As in many parts of the world, sustainability in the UAE is at the forefront of everyone’s mind. If you are planning a trip to the UAE, it is essential that you think about the impact your choices and decisions have on the environment in which you are traveling.
Being an eco-conscious traveler means taking steps to reduce the negative consequences of your trip and to consider where you spend your money carefully. No one is asking you to be perfect, but you do need to be considerate.
For more tips on how to travel responsibly, read on for five ways to be an eco-conscious traveler in UAE.
You simply need to take small steps to be an eco-conscious traveler. First things first: You must pack the essentials. In your luggage, there should be a BPA-free reusable water bottle, which means you don’t need to purchase small plastic bottles when on the go. If you are unsure about the water, bring water purifying tablets with you that you can add to the water, rather than buying plastic bottles.
Other items you should always travel with are a reusable tote bag that can double as a shopping bag, beach bag, and laundry bag, and a metal straw so that you don’t need to use plastic straws.
Every year, millions of travelers visit the UAE, which means that they are creating a significant amount of environmental impact through air pollution. One of the best ways to reduce your impact is by opting to take public transportation or carpooling. Luckily, this is easy to do as the UAE has plenty of options for these modes of transportation. Throughout the Emirates, you can find buses, metros, ships, and water taxis, all of which can get you where you need to go. By using public transit, you will be able to see how the locals do it, and it is far more affordable than taking a taxi.
Moreover, you can also make a concerted effort to reduce your usage of public transportation and, instead, opt to stroll around the cities. After all, this is the best way to see a neighborhood, and it gives you a better chance of stumbling upon something amazing. Walking or biking requires you to put down your phone and camera, and instead focus on connecting with the destination, all without adding to the Emirate’s air pollution.
While it may not be the first thing you think of when planning a trip to the UAE, the truth is that these Emirates have plenty of options when it comes to ecotourism and nature conservation sites. In fact, there are 43 protected areas in the country, many of which are free and open to the public. As a traveler, you can opt to visit one of these sites for a unique experience and to deepen your appreciation for the natural world.
Some of these sites include the Jebel Ali Marine Sanctuary, where Hawksbill Turtles and their eggs are monitored and protected, and the Al Wathba Wetland Reserve, home to more than 250 species of birds, insects and small reptiles. Additionally, you can opt to take a falcon hospital tour in Abu Dhabi, where you can learn about falcons and how they are treated when injured. The Green Planet gives visitors the opportunity to experience a tropical rainforest setting, including animal encounters.
For many travelers, eating locally is something they already do, as they know that this is how you get to try the best, authentic food. It is by eating locally that you can experience cultures and rituals that have been around for hundreds of years. Not only is local food delicious, but eating it also ensures that you are supporting local restaurants and businesses.
For the same reason, you also want to purchase souvenirs and other items from local vendors and artisans. That way, you know exactly where your money is going! On that note, make sure to respect the local customs. It is always recommended that you learn some greetings in the local language, and always ask for permission prior to photographing locals.
Staying in eco-resorts is one of the most significant ways you can reduce your negative impact while traveling. Generally, eco-resorts utilize efficient power systems, employ recycled materials, and give back to the community. By opting to stay in one of these types of accommodations, you can be sure that you are positively contributing to the locale in which you are visiting.
The UAE has several eco-resorts for travelers to choose from, each one combining the Emirate’s hospitality with a focus on sustainability. These options include the Al Maha Desert Resort & Spa in Dubai, the Desert Islands Resort & Spa in Abu Dhabi, and the Radisson Blu Resort in Sharjah.
Do you consider yourself an eco-conscious traveler? Why or why not? What little steps are you taking to reduce your negative impact while seeing the world? Let us know your thoughts, advice, and experiences in the comments below!