Sustainability, sustainable tourism, eco travel, eco- this, eco that..we are consistently being told to be more eco-friendly, stop using single-use plastics and help try to save the planet. In recent years there definitely has been more of an initiative to find and consume more eco-friendly products in an effort to reduce the sheer volume of waste we are producing.
We all know about climate change and the impact of wastes and plastic on the planet. In most countries, the effects of climate change are already being felt and whether you agree with it or not, it certainly doesn’t hurt to reduce the amount of trash we have on this planet. No one likes a beach covered in trash or plastic bags swimming in the sea as you take a morning dip on vacation.
Plastic bags can take up to 1,000 years to decompose, so taking into account and how much plastic we already have on the planet, it’s safe to say that making a few simple swaps in your daily and travel lifestyle can make a huge difference to the earth. Picture it this way, if 5 people decided not to use plastic bags for one year- they’d save 35,000 plastic bags from being sent to landfill. Imagine how much more we can all do together!
Statistics show that we are actually more likely to use more and to produce more waste when we travel. This is mainly due to travelling unprepared or simply not having the knowledge on hand in order to make better and more responsible, eco-travel decisions. A lot of the advice that we hear takes more time, effort and money than we sometimes have but luckily for us, not all environmentally-friendly changes to your travel lifestyle have to be time-consuming or costly. Here are the easiest, budget-friendly ways that you can make changes to your travel lifestyle to benefit not only the planet but also yourself. These are all changes which I have personally made and felt they have really made a change to my lifestyle for the better. I hope they help you in the same way.
USE A REUSABLE BOTTLE WITH A FILTER
If you’re thinking about making just one eco traveling swap make it this one. Having and using a reusable bottle is the best way to reduce plastic bottle waste but what happens when you go abroad? I remember purchasing my first reusable bottle which served me greatly in my home country but I suddenly became a bit stuck as to what happens when you travel and can’t drink the tap water!? I found myself going back to buying plastic bottles because I couldn’t find a reliable source to refill my own.
If you travel a lot, especially to countries where tap water isn’t potable I highly recommend you invest in a water bottle with a powerful built-in filter. These filters purify all the nasties out of water found pretty much anywhere and make it safe to drink, so, you can fill up your bottle from a lake, river, tap or pretty much just about anywhere. Wave goodbye to never having to buy another plastic bottle. You might be thinking that these filter bottles come with a pretty high price tag and you’d be right. It certainly is an investment but if you never have to buy bottles of water again think about how much money you’d be saving in the long-term.
Find mine on Amazon here.
SHOP AT A LOCAL MARKET
One of the best ways to reduce the amount of plastic packaging and wrapping is to shop at your local market both at home and when travelling. I’ve never understood why three peppers need to be wrapped in plastic and you certainly won’t find them that way at a market. Market produce is fresh, often locally grown, doesn’t come wrapped in plastic and your dollar goes straight into the pocket of a local farmer making it better for the local economy. It’s also a great place to learn more about the culture of a country. Let’s be honest, the fresh fruit vendor in the Sri Lankan village probably needs your dollar much more than Walmart does.
CARRY A REUSABLE SHOPPER + SMALL REUSABLE PRODUCE BAGS
They don’t cost much and are super light and easy to fold up and stash in your backpack, not to mention they are the ultimate eco traveling accessory. Use them whenever you need to and say no to plastic bags in shops and supermarkets. Luckily many countries worldwide are making the move to ban plastic bags so it’s always a good idea to have a canvas shopper with you in case you decide to stop at a market after a day of exploring.
When it comes to bagging smaller items like oranges, tomatoes and any other single product I use these amazing canvas bags available in four sizes and machine washable, perfect for a plastic-free market experience.
OFFSET CARBON EMISSIONS
Air travel contributes to global warming. Fact. Last year I thought about how much flying I was doing and recently tried to consider taking the bus or train to my next destination or simply travel closer to home in order to adapt more eco travel habits. This isn’t always possible, however, but one thing you can do is to offset your emissions. Firstly calculate your emissions depending on the distance you flew. You can do this with myclimate.org. Simply pop in your flight details and they will let you know how much CO2 your flight emitted and how much you need to pay in order to offset this. You can then make a donation to one of their projects or donate to any environmental agency of your choice. Tree-planting schemes make for great choices when trying to offset carbon emissions.
STAY-IN INSTEAD OF TAKE-AWAY
Reusable coffee cups are great and nowadays they are even the coolest thing to have in your bag. If you’re not someone who is constantly on the move, reusable coffee cups are just another thing you have to carry in your bag. I prefer to give them a miss entirely and simply order a coffee in a ceramic cup to have in. This way I have opened up a few moments for me- to relax and reflect for a while as well as creating no waste while doing so.
BRING YOUR OWN INFLIGHT MEALS AND SNACKS
One of the best ways to promote more eco traveling on a flight is to say no to the in-flight food and drink. Not only is it unhealthy and full of hidden sodium and sugar, but plane food is also served on, in and around single-use plastic. Prior to leaving for the airport, prepare your own meal, put it in a reusable Tupperware and bring it with you. Not only is it a healthier option for your body, but you’ll also save on tonnes of single-use plastic and the empty container will probably come in useful again on your trip.
BRING YOUR OWN REUSABLE UTENSILS
For in-flight meals, takeaway meals, street food and straws for smoothies and coconuts, reusable cutlery is a great way to avoid single-use plastic cutlery both at home and when you travel. It’s an easy swap to implement to make eco travel easier for you. Find mine on Amazon here.
If you have any comments or questions about eco traveling please leave them below. I’d love to hear from you.
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