Can traveling be sustainable? And how can we reduce our carbon footprints and do our traveling much more responsible?
Well, first of all, we all know that traveling by airplane is causing a lot of carbon emission and short trips by air should be avoided as much as possible. I always plan my trip for several weeks when I’m flying long-distance, and once I’m on the ground of my planned destination, I try to limit my carbon footprint wherever I can. I try to become part of the emerging “slow travel” trend by going to fewer places and spending more time in each and for the small spontaneous trips, I go by public transportations. Train and bus travel is a good way to do this. Not only will you experience a deeper sense of place, you’ll also decrease your carbon footprint.
There is much we can do, in fact to travel as little as possible would be the best thing, but I think that travels are the only thing that people would have a difficult time to limit, including my self, but hold your horses! there is still a lot of things we can do to make our travels as sustainable as possible. I have listed some tips that you can follow from what to pack to which activities you should consider when you’re at your destination. First thing is to be well-planned as it is hard to be eco if you’re a spontaneous kind of traveller. There is still a long way to go for the travel industry in general to be sustainable, so in this case its their costumers that needs to ‘vote’ with their decisions and their money, and if you want to se a sustainable change in this world, then you have to start with yourself.
- Book non-stop flights whenever you can, as it is the take offs and landings that create most of an air-planes carbon emission
- Keep your airplane trash, because do you really need a new plastic glass everything you want to have a drink?
- Travel by train or bus as much as possible
Travel by bus as much as possible – Chickenbus in Belize
To travel by train or bus is far more sustainable and if you’re destination is reachable by one of the following, then I would recommend you to save your flight tickets for another trip where its not accessible by train or bus.
Once you’ve reached your destination, there is plenty of things you can do to make your trip sustainable:
Where we stay during our travels also plays a huge role in being conscious and have a sustainable travel. Wherever you’re on a budget or not, there is still some things you should think about when booking your accommodation abroad:
- Stay at Eco-Friendly hotels if you’re not on a budget
- Stay in local hostels or couchsurfing if you’re on a budget
- Leave your used towel at the towel hanger
- Avoid hotels with all-inclusive and big pools (too much food and water waste!)
Well, if you’re vegan, you already know the game, but if you’re not (also for vegans):
- Try to eat as plant based and organic as possible. Avoid foods such as red snapper, shark fins and tuna.
- Buy fresh local fruits and vegetables at the market. They are from season and as good as it gets. Not only is it a sustainable way of eating, but you’ll also support the local economy.
- Avoid anything with palm oil, why? Read my blog post about why we should avoid palm oil here.
Munching on local street food in a natural packaging
Eat plant based and support eateries doing their job for the environment
Just loooove my fruits 😛
What to pack
Lets face it: our beautiful planet is drowning in chemicals and plastics. This part is something everybody should work towards to end. Our growing population and mass consumption is hard on the environment and its habitats, so if we want to sustain a clean and beautiful planet, we all should consider to buy less and reuse more. Here is some items that you can pack for you travel so you will avoid the single used plastics and environment damaging items that we all use during our travels:
- Biodegradable mosquito repellent / citronella oil
- Biodegradable and reef safe sunscreen – get it here
- Bamboo toothbrush and natural toothpaste (you can make your own toothpaste – zero waste)
- Reusable tote-bag
- Reusable water bottle – get it here
- Reusable straw for cocktails and smoothies
- Reusable utensils for the street food munching – get it here
- Coconut oil – as a body lotion, aftersun, hair-mask and lip balm, post mosquito bite remedy
- Sollar power bank – get it here
- Cotton cloth bags for fruit and veggies at the market – I love mine from FruitFlybags
Natural and zero-waste toothpaste
Always caring my reusable glass straw with me wherever I go!
Eco-friendly bags for the fruit and veggie haul – from Fruit Fly Bags
Biodegradable and reef-safe sunscreen and mosquito repellent
- Do a beach clean-up: its a fun way to be at the beach at help the environment
- Volunteer at a sanctuary, animal shelter or a school (best way to educate the newest generations of how to treat our planet)
- Ride bicycles from A to B whenever possible
- Support small local shops and buy local handcraft souvenirs – but please avoid anything made out of animals as some parts can come from endangered animals
- Choose eco-friendly tours
Beach clean-ups is a fun and sustainable activity for you and your mates
All of these decisions can reduce the environmental repercussions of your next vacation. So, too, can one of the first decisions you make during the planning process: your destination itself. Even though it all can seem a bit overwhelming, just remember that small steps leads to a bigger impact. We are all responsible of creating a brighter future for our planet and for the next generations.
I hope you liked my little guide to a more sustainable and responsible travel and if you have any questions or comments, please leave a comment below.