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5 Ways to Travel Sri Lanka More Sustainably!

Nov 11, 2019 | OLA Giving Back, Sri Lanka, Travel Tips

Last year, over 2 million people visited Sri Lanka, and when you contemplate the country’s pristine mountains, beaches, waterfalls and jungles, it’s easy to see why so many travellers go there year after year!

This small island is a verifiable paradise. In addition to its gorgeous scenery, Sri Lanka also boasts a rich cultural heritage, delicious food, and a diverse wildlife population for all the animal lovers out there. Not to mention it‘s very cost-effective if you’re looking for your next budget travel option.

But as more and more people travel to Sri Lanka each year, it’s becoming increasingly important that we all share the responsibility of travelling sustainably so we can have a positive impact on the country’s environment, economy, culture, and the local population.

So, if you’re travelling to Sri Lanka and are wondering how you can have a positive impact as a tourist, here are five ways to travel more sustainably:

Choose Ethical Wildlife Options

Getting up close and personal with the animals that are indigenous to the area is an important part of many people’s trips and a truly special experience when done properly. But in recent years, the use of animals in tourism has been scrutinised more and more, with many companies coming under fire for inhumane and unethical practices. In reality, tourists who visit animal sanctuaries that offer elephant riding or photo ops with big cats are encouraging those establishments to take more animals out of their natural habitat in the wild, which ultimately endangers the species.

Sri Lanka has an abundance of gorgeous nature and wildlife, from jungle hikes to wild elephants and blue whales! If you are looking for opportunities to get closer with nature while also conserving and respecting the local wildlife, opt for elephant safaris and boycott elephant rides. Ensure you’re always finding local operators with excellent reputations for maintaining their distance and encouraging conservation education.

Minimize Plastic Waste

The fight to manage plastic waste in Southeast Asia has been going on for quite some time now, with many countries like China, the Philippines and Sri Lanka taking concrete steps to reduce and manage plastic waste. Earlier this year, an appeal was put forth in Sri Lanka to ban single-use plastics in response to the growing amount of plastic waste in the country.

One of the best ways you can sustainably travel in Sri Lanka is by going plastic-free. Check out our One Life Top 3 Must-Have Items for travelling zero waste!

Leave The Place Better Than You Found It

There’s no doubt that keeping an area free of litter is one of the most important aspects of ethical travel. And while that seems like a straightforward concept, unfortunately, many people don’t dispose of their trash properly.

Picking up trash, avoiding single-use plastics and making sure you don’t leave a mark on a place are just a few ways you can contribute to sustainably travelling in the country you’re visiting. If you’re coming on a One Life tour with us, you can jump on one of our weekly organised beach clean ups!

Support Local Businesses

Another great way to sustainably travel in Sri Lanka is by supporting local businesses. While spending with big chains like fast-food restaurants hurts local cultures, it also means there’s a good chance that the money you spend won’t stay in the country. Next time you’re craving a quick fix for your dinner, try out a street food stall or local homestay restaurant instead!

During your travels in Sri Lanka, you can make sure that the money you spend during your trip stays in the community even after your trip has ended. By staying in locally owned accommodation, travelling with local guides and eating at local restaurants you can help build up the communities you visit. Not to mention you can also fight against the washing out of local cultures by staying away from global franchises. And don’t forget, sustainable tourism is a two-way street. By supporting local communities, you immerse yourself in the local culture and leave yourself open to having more meaningful experiences.

Use Local Transportation

In the age of Uber, Lyft, and Grab, getting around a new country has never been more convenient for travelers. Travelling in a group is one of the most efficient ways to utilise vehicles and of course, the benefits of taking *that* train journey from Kandy to Ella don’t just stop at the Instagram selfies, but it’s better for our planet too!

If you’re travelling solo, opting for local transportation is definitely the most sustainable option. The island is small, which means getting to and from your different destinations is only a short bus or train ride away. Plus, using local transportation is a great way to travel like a local, learn about the place you’re visiting, and save some money!

At One Life Adventures, we’re committed to having a positive impact on the countries that we visit, as well as teaching others how to travel sustainably. That’s why we take steps to limit our waste, reduce our footprint, and build up the local communities that we visit each year.

If you’re planning a trip to Sri Lanka, these 5 tips for sustainable travel will help you leave a positive impact on the communities you visit long after your trip has ended! If you want to make sure you’re following these steps during your travel but you’re not sure how? Travel with us! You can find our 12 Day Sri Lankan Adventure here.