By George Stone, TRAVEL Executive Editor
Time flies—in a zero-emissions kind of way. A month ago I asked where you’re headed this year. I received some terrific responses, and some redirections: Instead of asking where travelers are going, some suggested, I should have asked how they’re going.
Reader Emma Howcroft acknowledged the allure of travel but warned about its environmental impacts. Encouraging bucket lists is counterproductive; instead we should “be encouraging fewer people to travel so as to reduce CO2 emissions.” Diane Solomon Westerhuis pushed for solutions that will enable travel: “Would be lovely to see some travel inspired by Greta Thunberg, ditching the air flights and using low-impact travel arrangements. They did it in the hippie era, hitching, pushbike and boats, plus lots of old kombis [vans]—let’s see if we can go there again.”
The theme of traveling lightly surfaced repeatedly—an indication of how individuals are embracing an ethic of sustainability. Álvaro Aires, of Brazil, will keep his journeys to South America this year with visits to Chilean and Argentine Patagonia. Newlyweds Shelley and Lars will spend an extended honeymoon in Africa in a four-wheel drive “with tent on top” (track them here). Slow travel is the goal for Australian Maggie Travis, who says that “travelers go for the experiences, not the places.” She’ll head to the Baltic region to stay with friends in Copenhagen and explore Latvia and Estonia. Service-minded Esther and Derek Ward will be driving a camper and cleaning parks in North America.
Karin Ostrand, who has subscribed to National Geographic for 30 years, asked us for guidance about traveling with a lighter footprint. This is one of our favorite topics: See our stories on the world’s best new green hotels (pictured above, a lodge in Cambodia), what travelers can do about overtourism, which sunscreens are best for you and the planet, six ways to be a sustainable traveler, and how national parks are perfect alternatives to crowded cities.
How are you traveling sustainably this year? We’d love to know. Please share your tips and ideas with me here.
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Your Instagram photo of the day
A break in the action: Lisbon can get crowded with tourists in the summer, but photographer Krista Rossow has a work-around. “I love exploring cities in the early morning when the streets are quieter and daily life is just starting up,” Rossow writes. “I found this quiet street on a wander through Lisbon this past summer.”
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Today in a minute
The trouble with traboules: Who knew there were 400 hidden corridors, passages, and stairwells under the French city of Lyon, 50 of which are still open to the public? These passages, known as traboules, had posed problems for Nazis and business owners over the centuries. They were used in a pioneering Industrial Revolution uprising of exploited silk workers and for French Resistance meetings in World War II. Today, they’re often short-cuts for getting around the city, Nat Geo reports.
Buffalo soldiers: The American fighters commemorated by Bob Marley also are remembered at a museum in Houston. The museum dedicated to the regiment of formerly enslaved and free men, formed after the Civil War, is one of 15 U.S. places selected by Afar to learn about African American history.
Take a hike: Want a dazzling walk away from the crowds? Here are options from British Columbia to Hawaii to Quebec to Wyoming to Guatemala. These hikes have “an emphasis on solitude,” writes Kate Siber for Nat Geo.
Those bins: Are you the person who unloads their stuff and walks away from those plastic rectangular bins after the TSA security check, or are you trying to stack those empty bins to clear the conveyer belt for others? Meg Lewis asked on Twitter—and got a flood of responses.
In a few words
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Come back tomorrow for Victoria Jaggard on the latest in science. If you’re not a subscriber, sign up here to also get Rachael Bale on animals, Whitney Johnsonon photography, and Debra Adams Simmons on history.
The last glimpse
Where tourists help: If you want to do more than just look at coral reefs, you can do your bit (even while snorkeling) to help them grow back. Marine researcherAlma Paola Rodríguez-Troncoso has worked on a Mexican program that sustainably replanted more than 6,000 coral fragments over six years. Above, tourists in Moorea, French Polynesia, can help a nonprofit group reattach broken pieces of coral to a reef.
Subscribers exclusive: Travelers are helping revive ailing coral reefs