Being a travel-lover whilst caring about the environment often feels like a catch 22. The unsettling reality that exploring our Earth’s beauty is one of the very things causing it’s detriment is a hard pill to swallow, and incredibly tricky to navigate - especially after a year and a half of lockdown where we’re all itching to get away!
However, whilst travel is undeniably destructive for our planet, fortunately there are still numerous ways in which we can reduce the impact our adventures have on the Earth. From city breaks to beach vacations, these are travel rules to live by - and they’re easier than you might think!
Think about toiletries
Taking liquid-based toiletries abroad not only slows you down at airport security, it also means you’ll have empties to dispose of in a foreign country that might not be equipped to recycle them.
Shampoo bars and toothpaste tabs on the other hand are fantastic zero-waste alternatives that’ll keep both you and the planet clean! If you do take plastic bottles abroad, always remember to bring them back home to ensure that they get properly recycled.
We know, we know - after so many months of lockdown you’re probably sick of local sightseeing! With a flight from London to Rome putting more C02 into the atmosphere than many people do in an entire year though, it’s undeniable that flying causes the majority of our travel-based emissions. By cutting out this main culprit altogether, you’ll be streets ahead with eco-fying your wanderlust!
Reuse, reuse, reuse
From your mug to your water bottle and food containers, by following the same rules as for day trips the amount of plastic you’ll save over the course of a trip is considerable!
Seek out vegan and veggie restaurants
Making a point to try out at least one or two vegan and veggie restaurants is a great way of reducing the carbon footprint of your trip, whilst also helping local business owners.
Travel for longer
Yes, really! While the modern 9-5, combined with the rise of budget airlines, makes shorter and more frequent breaks the most appealing option to many (just search #weekendwarrior on Instagram if you don’t believe us!), going back to basics and booking longer, less frequent trips really could be the way forward.
Whether it’s visiting multiple countries by public transit, or spending the entirety of your holiday practicing slow travel (i.e. staying longer in each destination you visit), you’ll experience the same amount of adventure with a quarter of the emissions!
Carbon offset your flight
Websites like Ecologi let you offset all aspects of your life, which includes flights. And while offsetting isn’t the ultimate answer, it’s still a fantastic way to reduce your impact in the meantime.
Give the maid a week off
Think about it – we don’t wash our towels everyday at home, so why should it be any different abroad? Keep the ‘do not disturb’ sign on your door, and save that precious water and energy usage instead; the maid will thank you, as will the planet!
Reuse your wardrobe
Just because you’re jetting off on your jollies doesn’t mean you need a whole new wardrobe for the occasion, no matter what the fashion mags tell you! By reusing last year’s wardrobe, or purchasing ‘new’ items from vintage stores or resell apps like Depop, you’ll save massive quantities of water (like, 2700 litres per t-shirt massive!).
Get to know the local transit system
Public transit in a foreign country can be daunting, especially when you don’t speak the language. The emissions and money you’ll save from using them though MORE than make up for any awkwardness or potential blunders that may incur. Not to mention, the sense of achievement you'll feel from finding your own way around is second-to-none!
Avoid cruises at all costs
Something a lot of tourists don’t realise is that cruise ships are big gas-guzzling machines, with many producing almost double the emissions of flights per customer. So, if you’re looking to make your travel greener, avoid cruises at all costs!
Take those hotel toiletries
If you ever felt a bit cheeky for nicking hotel shampoos, this is your sign that it’s a-okay! In fact, it's more than okay, as hotel-provided soap, shampoo/conditioners and toothpaste are often thrown out if the customer doesn’t use them. They may be full of unnecessary plastic, but it’s much better that they go home with you than end up in a landfill!
Say no to all-inclusive
We’ll admit it, this one hurts. All-inclusive holidays make vacationing abroad super easy, and the feeling of having everything taken care of is complete bliss when you’re escaping the day-to-day grind. Like many things however this indulgence comes at a price, and in this case it’s the sheer volume of waste that occurs at all-inclusive hotels.
Going self-catered lets us manage our intake much more effectively, as well as invest more money in the local economy (both in terms of hotels and restaurants). It might not be possible for everyone, but if it is for you, booking with a small, locally-owned hotel is the best choice, as all-inclusive hotels are often foreign-owned and have been known to exploit local labour. Research is key here, so make sure you do yours!
If everyone followed even a handful of these tips, the results would be monumental. Check out our blog for more sustainability information, and remember; travel can be impactful without impacting the Earth!