The Bad Sides of Travel

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responsible travel, traveling, green travel, sustainable travel, environment, positive and negative impacts, bad sides of travel, wanderlust

I want to have a more serious chat with you all. Travel is my main subject on my blog and  I absolutely love writing about it and I love traveling. However, as we all may have heard and/or already know: travel isn’t great for the environment. That’s why I want to talk with you about the bad sides of travel.

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Some of us have the rush to travel, to see as much as we can and appreciate the time we have. There is so much to explore and there is always more to see. Which is nice, because it’s exciting and it changes our perspective and we may even learn about the history of the place and think about our life and actions. And I am not saying traveling is bad. There are just some things to keep in mind while doing it to minimize our carbon footprint and negative impacts on the destination and the environment. I have four bad sides of travel for you and I have tried to kind-off turn it around to positive sides. This way, it’s easier for you and me to change our behaviour and improve the positive impacts if we want to. Yay!

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The pollution of flying

I am guilty of this as much as anyone who flies. Yes, I take the plane a lot to go to my destination. Most of the time, it really is the only way to reach a destination. Besides, even if I would travel to an European country, the train is most of the time not even an option. It takes weeks to get somewhere and it is really expensive or the destination simply can’t be reached by train. I do use the train if I go to Paris or London for example. I especially love to take the Thalys to Paris. It’s such a chill way of traveling and I love to look outside.

However, as I said, we can’t always take the train for example. What you may not know, is that you have the opportunity to pay for a CO2-compensation while you are booking your flight. And sometimes it’s already included in your ticket price, so you are doing something right already! So what is a CO2-compensation? In short, this is a small extra fee that you can pay on top of the price of your plane ticket. You will invest in environment project worldwide to compensate your carbon footprint. If the airlines website doesn’t give any information about the CO2-compensation and you do want to do something – the Dutch website Green Seat or the international website My Climate have options to compensate your carbon footprint as well.

Read more: How To Be A Responsible Traveller

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Influence on the local community

When I am writing about the negative impacts on the local community, I am talking about the places with overcrowding due to tourism. Take Venice as an example. There are just a few shops left that are managed by the absolute local community. Take the gorgeous Cinque Terre as another example. The overcrowding has an high toll on the infrastructure and lifestyle of the locals. Now, these two examples aren’t new to us. Cinque Terre has limited the tourism visit to 1 million tourists per year. The locals in Venice have been protesting against the massive cruise ships that tower over the canals and houses of the gorgeous city. The best thing for us to do in these situations is to try and see where our money is actually going. Are we having a coffee in a locally owned café or is it owned by a larger, international company? By supporting the local entrepreneurs – we can make a small difference.

Now onto the influence on the smaller known countries and cities. Tourism is an amazing opportunity for them to grow the country. Take Madeira as an example. This Portuguese island hasn’t always been popular under us tourists and travellers. I was in Madeira during the summer and I cannot explain how nice and happy the locals are with us as tourists. They truly live for the tourism in some parts of the island and are so excited to tell you about the history of the island. Since Madeira is quite new to tourism, most of the restaurants, excursions, café’s and bars are owned by local people. Even in these places it’s good to try to support them because yes, there are internationally owned restaurants. And no, it’s not a bad thing to go to the Mc Donalds for a burger. Do whatever you want on your holiday and eat where you want. It’s your party. I do think it’s important to know these issues and be more conscious of them. Whatever you do with this advice is obviously all up to you!

Read more: How To Deal With Different Cultures

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Travel to see the expectation we have from social media

I get most of my inspiration from either Instagram or Pinterest. I search for good breakfast spots, places to shoot pictures, pretty cafes to have coffee and guides for my trip. However, I do feel like it can make a place less authentic. We have already seen it online. It’s not a surprise to see the beautiful view. Even if it’s more beautiful in real life. It kind-off ruins our first impression. Or we feel like we have already seen it.

Another thing is that our choices of traveling can be based on actually what we see on social media. And when we have high expectations – we can be disappointed. I love to go to a new destination without doing too much research and be surprised by all the pretty views and interesting places!

Read more: What Not To Do In Bali: 7 Best Tips

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The local economy does not always benefit from our visit

This is what I was explaining in my second point of the bad sides of travel. Whenever we stay in an hotel owned by an international business, the money does not always go to the local economy. Sure, the employees are locals but the actually hotel is not owned by a local business. It is going to the international business and the money just “leaves” the country. This is normal, since the profit always goes to the owner of the business. As we all know.

However, if we do want to help the local economy. Try to stay in a locally owned accommodation and all the other things I just explained. This can be quite hard but some tour operators only sell locally owned accommodation. Obviously, you pay the international tour operator but part of the money goes to them. Same with having breakfast at the place or renting a paddle board for example. It’s a little bit harder if you plan the trip completely by yourself. We have Airbnb that helps a bit as well, but I’d love to write another blog post about finding the locally owned places. Do you guys want to read a blog post like that?

Read more: 7 Ways To Give Back To The Local Community

Traveling is fun and yes, the local economy profits from us. These bad sides of travel aren’t meant to ruin your excited of traveling. It’s just good to think a little further and see where we can make a difference. I still stay at international hotels and eat at international restaurants. Which is why I am not saying you always have to stay at a locally owned accommodation or eat at a local restaurant. No one is perfect in doing this and we don’t have to be perfect. We all contribute in the bad sides of travel. Every little thing we do to change this can make a difference. Just see what fits your needs and what makes you happy while traveling!

Love,

Melissa.

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responsible travel, traveling, green travel, sustainable travel, environment, positive and negative impacts, bad sides of travel, wanderlust
responsible travel, traveling, green travel, sustainable travel, environment, positive and negative impacts, bad sides of travel, wanderlust
responsible travel, traveling, green travel, sustainable travel, environment, positive and negative impacts, bad sides of travel, wanderlust
responsible travel, traveling, green travel, sustainable travel, environment, positive and negative impacts, bad sides of travel, wanderlust

12 comments

    1. It’s so normal to not think about it though! That’s why I’m writing these blog posts, to make you more aware of these things. 😀 Thanks for reading!

  1. I love traveling to new places with doing minimal research, too. Discovering unique shops and stalls without the pressure of feeling like I need to see *this spot* from Instagram is, for me, a more memorable experience!

    1. Travelling spontaneous is so much fun! You will see the best things if you just let things be. 😀

  2. Great points! I think people are becoming more aware of the impacts of travel, especially after seeing how the earth has been recuperating lately.

    1. Yes, definitely! I really hope we will always remember it – even when things go back to normal.

  3. Loved this post. We have all been in denial of the carbon footprint we leave behind by making the choices we do. I read an article about this a few months back. The suggestion supporting the locals is also a wonderful idea. We should all do the best we can! Thank you.

  4. Important post! I also hate that I’m flying so much but honestly, I don’t get why it’s more expensive to take bus and train through Europe than flight. It’s just sad. I wouldn’t mind taking other means of transportation if I could afford it. I also feel like I use so much plastic when I visit countries where you can’t drink from the tap, even though I have my own bottle with me, I find myself buying one plastic bottle after the other and it all ends in the ocean, under ground or it gets burned. So sad, I think we really have to rethink the way we travel.

    1. It really is so frustrating how expensive those train tickets are. I know that the Thalys is actually very cheap if you buy them 3 months in advance. There are other water bottles who have a filter so you can use the tap water at the destination and the bottles filters all the nasty stuff out of it, making it save to drink it!

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