Figuring out how to travel sustainably can be overwhelming at times. To make things easy for you, I have put together this ultimate guide to sustainable travel. This contains all my best tips on how to be a more eco friendly traveller all in one place. Keep reading to see all the ways you can make a difference!
Consider trains and buses
Reducing the number of flights you take is one of the biggest ways you can reduce your carbon footprint. If possible, consider taking a train or a bus to your destination instead!
Sometimes it’s not always practical (or even possible) to get to your destination without flying. Since more emissions are produced during taxi, take-off and landing than when the plane is cruising, taking a direct flight is an easy step to cut down emissions. Not to mention it also cuts on on travel times and any pesky layovers.
Make sure you vote with your wallet by supporting airlines that are committed to eco friendly practices. This includes things like upgrading to more fuel efficient flights, reducing in-flight waste and more. You can find a list of eco friendly and sustainable airlines here.
Travelling abroad? Here is how to prepare for your next international trip.
Consider purchasing carbon offsets
By purchasing carbon offsets, you are funding a cut in greenhouse gases that is done by someone else. If you cannot cut the amount of flights you take, this is a great way to invest in a greener future.
(PS: Carbon offsets are not just for flights. You can also offset events like weddings or even your day to day activities!)
Choose hybrid/fuel efficient rentals
Renting a car for your travels? Rent an electric, hybrid or fuel efficient car to reduce your fuel consumption. While you are at it, rent the smallest car that fits your need. Bigger car = More fuel!
Hauling around bigger bags costs more fuel. Not to mention the fact that most airlines charge for checking in bags anyway. Save time, money and the planet by travelling carry on only!
Stay in eco friendly hotels
Rather than staying at sprawling all inclusive resorts, choose hotels that are committed to a greener future. Things to look for include: Do they run on renewable energy? Do they recycle and compost their waste? Do they have low flow toilets and showers in their rooms? Do they use eco friendly cleaning products? There are now amazing websites like Ecobnb that make searching for sustainable places to stay a lot easier.
No matter where you are staying, there are things that you can do to help out as well.
- Close the blinds to prevent the room from heating up.
- Turn off the lights and air-con when you leave the room.
- Bring your own toiletries and avoid using the tiny plastic bottles provided.
- Hang up your towels to dry and reuse them.
- Decline house keeping to reduce unnecessary washing of linens. Some hotels like Aloft even give you credit towards food and drinks for doing this!
Out and about
Carry a reusable water bottle and bag
This is a simple tip that can make a big impact. From grocery shopping to holding your laundry, a simple cotton tote can dramatically cut down on the number of plastic bags that are used.
The same goes for a water bottle. Many cities have public water fountains where you can fill your bottle for free. If your are travelling to a place where the water is of questionable quality, you can buy a large jug of water and fill up your bottle as needed. Alternatively, you can use something like a life straw to filter your water. My favourite bottles are from Klean Kanteen. They are light yet durable enough to survive a 6ft drop onto concrete.
Travelling is an amazing way to experience new cuisines in an authentic way. Slow down and eat in at restaurants. Look for places that use local produce and serve food on real plates. Looking for recommendations? Ask the locals where they eat.
Who can resist picking up a few things that will remind you of this trip for months to come? In order to stop buying random knick knacks that will gather dust, and find something that you will truly enjoy having in your house: do some research first. My favourite kind of souvenirs to buy are the herbs and spices used in the local cuisine. They don’t take up too much room, and the flavours will take you back to your holiday every time you use it.
If you are buying something for your home, make sure you have space for it before you buy it and that it goes with everything else in the room. Buy something made locally rather than mass produced in a factory. Not only will it be of a better quality, your money will be supporting the local economy too!
Tours and Sightseeing
It’s a lot easier to soak in the history and culture when you have someone to explain it to you. One amazing way to do this is to take a walking or bike tour. Rather than blitzing around at a ridiculous pace, you can really get a feel for the place you are in, all while being carbon neutral! Need to go further than walking distance? Take public transport over taxis.
Check out my post on travelling on a budget here.
Don’t Forget the Sunscreen
Going to be travelling to a sunny destination? Make sure to wear biodegradable and reef safe sunscreen like this one!
Sustainable travel doesn’t mean you have to give up on all the things you love doing. All it takes is a little planning and desire to protect our planet.
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