Becoming an Eco-Friendly Traveller
Updated: Feb 15
As climate change concerns grow ever more real, we wanderers of the world, have more of a responsibility than ever to ensure we positively impact the environment where ever we go. To start the process of becoming a more eco-friendly traveller, we should become more conscious and aware about whether our travel decisions benefit the environment, the local people and the local area. Awareness should start from the moment you first begin planning your trip including what products and transport you plan to use to where you will visit and what you will do.
Here are Some Ways to Become a More Eco-Friendly Traveller
Eco-Friendly Travel Products
Be aware of any potential negative impact your products could have on the environment. Nowadays people are constantly buying new things without giving the planet or the workers behind the item a second thought. Let's become more conscious and aware. For example, if all travellers made the swap to eco-friendly shampoo and conditioner bars, this would save thousands, if not millions of plastic bottles from being used unnecessarily. Although, if you would prefer bottles then at least use sustainably made ones. A 90g bar can last for about 60 – 80 washes, if you wash your hair on average 3 times a week then a bar will likely last for a minimum of 5 months. This swap would not only benefit the planet but you as well - no liquid means saved space as well as weight and is made of natural ingredients.
Here are a Few Other Swaps you can Make
Kindle or 2nd handbooks
Canvas shopping bag
To be a slow traveller is to completely immerse yourself within the culture of the area you are exploring. You no longer have to be the typical tourist rushing from one iconic area to another. Instead, you can simply watch people hurry past while you take in your surroundings and marvel at the wonderful experiences that travelling brings you. Also, you now have time to sample local businesses and accommodation so your visit is able to benefit the local people and community as well as giving your mind and body a rest at the same time.
Slow travel gives you the chance to take your time in each new place. This means you can greatly reduce your carbon footprint by travelling less frequently. Cultures and landscapes can differ hugely across a country and your experience will be just as diverse. There is no need for ‘country hopping’.
Check out this article on how to slowly explore the Scottish Highlands.
Here are Some Other Perks to Slow Travel
New relationships have a chance to flourish
There is time to give back to the community
The local culture can be experienced
Money can be saved by being flexible with travel and accommodation dates
You have more time to discover hidden gems
Check out this article on slow travel for more information.
According to an article in Transport and Environment, the flying industry is responsible for about 5% of global warming. So rather than fly everywhere, use a more sustainable form of transport such as trains, buses, barge cruises, bicycles or feet! Cutting down on flights as much as possible or all together will greatly contribute to you having a greener footprint. Or if you insist on flying then hop aboard the Hogwarts Express and learn to fly the magical way.
I know road trips are a popular choice but driving alone using a medium-sized petrol car produces around 190g of CO2 for every kilometre travelled. However, share the journey with friends rather than each travelling separately and this will lessen the impact.
Huge Personal Benefits to not Flying
No intimidating security check-point or stressful search for your gate.
Bring as many liquids as you like!
Watching the views as you go by.
You have the freedom to stop off anywhere along the way.
Visit Eco-Tourist Countries
There are many countries that focus their efforts on conserving all life and the environment while working to protect local people from negative impacts caused by climate change. Costa Rica and Iceland are 2 of the most eco-friendly countries in the world. Finland, France, Switzerland, Denmark, Malta and many more are all following suit. Visit one of these and you can help them out with various initiatives from protecting endangered species to empowering local communities.
Try out These Eco-Tourist Activities
Discover nocturnal wildlife on the Monteverde Rain Forest Private Night Walk in Costa Rica
Volunteer with GVI on a conservation project
Cycle around cities
Take a tour around Iceland's Golden Circle
Go hiking and enjoy some nature
Enjoy an organic wine experience in France
Visit Gardens by the Bay in Asia
Try your Best to be a More Eco-Friendly Traveller
Remember to be conscious before, during and after your travels about what impact any decisions you make will have on the environment and the local community. By being more mindful, we are learning to give back to this amazing world and not just constantly take from it.
As H. Jackson Brown Jr said, “Remember that the happiest people are not those getting more, but those giving more.”
We would like to thank Zoe from Eco Girl with a Suitcase for writing this helpful piece for us. It is a really important message and so much of her content is fantastic for those looking to be a more responsible traveller. Go check her Instagram out @EcoGirlwithaSuitcase and her blog Girlwiththesuitcase.com