The world as we know it is at breaking point.

Glaciers are melting, coral reefs are dying, and entire ecosystems are disappearing.

If we want things to change, we have to be proactive and change the way we do things – including the way that we travel.

Travelling sustainably is possible – we just need to be aware about the ways in which we contribute to global warming, and how we can better align our choices to make a positive impact on the environment.

1. Walk or use public transport when possible

With air quality one of the leading environmental threats to public health, always try and use public transport rather than taking a car, especially if you aren’t going far. Most big cities in New Zealand have great inner city and intercity public transport links, so make use of them when possible.

2. Avoid plastic at all costs

Avoid plastic. PERIOD. Of all plastic waste, single-use bottles are one of the worst, so make sure you buy a reusable drink bottle and fill it up wherever you go. We are fortunate to be able to drink from the tap almost everywhere in New Zealand, save for a few rural and backcountry locations. Make the most of this and buy a reusable water bottle.

3. Support local

Supporting local businesses is not only good socially and economically, but it is also better for the environment. Small businesses create a much smaller carbon footprint than large corporations, reducing environmental impact.

4. Respect our environment

New Zealand prides itself on its clean, green image, but that will only continue if people respect the environment, especially when out in nature. Always use rubbish bins, take what you can’t readily dispose of with you, and try to recycle when possible (many places have separate bins for recyclable material, glass and general waste).

5. Check your accommodation’s sustainability credentials

Qualmark is a New Zealand certification that highlights tourism providers who operate in sustainable and environmentally-friendly ways. When looking for accommodation, check that your accommodation provider has the Qualmark logo, knowing that they have met the Sustainable Tourism Business criteria.

As you can see, it is possible to travel sustainably, especially in New Zealand. Just a few small changes to your routine can make an immense difference on the environment in our beautiful country, so do your bit to make a difference, and go and have the time of your life.