You know that winter holiday you planned at the end of last year, and forgot about because it was so far away? Well… it’s here! With the temperature dropping, and winter on the horizon, you’re packing your bags and preparing for a mini escape to warm your toes and top up on vitamin D.
The increasing affordability of travel means it’s getting easier for us to pop away, but to enable our children, grandchildren, and future generations to continue enjoying this planet, we must consider our travelling impact.
Travelling lightly (and we’re not talking about that 30kg bag you’ve got filled with snorkelling gear) is an important concept for every traveller to consider, no matter where they are going. It is our responsibility as humans, to consider our effect on the earth, its inhabitants, and there is no exception when it comes to travelling. Luckily, it’s not as hard as it sounds!
Your guide to conscious travelling:
1. What you need:
Preparing efficiently for your travels can be one of the most eco-friendly and economic things you’ll ever do. If you have everything you need, you’ll escape wasting money on double-ups that were left at home, and maximise your holiday experience.
- Make a list of the things you need on your holiday, a month in advance. That way, if there is something you don’t have, there is time to find it from an eco-friendly supplier and shipping time is accounted for (e.g. compostable wipes, natural sunscreen, or an ethically made t-shirt).
- Consider everything you are bringing, and its purpose. A lighter bag reduces the carbon emissions of vehicles you travel in.
- Bring your reusables. We recommend: a straw, cutlery, a mug, containers (for takeaways), a foldable carry bag, and a drink bottle.
2. Where to stay:
Accommodation facilities generally have thousands of people flood through them every year; their footprint is huge. The resources needed to support so many travellers are expansive, and hotels are usually driven by money, rather than conservation efforts.
- Choose places to stay that support your eco-values (e.g. An eco-Airbnb, eco-hotels, or sustainability-focused hostels).
- Leave your towels hanging up if they do not need a wash.
- Make a note to the cleaners not to wash your sheets every night.
- Pick a place with basic kitchen facilities so you can eat in and reduce the wastefulness of eating out.
- Turn off lights and A/C when you leave a room, watch your water consumption, and treat all resources like they are finite, rather than someone else’s problem.
3. What to do:
Wherever you go in the world, there will be different adventures and activities to indulge in. There are basic rules when it comes to all explorations:
- Stay on the track. No matter how much you want to venture off on your own, paths are there for a reason: to protect the environment and precious ecosystems.
- Read and follow the local signs.
- Support the local economy, and try to avoid global tour chains and companies.
- Shop consciously, or not at all.
- Boycott animal tourism.
- Respect and adapt to the culture you’re in.
4. A few extra tricks
- Use public transport when possible.
- Do your research before you go.
- If you’re going somewhere without clean tap/drinking water, invest in a Steripen which you can buy from most outdoor stores.
- Embrace the local culture, and don’t get caught up in activities that mean you ignore the local daily customs.
- Give back when you can. Volunteering can be great ways to give back to the society you visited and enjoyed. If you’re time-poor, simply pick up rubbish as you wander the beach.
- Consider carbon offsetting your journey (read more about this here).