How to be a sustainable traveller:
Times have changed and people are becoming more and more aware that how they travel can have a negative impact on the planet. I think it is great that people are making conscious decisions based on the environment. Travellers are looking into the ways that they can reduce their carbon footprint, be a part of responsible tourism, help local communities, chose eco-friendly tour companies and just generally be more responsible when they are exploring the world.
So what is ecotourism, green travel, eco-friendly travel, responsible tourism, sustainable travelling, eco travels (whatever you choose to call it)?
The above terms can have slightly different meanings but they all have the ultimate end goal. It means making a choice which will reduce any negative impact on the country you are travelling in to help the planet. If more and more travellers make these simple choices then this can impact the planet in a massive way.
Here are some simple examples of how you can help the planet and start your journey to becoming a sustainable traveller:
Buy a BPA reusable water bottle to reduce your plastic. I brought a Camelbak Chute bottle which I used every day for 9 months while I was travelling and it didn't ever leak. I know a few people who travelled with the Chilly's bottles and were very impressed. In a lot of the airports and hostels, you will find free water dispensers so this does not only help reduce the amount of plastic you use but also saves you money.
Remember to recycle if the option is there. It is easy to get out of normal daily habits when travelling but I found quite a few of the hostels we stayed in had recycling facilities.
Try to take shorter showers and turn off the water when brushing your teeth to save water, or better yet, wash under a waterfall! After coming home from my 9 month around the world trip, I have definitely noticed that I take shorter showers. Witnessing first-hand the shortage of water in some countries really made me think twice about how long I spend in the shower.
Take a reusable bag which you can carry shopping, dirty washing and anything else you feel like.
Take reusable straws and cutlery to reduce plastic. Not only do they help the plant but they are very handy if you are camping or in a camper, or need a way to eat cup noodles (yes, I am guilty of eating these when money got low).
When you are planning your trip, look for eco-friendly destinations and ecotourism activities and eco hotels or hostels. Just make sure to read the reviews, as some companies use the word 'eco' or 'ecotourism' as a marketing tool.
Buy a Kindle, these do not only save space in your bag but save paper. I used to love holding a real book but I am now converted after I brought my Kindle to go travelling.
Reuse your towels in hotels. By hanging the towel up, you are telling the hotel staff that you will use your towel again. Would you wash your towels after once wash at home? I know I don't! The other option is to take a microfibre towel which means you can decide when to wash it and they generally come in handy if you are camping or want something to lie on when you are soaking up some rays.
Walk, use public transport or cycle to explore new cities, which will not only help the planet but save you money and you will see more than sitting in a car. Flying is not an 'eco-friendly' method of transport but is necessary most of the time, however, if you are thinking of booking a short internal flight, see if there is more eco-friendly way of getting there.
If you are hiking then make sure you have something to put your rubbish in, so your banana skins don't end up all over your bags and you don't get tempted to leave your rubbish behind.
Keep your distance from wildlife and don't be tempted to feed wild animals. Firstly, it's dangerous and you don't want wild animals to start relying on humans for their food.
When you are looking for souvenirs to take home, choose handmade products that are from the local area and haven't been imported.
Buy a solid shampoo bar to reduce the amount of plastic. I got mine from Lust and it lasted for ages and also came in handy for washing clothes in the sink. They smell delicious and you know that they can explode in your backpack..bonus!
Learn about local customs before travelling to a new country and immerse yourself in their way of life. Eating at local restaurants will help local businesses but you will most likely have amazing tasty food and you can soak in the atmosphere. For example, if you are in a country where it is custom for women to cover their heads, then do the same. Sarongs are perfect for this, they come in handy for the beach and double up as a scarf or blanket when on long journeys.
I hope that helps illustrate how easy it is to implement simple changes into your everyday life to support ecotourism, green travel, eco-friendly travel, responsible tourism, sustainable travelling, eco travels....happy travelling!
Pin it for later: