It’s no secret that at Walks, we’re passionate about promoting responsible, sustainable travel in Italy. Our tours support the hallmarks of responsible travel, like going off the beaten path, walking, promoting local businesses and shops and increasing cultural awareness…
But taking a tour with us is not the only way to ‘go green’ and support local! If you love Italy and want to make your trip as beneficial for the country as possible, here are some tips to use in your sustainable travel plan.
How to be an eco-friendly tourist
- Avoid fast food – Choose to eat local, organic produce instead. If you’re not too confident about the food in a new city, opt to take a food tour with a local guide who can show you some of the best spots to try during your stay and, more importantly, which ones to avoid!
- Carry reusable water bottles at all times – Avoid purchasing plastic water bottles when traveling. Fill up at drinking fountains or ask a member of staff to top you up before you leave a cafe, restaurant or hotel. Where unavoidable, choose glass bottles or opt for larger plastic bottles instead of smaller individual ones.
- Don’t print your travel documents – Where possible – for flights, tours and hotel stays – avoid unnecessary use of paper by keeping your documents downloaded to your phone.
- Reuse your hotel towels – This one is pretty straight forward and requested by most hotels over the world; help to reduce water waste by reusing your towels.
- Separate refuse in your hotel room – While most hotels around the world ask you to consider reusing your towels, many don’t offer guidelines on waste disposal. Nevertheless, make it easier for staff to recycle by separating your general waste from your paper and plastics. And always set glass to the side.
- Think ethically at attractions – Major attractions often feel the brunt of over-tourism, however nobody should feel bad about wanting to visit the smallest country in the world, or for dreaming of walking through the Gladiator’s Gate and into Rome’s historical Colosseum. There are ways however of treading lightly; Don’t litter (of course), get to know, and respect, the history of the attraction by taking a tour with a local, professional guide or opt to see the attraction out of hours (such as being alone in St. Mark’s Basilica after-hours).
- Seek out lesser-known areas – As well as visiting the highlights of a city, try to seek out some of the lesser-known neighbourhoods to spend an evening somewhere different – or get out of the city for a few hours completely (e.g. take a trip outside Rome for an alternative look into the lives of the Popes, or visit an authentic working farm outside of Florence on a day trip to Tuscany).
- Say no to takeaway coffee – One thing many tourists will notice about Italy is that locals don’t zoom around in the morning clutching a paper coffee cup. However, recent visitors may have noted that takeaway coffee is slowly springing up as an option in some cafes. Have yours at the bar instead – it’s far more authentic anyway.
- Travel slow – Take your time getting to know a city and spread out your time there. Visit the most popular areas just once if possible, following rules the city has set out, DON’T attach love locks to bridges, and think twice about buying lots of little plastic souvenirs!
- Use public transportation – But remember, getting around on foot is best (#takewalks!)