How to Reduce Your Environmental Footprint While Travelling
Travelling responsibly ultimately comes down to foresight, a little planning goes a long way in making sure our impact on the environment we're visiting is as low as possible. These are a few simple things we can do to ensure we leave the smallest footprint possible while we wander:
- Avoid plastic water bottles: This is the easiest one to do right, invest in a quality re-usable water bottle before you travel. Swell bottles are absolutely fantastic, these insulated water bottles keep liquids cold for 24 hours and hot for 12. There are many other cheaper versions starting to appear on the market now also, you will be able to find one at most health food shops and supermarkets. If you're travelling somewhere without safe drinking water, invest in a water purifier to make sure you're not using excess single use plastic. LifeStraw make fantastic products to guarantee safe drinking water wherever you are.
- Pack light: The more a plane weights, the more carbon emissions it produces - so only pack what you need.
- Ditch the plastic bag: Whether you're food shopping or browsing the local clothes market, take a re-usable bag with you. A calico tote bag folds up to next-to nothing and will come in handy for numerous things while you're travelling.
- Act at home in your hotel: Towels don't need to be washed everyday, if you wouldn't do it at home don't do it while travelling. It can be easy not to check if the lights and air-con are turned off when we're leaving somewhere where those costs don't affect us personally, so be sure to double check before you leave for your adventures each day.
- Choose your destination and activities thoughtfully: Particularly if you're doing a tour, make sure to check the values and responsibilities of the company and choose reputable, conservation-minded tour operators. This can be as simple as reading a few reviews or asking if they support local businesses throughout the tour. When booking accommodation, do they have effective waste treatment systems? Is the accommodation locally owned, what do they do to reduce their energy consumption?
- Go by foot: Avoid using a car where possible, can you instead walk or hire a bike? If you do need to use a vehicle, trains and buses can be a good option as they reduce the number of cars on the road, and they can also be cheaper!
- Watch your food miles: One of the best parts of travelling is experiencing the local food, so be sure to really experience it. Eat at the local markets and when dining out, ask where the produce is grown or caught. This is also true for purchasing souvenirs and gifts - be sure to shop locally from traditional artisans. Shopping locally reduces energy consumption through production and transport, as well as supports the local economy and their traditional crafts and cultures.
- Travel locally: It's no secret that long-haul flights aren't great for the environment. Flying is extremely heavy on carbon dioxide emissions, while also contributing to global warming in the short term due to the chemicals being emitted in the fuel combustion process. It's so easy to think we have to travel overseas to experience new cultures, outlooks and landscapes, but we have so much unique beauty right here in our backyard as well. Look for our exploring Australia blog post coming soon!
Our friends at Clean Coast Collective have a number of beautiful environmentally friendly lifestyle products perfect for travel, including bamboo toothbrushes, linen produce bags and stainless steel drinking straws. Like anything we do, a little mindfulness will go a long way in looking after our planet.