While traveling is renowned for broadening the mind, traditional travel methods don’t do much good for the environment. If you are truly concerned about sustainable tourism, then you need to go about it the right way.
Around 87% of people have said that they want to travel in an eco-friendly manner. But how can you go about that?
The world’s finite resources are under threat from mass tourism. Traveling by plane leaves a considerable carbon footprint. However, staying in a large hotel or package holiday resort is not eco-friendly. So, what do you do?
Couchsurfing is an excellent option for those who appreciate the value of sustainable living and social responsibility but don’t want to give up travel. You will have to travel as a minimalist, because you won’t have a lot of things to store when staying on somebody’s couch. However, you will reduce your carbon footprint by traveling as a minimalist anyways.
What Exactly is Couchsurfing?
Informally, Couchsurfing means staying temporarily at other people’s homes. The term couchsurfing implies improvised sleeping arrangements instead of something like a small hotel or an Airbnb rental apartment.
Couchsurfing – the social networking and hospitality platform – allows users to list their homes and connect with travelers. It differs from a service like Airbnb because Couchsurfing focuses on the social aspect. It encourages people to show visitors and be part of the travel experience. This is evident in the company slogan: “Stay with Locals and Meet Travelers.”
Couchsurfing is an excellent solution for those looking for eco-friendly travel. A sustainable travel solution, can take place long-term without harming the environment and can even have a positive effect. At its best, sustainable travel is good for culture and nature.
Before Leaving for Your Couchsurfing Destination
To avoid disappointment – which might include having to return home or stay in a hotel – choose your Couchsurfing host carefully. Also, do some research before arriving in an unknown place.
Check reviews of potential hosts
Check out reviews of your potential Couchsurfing host before you travel. Aim to read between the lines of reviews. People may not wish to leave direct criticism on a public platform. It is common practice to contact some reviewers and communicate more candidly about your Couchsurfing host.
Verify properties and owners
Use Nuwber to ensure that the host genuinely owns the property they list. That will help you verify identities and confirm addresses. This can give you peace of mind and help make your journey smoother.
Reserve the right to back out
Suppose anything about your pre-meeting interaction with the potential Couchsurfing host makes you uneasy. In that case, whether it’s a comment, a profile photo, or something else – it’s wise to listen to your instincts. You don’t have to stay with that host, even if you have started the process. On the other hand, don’t risk traveling only to discover that the place and person are not advertised.
Plan to arrive during the day
However, if you feel confident about your Couchsurfing location, plan to arrive at your destination during daylight. Doing so is safer than arriving in an unknown area in the dark. In addition, daylight will help you avoid getting lost or might help you avoid an unnecessary taxi or bus.
Reaching Your Couchsurfing Destination
Having shared the details of where you’re going with friends and family, it’s time to get to your Couchsurfing destination.
To do so in the most eco-friendly way possible, avoid flying. Traveling over land is less harmful to the environment than air travel. Of course, if you can walk to your destination, all the better, but that may not be possible if you’re planning to travel across a state or a border!
If walking, biking, or rollerblading are not feasible, still attempt to make the journey without getting on a plane. By not flying, you can seriously reduce your impact on the planet’s health. If you do fly, fly economy and fly direct. The fewer take-offs and landings involved in your journey, the better in terms of emissions.
Listen to your gut
The moment you meet your host in person is another time you might have second thoughts about what you’ve done. But, again, it would be best if you listened to your instincts. If you don’t feel comfortable, you have the right not to go to the property or to leave the location. If that means staying in a big hotel for a night or getting a flight back, so be it.
Put your safety first
It’s crucial to keep our impact on our environment in mind, but we shouldn’t do anything that puts us at risk. Increase your carbon footprint rather than staying somewhere you don’t feel safe or comfortable.
At Your Couchsurfing Destination
Having eliminated or minimized air travel to reach your Couchsurfing destination, it is then helpful to reduce your effect on the ecosystem and environment while there.
One way to minimize your toll on the planet is to be mindful of how you live and consume while traveling. For example, avoid wasteful packaging, using too much water, or leaving trash inappropriately. While it might be easy to slip into bad habits in travel/vacation mode, it’s essential to remain aware of your environment and your place within it. This will help you get the most from your Couchsurfing experience.
Socially, Couchsurfing can have a positive impact on local communities. By staying with local people who guide you around town, you are more likely to support local businesses and community tourism.
It might be a good idea to ask your Couchsurfing host to recommend places known to be environmentally friendly and socially conscious. Even better if there are places where staff is known to receive fair remuneration. By participating in these experiences and spending money in local establishments, you can help a community and its infrastructure.
In a time of social distancing and multiple lockdowns worldwide, people increasingly crave travel. We can all travel more safely and eco-consciously to protect the environment.
Couchsurfing is an excellent way to see a new place in an eco-friendly way. By being mindful of where we travel, how we get there, who we stay with, and what we do on arrival, we can help protect the environment, support local communities, and recharge an essential part of ourselves.