsetting

In an attempt to travel sustainably, carbon offsetting is sometimes used as a 'free pass' for travelling. Carbon offsetting is the practice of compensating for the carbon emissions that have been produced by an activity, such as catching an international plane.

Carbon offsetting is often used as an easy method of 'sustainable travel' instead of sourcing different methods that have more positive, long-term implications.

Means of Travel

Luckily, more eco-friendly options are becoming available, such as ZeroAvia's small five-seater plane powered by hydrogen. This is a great step in the right direction and a poignant moment, indicating the exciting, transitional moment we are in.

Traveller’s Decisions

Another important factor to note when trying to travel sustainably is that the traveller's decisions will determine their environmental impact. Sustainable travel isn't just about the resources you use to arrive in an area; it's also the way you spend your time and money, too.

Here are some things you should consider whenever travelling if you’re conscious of your carbon footprint:

  • Make responsible travel decisions, such as choosing locally sourced food over a lavish buffet.
  • Recognise Greenwashing and question environmental claims by companies.
  • Use ethical organisations, such as ethical lodges or certified sustainable hotels.
  • Ensure that your money is going back into the local economy and invest in local businesses.
  • When planning the duration of your trip, take into account the emissions from your flight. For example, the travel emissions will be the same if you went away for a month or a week.

A man crossing the road carrying his surfboard

How Can We Sustainably Surf Travel?

Above, we have listed some attitudes and techniques that are essential when trying to travel as sustainably as possible. Here, we explore some of these and other ideas in a little more depth.

Staycations

It's easy to take what we have on our doorstep for granted, but staycations allow us to enjoy our homes as if we are on holiday, which is a cheaper and more eco-friendly option!

Check out our article on the best UK beaches for surfing staycations!

Staycations offer us an assortment of benefits:

  • Staycations allow us the time to explore our areas when we would be working.
  • They allow us to circulate more money into our economy.
  • They save you a lot of time which would be spent on travelling, organising and packing.
  • There is less stress from travelling.
  • Staycations can save you a lot of money.
  • They are a very eco-friendly option.

Invest in Established Sustainable Destinations

You'll be relieved to hear some sustainable steps are already underway! Several locations have been officially categorised as 'sustainable destinations' due to their tourism-related policies and practices.

These include cities such as Ljubljana in Slovenia and countries such as Palau. You can find a green list of destinations that international sustainability organisations have created. The general criteria considers the country’s governing body and its overall commitment to protecting its natural and cultural resources.

Choose Locations that Need the Support of Tourists

Tourism can be a vital lifeline for some communities, particularly those that are suffering in other areas. For example, the hurricane recovery in Puerto Rico was supported by the tourism sector, which helped the country and people to return to some sense of economic normality.

In the spirit of support, you should also try to keep an eye out for community and NGO-based projects where you could lend a helping hand and make more of a difference.

Avoid Plastic

We're no strangers to the harm caused by plastics. When visiting low economic countries, you can often see liberal use of plastic; when travelling, you should try to avoid mirroring this.

As a guest in another country, it is your responsibility to leave as little an impact as possible, which includes limiting your plastic use.

Eat Locally

The food industry is another massive contributor to greenhouse gases; when in holiday mode, this is often exasperated. However, when eating in general, but especially during our travels, we should try to really think about what and how we choose to eat.

Eating locally not only introduces you to a delicious range of new cultural foods but also supports the local community and reduces your carbon footprint by avoiding imported ingredients.

If you want to take it a step further, you can choose vegetarian or vegan-only establishments, but this will depend on your personal preference.

Consider the Accessibility of the Destination

When choosing your travel destination, you might want to consider how accessible the area is. To travel to that destination, you may not only need to catch a plane, but also a bus, train or taxi.

Consider how you will get there; will you need to get a taxi? Or can you stay somewhere closer? Or travel with a group by bus?

To conclude, travelling sustainably can be an awkward process, but it also offers you a new, wholesome experience that can give you a much deeper insight into the destination and your carbon footprint.

For more advice and information on sustainability or surfing holidays, check out our blog here at Wetsuit Centre!