As the summer holiday is approaching and people are planning their vacations, I wanted to talk a bit about sustainable travelling this week. I think a lot of people have this idea that sustainability means you can only eat grass and shouldn’t ever fly anymore, but this is not the case. There’s many ways we can all help to create a better and cleaner world, even when you’re travelling, because as the number of travelers each year is growing, so is the negative impact on the environment.
Here’s 6 easy ways to be a more sustainable traveler on your next holiday!
Sit down for your coffee
Instead of taking your coffee on the go, look for a local café where you can sit down for a drink. You’re on holiday so you have the time anyway! In a lot of cultures, drinking coffee is seen as taking a little break and a way to socialize, so coffee on-the-go is not really a thing. You’re also minimizing the amount of pollution your creating by drinking out of a cup instead of a paper cup with a plastic lid!
Skip the food chains and go local
I know how tempting it is to get a Big Mac at McDonalds. Not going to lie, sometimes I feel like I can actually HEAR Ronald McDonald calling out my name. However, if you want to support the local economy, going to these big chains isn’t the best option. Eating at local restaurants means your money is going directly to the owner and employees who actually need it to feed their families.
If it’s less than 30 minutes, walk!
This is a rule I’ve made for myself; if the destination is under 30 minutes away, I’ll walk. It’s an easy way to save money and stay active, and this way you’re not causing any harm to the environment. Of course, not everyone is able to do this. In that case, more sustainable ways of transportation are cycling, taking electric vehicles, carpooling and collective transportation like trains and buses.
Reusable bottles and bags
In the Netherlands we’re required to pay a small fee if we want out purchases to be put in plastic bags. For this reason, I always take one or two linen (tote) bags with me wherever I go. This way, when I unexpectedly have to buy something, I’ll always have a bag with me! I also like to take a reusable bottle with me that I refill, so that I don’t have to waste any plastic bottles. This is another way to minimize the amount of plastic waste you’re creating!
Don’t harm the animals
A lot of people, including myself, are huge animal lovers. It might seem fun to take a picture with a wild animal, but please consider whether or not this act is harming the animal. There’s literally no way a tiger will stay still for a full day to take pictures with dozens of people. The same goes for elephant trekking. The back of an elephant is simply not made to carry a lot of weight, and usually the elephants are tortured to behave the way they do. A better alternative is to visit an elephant sanctuary, but even for these you still have to do your research. In the end, if the objective of the company is to make money through animals, this is not a company you should go with. Although I just named two things that are popular in Thailand, this obviously happens in other countries as well.
Take 3 for the sea
#take3forthesea is an organization that is committed to reducing plastic pollution. Their idea is that whenever you leave the beach, you take 3 pieces of rubbish with you. And it doesn’t stop with just the beaches – wherever you are; if you see rubbish, pick it up and dispose of it properly. It’s a small gesture that can make a huge difference!
Thanks for taking the time to read until the end and if you did, leave me a comment with how you like to minimize your footprint when travelling. Remember it takes a small effort to create a big difference!