From cutting down the towel usage in your hotel to choosing boats over taxis; here are ten eco-friendly tips to make your trips greener.
1. Reduce Your Fumes
Opt for a bicycle or boat instead of a taxi when you can. For example, Amsterdam is famous for its bicycles, so join in on the two-wheeled chaos while you’re there. Places like Venice and Stockholm are made up of beautiful canals, which is just one reason to hop on to a boat instead of into a car. Walk everywhere – literally stop to smell the flowers. You’ll find forgotten places and locally celebrated spaces. In cities like New York or London, this is a great way to see more and save money. Also, don’t forget book direct flights to reduce emissions and keep your trips efficient.
2. Use the Sun
If you’re heading anywhere with sun, such as Namibia, Sri Lanka or Goa – pack a solar-powered charger. Lie on the beach or next to the pool and let your devices charge. You could even take it on tour when you go up the Namib Dunes or through the tea plantations in Ahangama – when you know you’ll be in the sun all day. Not only will you save the hotel electricity but you’ll be helping the planet and charging your things while out and about. Win win for you and the environment.
3. Always Choose Local
Eat and drink local whenever you can. Imported goods are usually more expensive and you can probably get them at home. Markets are a great way to do this; visit Mercat Boqueria down the renowned La Rambla and taste all the flavours that Barcelona has to offer. Or, be part of the chaos in Japan at the Tsukiji Market, the largest and most exciting fish market in the world. Support the locals of the country you’re in while getting the chance to really experience the place through its residential-flavours.
4. Keep the kg’s Down and Pack Light
If you’re not sure if you’ll need it – you probably won’t. Take less with you to help reduce the weight on the flight (if everyone did this it would really add up!) and make getting around easier for you. Also, use durable bags for your bits and bobs so you don’t have to dispose of plastic in every destination.
5. No Ubering for One
When you land in a new country, take the public transport. There’s also the option to share an Uber in certain cities but don’t automatically open the app as you arrive. Add adventure to your trip by taking a train through the magnificent Sri Lankan mountains. Or tram up the streets of Lisbon. If you’re in Cape Town, the red, hop-on-hop-off bus is a great place to start. Also, try to get an idea of how the city’s metro or bus system works and use it! You’ll see how the locals get around while saving yourself some money (and the environment).
6. Reuse Your Bottle
Don’t buy water at every corner shop. Instead, take a really nice, durable bottle with you and fill it up at drinking taps or ask restaurants. All eco-friendly travellers should remember this one as this way you won’t be constantly throwing away bottles and money while helping to reduce litter.
7. Make Your Room Your Responsibility
Treat your hotel room as you would your home. You know your partner would be furious if you only used a towel once and let the electricity run the entire day while you went island hopping. So be gracious and use the towel a couple of times, turn the air-con off when you’re out all day and cut back on showers and baths (especially if you’re in a drought-stricken area).
8. Dispose Correctly
No matter where you are always try to recycle and dispose of your waste accordingly. Don’t just throw away batteries or food into any old bin. Treat where you are as your own home and be aware of any regulations the city may have regarding waste. This could vary from different plumbing systems to island waste management control.
9. Say No to Wildlife and Wildlife Products
Unfortunately, animal items or even wild animals themselves are rather desired around the world. On your travels, don’t support the people selling such things – it will only give it reason for the cruel industry to carry on. Say no to elephant rides and monkey feeding. And don’t buy ivory, quills and feathers when you see them. Do support ethical local industries when you can.They’re great initiatives out there that will make the perfect souvenir. For example, if you’re in Kenya, visit Kazuri. It’s an amazing program that empowers women through a beautiful bead and jewellery business. Just look around wherever you are, there will be a good alternative from people who care.
10. Before You Leave
Don’t leave your house without turning off plugs and switching off the geyser. Unless someone’s looking after your beloved pet, empty your fridge and turn everything off. You’ll save electricity and can fly in peace knowing that if there’s a fire, it’s not because of your faulty GHD.
Here are some more tips on how to be an eco-friendly traveller.
Are you an expert eco-traveller? We’d love to hear your earth-loving and eco-friendly tricks and tips for travelling. Share them in the comments section below.
Photo credit: Michael-Ray Erasmus