Unless you’ve had your head buried in the sand for the past few months, you will have seen increasing numbers of messages in the media about how to reduce your carbon footprint; reduce your impact on the planet and live a more sustainable life.
Hands down, we know this is important but what can be done when you are out and about and living freely out of a rug-sack? I recently went travelling across South East Asia and here are my top tips to be a little more eco-friendly with your travels.
1) Try to fly as little as possible.
I know it’s hard but flying is the worst culprit for carbon emissions out of the tourism industry (The World Tourism Organisation estimates flying is responsible for 40% of the total output). Virtually any other method of transport would be better, quicker and can even be cheaper if you book far enough in advance. There is also no reason why you should rule out other forms of transport like ferries, cars and buses. If you do have travel via plane, try using airlines with the newest planes as they are created to be more energy efficient.
Here is a pic I took from an overnight train. I can promise you that despite the rumours, taking a train instead of flying isn’t all that bad.
2) Using eco-friendly accommodation.
Because climate change has become such a relevant topic, you will find many resorts and other forms of accommodation will promote the fact that they are eco-friendly with an eco-label which means they engage with environmentally friendly practices. I thoroughly recommend home-stays for this as not only do you get an authentic experience in a different culture, but you are also supporting local trade and economy and it’s a great way to meet new people (especially if you are travelling alone!).
This is a pic of one of the places I stayed in. How much more eco-friendly can you get than a treehouse?
Bookdifferent.com is a good website to check the carbon footprint of accommodation so can be a handy tool when picking out your destinations.
3) Eat at places where the food is locally sourced and produced.
Again, not only is this a good way to boost the local economy, but because the food is so fresh, it is bound to taste better too! For me, part of travelling is being able to try food from different cultures so what better way is there to try the local delicacy than nipping down to the local farm/market.
Nothing says fresh and local like the street food market in Kuala Lumpur
4) Choose a Plant-based diet.
I’m not saying at all that you should be a vegan traveller if meat is your passion. There is no secret that eating an increasingly plant-based diet reduces your carbon footprint, so there’s no difference when you are travelling. Eating plant-based can give you an excuse to try the different fruit and veg in the local area that’s in season, and also reduces the chance of you getting food poisoning from dodgy meat from unknown sources.
5) Re-usable water bottle.
Finally, this may seem pretty basic but every little helps. Having a reusable water bottle means that you can get free water when you refill it from local taps. Tap water not safe to drink? You can buy one big bottle of water and use that to keep topping your own bottle up. It’s cheaper in the long run and prevents a huge build up of plastic bottles. Especially in hot and humid countries, you will need to make sure you drink enough!
So there are just a few tips to keep you travelling sustainably and healthily. Do you have any more? Let me know in the comments below so our fellow readers can see. 😊
(Keep up to date with Imi over on her blog: https://imibyers.wordpress.com/)