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How to Leave No Trace While Traveling

by Eugenia Lazaris

Sep 26, 2023

© Lunamarina | Dreamstime.com

Tips / Travel

Visit any popular destination and you’ll find an abundance of one thing: tourists. While there’s nothing wrong with that — travel does, after all, bring us closer to the world around us — tourists have earned quite the negative reputation for leaving destinations worse for wear. Whether it’s a visitor climbing to the top of the temple at Chichen Itza or tourists scratching their name on the wall of Rome’s Colosseum, it seems humans are always leaving their mark on the places they visit.


As travelers, we have a desire to see the world, but as global citizens we have an obligation to protect our world and its treasures. Making the extra effort to travel without leaving a trace becomes increasingly important as tourism skyrockets, but, luckily, there are plenty of ways to make it simple.


Being mindful of how you travel is a great start. Many popular cities around the world, like Athens, Rome and New York City, have exceptional public transportation systems to make moving around town easy, which can help reduce number of private vehicles on the road. Most countries also offer railway transportation between major cities, which reduces carbon emissions from air travel. France, Portugal, Japan and Switzerland feature fantastic train systems that not only let you see different parts of the country with ease but also let you do it in the least-intrusive way possible.


It is also important to be mindful of the accommodations you choose as more hotels and resorts lean toward a greener model. Look for certifications like Green Key, Green Globe or TripAdvisor GreenLeaders when booking your stays. These let you know the property has undergone extensive efforts at sustainability practices in areas like water and waste management and reducing energy consumption.


When visiting the many wonderful places the world has to offer, approaching them with respect and appreciation always goes a long way to traveling without leaving a trace. Whether you are visiting ancient monuments or exploring the wilds of nature, take care to put your trash where it belongs, don’t alter things in any way, and be sure to familiarize yourself with the rules so you don’t end up on social media committing a faux pas that will go down in history. These simple steps ensure the places we visit remain as beautiful in the years to come as we find them today.


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