Being sustainable doesn’t mean that you should stop traveling. You can also leave positive impact if you travel in a sustainable way.
As a sustainable traveler, you need to leave a smaller energy footprint, to support local economies and be aware of the local culture. Here are a few tips that will help you become a totally sustainable traveler:
GET OFF THE BEATEN PATH
Explore less traveled places. Getting off the beaten track will give you more unique and authentic experience, while avoiding overcrowded beaches, overrated sights and hordes of tourists getting on your way. The burden on the over-visited sights will be reduced, and you will contribute to improving the living conditions of the locals you meet and protecting nature.
SLOW DOWN AND EXPERIENCE THE PLACE
The best recipe for stress is a fast-paced rush from one sight to another. Give yourself time to explore the destination. Instead of taking many shorter trips over the year, you can choose to take one longer vacation. Stay a day longer in Skopje and discover the hidden gems of the green market with Ivo, or explore the vineyards in the wine region and learn with Maria how to roll the staffed vine leaves… The slow travel is also better for the environment as it reduces the amount of carbon emissions generated by flying or driving from one destination to another.
TRAVEL IN LOW SEASON
It is more pleasant, it is less expensive and you avoid the big crowds. And, you will help reduce the burden from overtourism.
BOOK A DIRECT FLIGHT
Macedonia is well connected with many European airports by Wizzair. It is low cost airline, and flying direct will save you a lot of hassle and waiting time on your way. Also, the chance is considerably smaller that your luggage will be left behind somewhere. By booking a direct flight you will significantly reduce the CO2 emissions of your holiday.
OFFSET YOUR CARBON FOOTPRINT
Carbon offsetting is an internationally recognized way for organizations to cancel out carbon emissions that they are not able to completely eliminate, by investing in projects that reduce or remove emissions. You can choose to offset your journey, or part of it by buying credits that go toward a project that either avoids the CO2 emissions, or helps sequester carbon CO2 from the atmosphere. You can calculate your carbon footprint using an online carbon calculator, and then purchase offsets equivalent to the amount of CO2 you have produced.
SAVE WATER AND ENERGY
When traveling, try to conserve local water and energy resources. You can turn of the lights, the TV, the AC or any other electronics when not in use. Take shorter showers instead of long baths, and handwash your own clothes to prevent unneeded laundering.
PACK LIGHT & SMART
The heavier your luggage, the more fuel it will take to transport it by plane, by bus, by car, or by train. Also, packing smart is one of the easiest ways to reduce your plastic and consumption of single-use products. So:
- Reusable water bottle. Thanks to the abundance of mountains and fresh springs in the Macedonia, our tap water is absolutely fine to drink.
- Reusable cutlery. If you are short on packing space, a spork could be a perfect solution.
- Tote bag. Macedonia have banned plastic bags since 1st December 2021, so this could be a cheaper and more sustainable option to the biodegradable bags that cost 25 cents.
VISIT NATIONAL PARKS
Natural areas are protected worldwide with the income from tourism. With your entrance ticket you therefore contribute to the protection of nature.
By eating vegetarian or vegan on your tour, you significantly reduce your impact on the environment. In addition, Macedonia is a true heaven for vegetarians. The land of 300 sunny days per year is also the land of ripe and sweet tomatoes, peppers, eggplants, okras, zucchini, widely used in our cuisine, which represents a perfect mix between the Mediterranean, Oriental and Continental dishes. If you want to eat like a local, start your dinner with a big bowl of fresh salad, a piece of white sheep cheese and a shot of rakiya.
Travel according to the principle: Take nothing but pictures, leave nothing but footprints, kill nothing but time. Please be careful when buying souvenirs, especially if you are offered souvenirs made from endangered animals or plants. The list of endangered species in Macedonia can be found on this link. It is also forbidden in our country to trade with historical and religious artefacts.
Why not buy locally made handicrafts instead? Visiting local communities is a great way to find unique souvenirs, and support local craftspeople and traditions.