5 things you can do to make you a more environmentally friendly tourist
There is an increasing focus on the environment, also in travel. In travel the focus is especially aimed at traveling by plane. I am well aware that flying isn’t environmentally friendly, but I still usually fly when I’m traveling. First of all, I don’t fly that many times a year. Second of all, I think that I can make my travels more eco-friendly in other ways. But how can one exactly be eco-friendly when traveling?
One place to start is to think about what you are doing at home. Are you doing something eco-friendly at home? Most likely you can do some of these things when traveling. You might take the bus to work, use a lunchbox for your lunch, and use reusable shopping bags when shopping? These things you can easily do when you’re on vacation; use public transport, focus on recycling, and use less plastic. In this post you’re getting a few tips on what you can do to be a little bit more eco-friendly when traveling.
1. Choose the best transport
If you’re going on a short distance trip you will probably be more environmentally friendly if you go by car or train than by plane. But for longer distance trips where you go by plane there is some things you can do to make it a more eco-friendly flight. The first thing is to pack light. The less your suitcase weighs, the less fuel the airplane uses. This will reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The other thing you can do is to choose flights with fewer stopovers. The more times the aircraft has to take off, the more fuel it uses.
But it’s not only the transport you choose when going to your destination that affects the environment, also the transport you use during your stay counts. If you’re on a city break it is usually easy getting around the city by public transport such as bus, train or tram. It can also be fun exploring the location you’re at by foot or bike. I had lots of fun when biking around in La Digue last summer.
2. Think about what you are doing at the hotel
If you are staying at a hotel there are several things to do for a more eco-friendly travel. Some of these things you might do at home as well, so why not in a hotel?
- Re-use your towels – More and more hotels are focusing on this and are encouraging the guests to hang up their towels after use so that housekeepers know that you want to use it over again.
- Choose showers over baths – You’re using an excessive amount of water when filling up a bathtub. To use the least amount of water you should keep your showers short, and if you are extra committed to using less water; shower with someone 🙂
- Turn of the lights – In several hotels you need a key card to turn on the lights in your room, and the lights turn off when you leave (with the key card). But in some hotels it’s not like that, so you have to remember to turn off the lights when leaving the room.
- Do not disturb – Do you really need housekeeping every day?
- Don’t fill up your plate at the (breakfast) buffet – We often fill up our plates with way too much food when we are at a buffet and have to throw away lots of food. Start with smaller portions and go several times instead.
3. Reduce the use of plastic
Think about how much plastic you are using, also when traveling. Here are some tips on how to reduce the use of plastic:
- Bring a water bottle you can refill with water at the airport before departure. By doing so you won’t have to buy this at the airport, and it’s both eco-friendly and economic.
- Bring a reusable shopping bag and/or a backpack to keep your stuff in, instead of using plastic bags. But the most eco-friendly kind of shopping bags are the ones made out of natural material.
- Use reusable bottles for soap and shampoo.
- Say no to straws and disposable cutlery.
- Take the opportunity to see and shop at the local market, so-called Farmers Markets. Here they often sells fruit and other foods without plastic. But remember to bring your shopping bag or backpack!
- Buy sodas and other drinks in glass bottles if possible.
- Bring your own headset instead of using the one you get on the plane. An extra advantage of this is that you get a much better headset.
- If you are extra dedicated you can pick up plastic from the ground when you’re traveling.
4. Stick to the path
If you are going for a walk in nature when you are on a holiday you must always stick to marked trails. You also have to keep a safe distance from animals, if you meet any. If you walk outside of the marked trails you could end up stepping on protected or endangered plants.
Are you joining an arranged tour with a guide it can be an advantage to go in smaller groups. Smaller groups have a tendency to have less environmentally impact than larger groups.
5. Think before buying souvenirs
It’s always fun to buy something that reminds you of your travels. It’s a great way to keep the memories. But have you ever thought about what kind of souvenirs you buy?
At home you might be careful not to buy products containing palm oil to boycott those who contribute to the deforestation of the rainforest. You should also consider such things when you are on vacation. Be aware of what kind of souvenirs you buy so that you’re not supporting those who operate illegally. A good rule is to avoid souvenirs made from parts from plants and animals.
And there are other ways to remember your travels. Take pictures, write a journal, buy postcards, and much more.
There are even more things you can do to make your travels a little bit more environmentally friendly, but this is a place to start. I think that everything you do helps the environment, so please try some of these tips next time you’re traveling. And tell me in the comments if you are doing something for the environment, either at home or when traveling.