You are a wonderfully green traveller and want to share the love, your passion and raise awareness for an eco-friendly way to travel; amazing work! You can be a valuable spokesperson to guide your friends and family to change their habits and live a greener life.
It is only natural to want to share your travel experiences with those who matter most. Here are a few simple ways you can encourage your family and friends to choose greener options when they are planning their travels.
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Encourage Sustainable Air Travel
Flying not only has a significant impact on our carbon footprint, but our skies are full of waste. Think of all the plastic knives, forks, spoons, cups, bags and mini water bottles flying above us waiting to be discarded upon landing.
In many cases, you might prefer to choose the slower pace of local public transport. An overnight sleeper train or tourist bus is cheaper and offers an adventure you won’t get from flying.
If you do have to fly between destinations, then avoid business or first-class! According to a study from the World Bank, emissions associated with flying in business-class are three times higher and in first-class up to nine times higher than flying in economy seats.
Business-class and first-class seats are more significant; therefore, fewer people are being transported by the same amount of fuel when compared to the economy.
Sustainable Air Travel is gaining popularity thanks to travellers aware of the massive carbon footprint each flight has on the environment. Check to see if your airline has a Carbon Offset option.
This means they have partnered with a company that runs programs that offset emissions; such as planting trees. Imagine that!
Each time you book a flight, you can positively contribute to an organisation that will plant a tree. The cost of the fees does not go to the airline, the funds go to the accredited offset scheme provider to support the work they are doing to help the environment.
Suggest Travelling Light
Backpacking is a fantastic way to see the world. Travelling to a new destination can be overwhelming and we naturally feel inclined to pack everything we own!
A backpack that is permitted for carryon or a compact suitcase can easily help you to travel lighter and cheaper! It takes a little practice, but minimalist packing is achievable.
You will feel free to move around without worrying about carrying a heavy bag everywhere you go. If you have to purchase a backpack I highly recommend the popular Osprey Farpoint 40 which I have been travelling across Indonesia with since day one and absolutely love!
You can also make your life easier by investing in a set of compression bags or packing cubes. They are something every traveller shouldn’t leave home without.
Make Use Of Public Transport
Are you in an area that has good public transportation? If the answer is yes, it's great fun, really affordable and can be quite literally, an interesting journey.
Public transportation can be of the slower and noisy kind, think about the tuk-tuk or rickety bus rides you can make memories with!
For those who can’t offer the added time, check the local metro system. High speed bullet trains are a fantastic modern alternative that you can use when you travel.
If there is limited public transport, can you double-up with other travellers and share costs and fuel?
Choose Eco-Friendly Accommodation
Luxury big-name resorts tend not to be particularly friendly to the environment, however, this is not always the case, but given the sheer size of these resorts, waste management is usually a complex issue. Sheets and towels are frequently and unnecessarily changed.
All-you-can-eat buffets overflow with delicious fresh food that will likely be wasted. Golf courses are watered in desert lands. Air Conditioning keeps open lobbies fresh.
If you plan to stay in a hotel, check their sustainability agreement and policies on concepts such as recycling. If the hotel offers for you to hang your towel to be reused, this is a great start.
Refillable drinking water will reduce your need for the single-use hotel water provided in the fridge, simply leave those there. Take any left-over food from your dining experience in your reusable eco-friendly containers. An alternative option is to consider the choices for accommodation in your area.
Eco lodges, bungalows, homestays, guesthouses and Airbnb share accommodation can be much greener, friendlier and closer to the culture of the countries in which you are exploring. It is definitely worth checking out!
Minimise Daily Waste
Eco-friendly Toiletries are a wonderful way to travel sustainably. Choose products without harmful chemicals, plastic packaging, or that are recyclable. Travel For Change has a list of affordable items. You can view them all here in this article here!
Reducing food waste is another way to help the environment. Take what you don't eat in a reusable container, pack meals into sustainable options like glass mason jars or reusable wraps. You can even bring your own reusable water bottle and coffee cup to help save on single-use plastics.
Plastic bags are so simple to replace! Everyone needs a beautiful eco bag made from canvas that serves as a beach bag, tote bag, laptop bag and shopping bag. Plastic bags are a huge waste of time and they destroy the planet by making their way into the ocean where they never fully decompose.
Forget The Plastic Packaging
There are so many excellent eco-friendly alternatives available that come ‘naked’ without plastic packaging. The exciting progress in travel essentials is really worth checking out. You can find plastic-free alternatives for shampoo, body wash, soap, toothpaste, mouthwash, dental floss, hair products and much more!
On another note - on average, each household in the west uses over 400 toilet rolls each year. Across the Asian continent, it's not unusual to have narrow sewerage pipes, so our beloved toilet paper can clog up pipes.
If you are travelling in this region you will find the toilet system uses the bidet, or water gun, in replace of flushing toilet paper. Adapting to this way of life is much greener than toilet paper.
There is a myriad of natural and vegan solid shampoo and body soaps that are not packed in any form of plastic and just require a simple reusable container for storage.
Enjoy The Local Cuisine
We love to experience the world of food through the eyes of a local and dine at street markets and in small local restaurants. Dining at the restaurant dramatically reduces your environmental footprint.
The produce tends to be fresh from local vegetable and wet markets meaning it has not travelled across the world.
In fact, encouraging family and friends to try out the local vegetarian or vegan dish is an even better way to reduce your environmental footprint. If you eat vegan, in just one year you can save roughly 365 animal lives, 400,000 gallons of water and over 7000 pounds of Co2 emissions!
One person can truly make a positive difference by leading the way for their community as they travel.
Wander the bustling night markets, try the wide variety of dishes on offer, bring your reusable bags and containers to keep your purchases plastic-free and fresh!
Support local, organic, community trade farmers wherever possible.
Avoid Animal Tourism
Look into 'fun' tourist attractions with care.
Typically anything that seems to be exploitative, cruel or environmentally damaging probably is, so boycott it. Don't ride elephants, don't have your photograph taken with a 'dressed-up' monkey or a tiger and don’t watch a bear dance.
Eco, green and sustainable are all buzz words in the travel industry at the moment, and they are helping the public to be more aware and educated. Say no to the eco-deniers and start to make a change.
Visit an ethical wildlife sanctuary or rehabilitation centre if you are looking to help local wildlife in a sustainable way. These are a great way to encourage your family and friends to be a compassionate and ethical traveller.
Zoo's are often on the family tourism agenda but they a rarely places with the animals best intentions at heart, especially across Southeast Asia. Suggest an education based experience where everyone can learn something new and observe the animals being taken care of.
Encouraging others to learn more about sustainable travel, responsible tourism and compassionate volunteering is the forefront of this blog. Be encouraged to wander differently, our small changes have a big impact on our community.