It can be quite challenging staying green while navigating a place you’ve never been, but it’s certainly not impossible. By embracing green travel, you can make long-term impact to places you visit, thus priming them for like-minded eco-travellers.
1. Do the research on your green travel
In order to create a near zero-waste trip, you’ll need information about the place you’ll be visiting. Look things up online, ask questions beforehand, and prepare for any situations you envision you’ll enter.
If minimising your impact as a traveller matters to you, book an eco hotel that prioritises sustainability. There are many hotels that recycle, compost, use water recycling and conservation systems, and even create their own power. Some green hotels will not have clean water available and will require you to bring your own bottle and/or filter.
Think ahead to every aspect of your trip. Find out how recycling works, or what serving materials restaurants and places to eat typically use, where you’ll be visiting. Continue asking questions as you go. You know best what your needs will be. If the place you want to visit doesn’t offer environmentally friendly options, be prepared to do things yourself.
Do not be afraid to challenge the habits of restaurants, hotels, and locals. There is always room for improvement, and this is important when it comes to saving our planet.
2. Pack light
Minimalism is our planet’s best friend. While there are some things that are absolutely necessary when packing, there are also far many you can do without. Not only is packing minimally lighter on the planet, it’s also lighter on your back!
Packing for green travel is easy. Ask yourself: ‘Will I survive five days without this?’ If the answer is ‘No,’ then go ahead and pack it.
Remember, packing light requires smart thinking. When packing clothes for example, always chose clothes that match together in different ways. A good idea is to bring a few bottoms that will go with most tops. Round that up with a pair of shoes that are good for both walking and going out. Nothing beats articles of clothing that will go with almost anything.
Another tip is to roll your clothes to maximize space. This saves space while keeping your clothes wrinkle free. You may even keep your clothes this way until the end of your trip. Rolling makes it easy to see all of your clothes while keeping them tightly organized.
3. Green Laundry
Make sure to maximise the use of each item of clothing pre-cleaning by avoiding stains. Apart from your underwear, socks, or items that are stained or have started to smell, try using clothing items at least twice before washing them.
If the hotel doesn’t use eco-friendly washing machines and you want greener laundry options, research nearby places offering green washing machines. For a heavy load, and especially for stained, soiled, or odorous clothing items, this is the best option. Eco-friendly washing machines provide the best of both worlds by washing efficiently and preserving energy and water.
Another option is using a nearby coin-operated Laundromat. Bringing your own biodegradable laundry detergent is also recommended if you’re concerned about polluting the local waterway.
Last but not least, when travelling, you can do your laundry by hand. When all you need to wash is a shirt, you don’t need an entire washing machine. Sometimes, doing laundry when on the road means putting out a basin and washing the shirt by hand. Hand washing saves a lot of energy, and your shirt will be ready to wear in no time.
4. Eating green
Applying green travel principles to what you eat while exploring foreign territory doesn’t mean eating salad for every meal. Travelling, however, involves eating out in places you’ve never been before, which challenges one’s commitment to little or zero-waste.
Consider bringing a few essential items for a zero-waste meal where ever you end up in the world. Always carry a reusable cup that can fit under a coffee machine if coffee is a non-negotiable for you. Also, bring your own metal utensils, straws and a couple of cloth napkins. Don’t be afraid to voice your opinion on plastic utensils; instead, set an example by bringing your own.
Also, consider eating from a restaurant that supports local and sustainable farming. There are even restaurants that grown their own food without pesticides. Do your research and you’ll discover countless places across the world where you can buy local and eat green.
5. Take care of your waste
No matter how prepared and conscious we are, we create some amount of waste while travelling. In these cases, make sure your waste is disposed of properly. If there isn’t a way in which you can take something home for reuse or repurposing, send it to recycling. If there’s no facility for recycling nearby, ask the locals to point you to the nearest place and carry your waste until you find a proper place for its disposal.
When out exploring nature while travelling, be conscious of any rubbish you encounter. Pick it up and dispose of it, so when others see this, they’ll consider picking up their own trash.
As simple as green travel sounds, it can be a real challenge at times. Whether you identify as an advocate of eco-friendly living, or you’re simply trying to make better, more conscious choices each day, we’re happy to travel with you on the path to a greener, healthier Earth.