Everyone wants to be the first to experience the new and improved Boracay. Have you made your preparations yet? Beyond the usual travel preparations, make sure you add responsible tourism in the mix. If the Boracay closure taught us anything, it’s that we can lose the things we love if we do not take care of them. Read on to learn about the preparations you should be making for a more eco-friendly travel!
Mind your trash
Sometimes, being a responsible tourist is as simple as picking up after yourself. Make sure you do not leave anything behind. The key rule is to leave things as they were when you arrived. You may also take the initiative of picking up trash that’s lying around. Avoid contributing trash altogether by bringing your own shopping bag and declining plastic bags offered at shops.
Book with sustainable tour operators
You’ll be bombarded with countless options when scouting for a tour operator to book for your Boracay travel. When choosing, make sure you put sustainability on top of your list. Look for businesses that actively protect the environment and work with the local community. Be on the lookout for businesses that take the extra effort to reduce their carbon footprint and plastic use, and have a policy of hiring only local guides or workers from nearby communities (and paying them above-average wages!). You’ll even find operators that donate part of their profits to charity. You may have to do a bit of research to find the right business, but it will be all worth it.
Go for eco friendly transportation options
You can start traveling sustainably before you even reach Boracay. Study airline sustainability reports before booking your flights. Go for the most environment-friendly airline traveling to the island. Choose an airline that uses sustainable aviation biofuel and minimizes their use of plastic. You may also take the public transport on your way to the airport so you can cut down on your own carbon imprint.
Avoid private cars
Continue your efforts to reduce your carbon imprint once you’ve reached Boracay. Avoid renting a private car once you’ve reached the airport in Caticlan or Kalibo. Use available public transportation options instead. And explore the island on foot as much as possible. The best way to explore a place, after all, is by walking. Be ready with a map on your phone. Use screen shots so you can still use your map even if you go off the grid.
Pack meals for your trip
You’ll find tempting food options at the airport, but they also come in plastic food packaging that will only cause damage to the environment. Plus, they are much more expensive. Instead of burning a hole in your pocket and wreaking havoc on the environment, you should prepare meals at home instead. Prepare your favorite healthy meals and store them in reusable plastic containers or in beeswax wrapping, and make sure they will last until your arrival on the island. Have some snacks ready not just for the plane ride but the transpo from the airport to your hotel as well.
Bring a water bottle
Staying hydrated will help you stay alert and energized while exploring Boracay. This is especially necessary if you like discovering a travel destination on foot. Instead of buying one bottled water after another, bring your own reusable bottle instead. In June 2017, The Guardian reported that around one million plastic bottles were being bought every minute all over the world. This is expected to increase by 20% on 2021, resulting in an environmental crisis as catastrophic as climate change. The burgeoning demand for plastic bottles is driven by people’s preference for bottled water and the influence of the western “on the go” culture, which has reached the Asia Pacific region. The surge in demand for wasteful plastic bottles can be curtailed if more and more people steer clear of bottled water.
Avoid using plastic straws
To further avoid plastic waste, refrain from using single-use plastic straws while traveling. Sure your poolside piña colada would go great with a straw, but bring one of your own. Make sure it is reusable. You will find several bamboo and steel options sold online and in shops. Single-use plastic straws often end up in the ocean, destroying marine life. The US Department of Interior's National Park Service reported that in the US alone, 500 million plastic straws are being used everyday. The world needs more people to quit using plastic straw for the sake of the environment.
When buying souvenirs and supplies at the market, make sure you buy items that are locally produced. Using the power of your wallet the right way will let you create a massive impact on the local community. Buying trinkets from street vendors or eating at a family-run hole-in-the-wall will have you injecting money directly into the island’s local economy. You will also be able to lessen the carbon footprint of your purchases, as imports require more energy in terms of transportation and storage.
More than just reducing your imprints and helping the local community, buying local will also let you experience the local culture on a more authentic level.
Take the time to volunteer
Most likely you plan to go on a holiday so you could escape the stresses of work and daily life. Lounging on Boracay’s stunning beaches or never leaving your hotel room may be what you have in mind for your trip. For your next vacation, however, you should try to go a different route and do something for the local community as well. You can volunteer at a conservation site or join a beach clean-up activity. Research shows that offering a helping hand reduces stress-related activation of the brain’s right amygdala, right anterior insula, and anterior cingulate cortex. You’ll be hitting two birds with one stone. Not only will you have a more responsible travel experience, you’ll be feeling less stressed as well.
Plan ahead of time
Careful planning can help you travel to Boracay in a more sustainable way. Do some research beforehand, and consider the impact each of your activity will have on the environment, people, and culture of Boracay. It will all boil down to making simple choices like taking a bike tour instead of an ATV ride for less carbon emissions. Take it further by immersing in the local culture. How about taking a cooking class to learn more about the island’s gastronomic traditions? Planning your trip extensively will allow you to find the most eco-friendly travel options without compromising comfort and fun.
Whether you are traveling to Boracay to chill at Alta Vista De Boracay or to experience some adrenaline-inducing water sports, make sure you have the welfare of Boracay Island in mind. Responsible tourism will help us ensure that we will be able to preserve the beautiful island for posterity.