How to travel with a low impact in Vietnam

The term sustainability has become one of the most talked about, and it is more important than ever to truly know the meaning of sustainability and how you can travel with a lower impact. Tourism in Vietnam has boomed in the past few years and it seems that the numbers will only keep rising. While it certainly is great for the economy, a huge influx of tourists also comes with a great number of challenges. Sustainability is one of them. If you’re interested in preserving the environment, local culture and want to make a good impact when you’re traveling, keep reading this article on how to travel with a low impact in Vietnam.

First of all, understand what traveling with a low impact means

The most important thing to do first is to educate yourself. Read up about sustainability, but not just the good parts of it but also how we are failing to be sustainable, This way, you can do the opposite of that or you can develop other ways to be sustainable. Is it really enough to skip the plastic? Or should you also arrange a beach cleaning day? Or perhaps the best thing is to educate others and spread your knowledge? There are many ways you can help, but first, you need to educate yourself about it.

Don’t travel during peak season

This might be difficult since not all of us has the power to decide when to take vacation. But if you can, try to avoid traveling during peak season. It’s better for you in the sense that the prices will be lower off-season, there won’t be as many people there and you will make a lower impact. There are many places in the world that are battling over tourism at the moment, like Halong Bay for example. If you avoid peak times, you won’t add to an already strenuous load of tourists. Just changing your plans by a week or two can generate a lower impact on the place you’re planning to visit.

Go “off-the-beaten-track”

Just because a place is more well known doesn’t mean that it’s the most beautiful place. Unfortunately, some places in the world has gained a great reputation which has also led to over tourism. When there are large amounts of people in one place, it will affect the place you’re visiting. Imagine large tour groups in national parks for example who arrive there by buses and leaves trash behind, or coral reefs that have died because there’s been too much pressure on them. Tourism needs to be more evenly distributed and you can help with that.

Take the train or bus instead of the flight

We all know flying is terrible for the environment but it’s also the quickest option. But when we’re on vacation, we shouldn’t be stressed. That kinda takes away the meaning of a vacation, right? The train rails in Vietnam works great and so does the buses. Although it will take longer to travel, it’s also the journey that counts. You can sit back, relax and enjoy the views of Vietnam that you would miss if you’d be flying.

But if you’re going to fly, skip the layovers

It is during takeoff that the greatest pollution occurs. So if you can, book direct flights. It might be a bit more expensive, but it’s definitely worth it so that you can make a lower environmental impact and also get there faster.

Put money back into the community

This one is very important. Instead of booking with the big hostel or hotel chains, try to opt for more local options such as small inns, B&Bs, boutique lodging, etc. Always go for locally owned so that you can support the local community and keep the tourism money directly in the country. Unfortunately, there is a staggering amount of money that goes out of the country since there’s a lot of foreign investors. So if you really want to make a difference, put your money where it’ll make the most difference.

Stay away from improper wildlife tourism

If you’re going on a wildlife tour, make sure that you know they are ethical. Perhaps visit the operator before you book it or the area, talk to other people who’s done it and read reviews. Get to know the recommendations and laws around wildlife encounters. Elephant riding for example is incredibly unethical and wrong to do. Know what’s okay for wildlife tourism and what’s not.

Try to go zero waste

It’s easier said than done, especially in Vietnam since everything is packaged in plastic. But still, there’s plenty of things you can do in order to make a low impact in Vietnam. If you go to markets for example, bring your own bag and put the vegetables and fruits in them. Always bring a bottle that you can fill water in. If you’re going to buy take away, don’t be shy and bring your own box that you can reuse. There’s so many things we can do to go zero waste, but it’s all about our habits and what we’re used to. It’s time that we start changing them and start skipping as much plastic as we can.

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