TRAVELLING SUSTAINABLY - TIPS, TRICKS AND BEING RESPONSIBLE
Travel and sustainability. Two of my biggest passions, both of which seem to lie in conflict with each other. It comes as no surprise that air flights half way round the world don’t come without their environmental costs. But how do I justify my love of travel with wanting to live as eco-friendly and sustainable a lifestyle as possible?
It wasn’t until skyping one of my friends talking about her upcoming trip that I realized the true value of travel. “Are you excited?” I asked “Yeah” she replied, “I’m excited to see in what ways I’ll grow.” I stared blankly at her. I’d never considered traveling as an experience more than that of a longing to escape normal life. But she was entirely right. Travel gives us the opportunity to appreciate the world around us and the people in it and I find myself constantly challenged and humbled by what our world has to offer. I think it was visiting the earth’s most beautiful spots that inspired my interest in environmentalism in the first place and made me reevaluate how I could help the planet in my everyday life.
So whilst travelling isn’t always the most environmentally friendly choice, it keeps my heart full and my eyes open. With that in mind, however, I want to share some of my own sustainable travel tips, to reduce my impact on the environment whilst travelling.
Where to go:
See what your own country has to offer:
Without thinking too hard about it, it’s pretty evident that travelling locally will drastically reduce your carbon footprint (as well as help your bank balance out), the UK has so many beautiful areas, exploring what’s around you is a great way to travel without the environmental impact. My childhood summer holiday destination pretty much alternated between Yorkshire and Scotland each year. And let me tell you, I bloody loved every trip. As long as you’ve got a rain coat (and there’s a local pub), the UK is definitely your oyster.
If you do decide to take the leap and travel abroad, consider choosing more ethical options when deciding where to stay. We all know that the ‘all-inclusive’ branded and packaged holiday is an easy option, allowing all your needs to be catered for. However, the consumerist nature of some of these franchises, leave a lot to be desired in terms of environmental impact. With all you can eat buffets and a constant happy hour, many ‘all-inclusive’ hotels create an immense amount of waste. Instead, perhaps consider locally run hostels or airbnb, which ensures the money goes to the people working there rather than in the pocket of a big, franchised corporations and this in turn will have less impact on the environment. Alternatively, if a resort is more your style, there are a multitude of ‘eco-resorts’ that will offer the experience of an all-inclusive, without the environmental implications.
What to do:
Give back what you put in!
When you travelling perhaps dedicate a time where you can give back to the environment and the country you are in. Turn your early morning beach walk into a beach clean or perhaps find a volunteering project that helps the environment or the people in the local area.
Don’t buy into unethical tourist traps!
I’m still in awe of the fact that it’s the twenty first century and we’re still having to remind people of the cruelty of tourist opportunities such as elephant rides or swimming with dolphins. These industries are so so unethical and cause unimaginable cruelty to the animals involved. I’m not an expert but usually wildlife is far more rewarding an experience when seen in the wild!
Utilize the local stores and restaurants around you. Smaller, independent run shops and restaurants are more likely to use have produce from the local area and often are wrapped in less plastic packaging. These smaller restaurants are more likely to give a more authentic experience of the local food and culture, so there’s really nothing to lose!
What to bring:
Reusables, reusables, reusables!
Reusable cutlery, containers and water bottles are a must when being constantly on the go. To reduce your waste, bringing some reusable cutlery is an easy way to cut out unnecessary plastic single use utensils. There are even brands of water bottle such as Grayl, which will purify water, so if you’re travelling somewhere where drinking water may be unsafe, they’ve got you covered and you won’t need to be constantly buying bottled water.
Plastic free products.
Having recently switched to shampoo and soap bars to reduce my own personal plastic waste, I am OBSESSED. Not only do shampoo bars last longer but they take up far less room in your backpack compared to plastic bottles. I took the lush shampoo and conditioner bars whilst travelling China this summer and I received quite a few compliments about how nice the bathroom smelt after I used the shower!
Reef friendly sunscreen.
Until recently I was totally unaware that the sunscreen could be detrimental to our oceans. However, common chemical sunscreen ingredients such as oxybenzone can be harmful to coral reefs, increasing rates of coral bleaching.
For the holiday shop!
Whilst I strongly advocate rocking the clothes you own and avoiding fast fashion trends. I must admit I do like to buy a few new bits before a big trip. However, finding second hand or ethically made clothing, is a good alternative to getting something new to wear without the environmental costs (economic costs only please and thanks). Stay Wild swimwear for the new insta bikini shot anyone…
This article is written by Stay Wild family member Julia Evans.
Hey my name is Julia and I am a English literature student based in the South of England. I am super passionate about sustainable living and saving out planet and I run a small food, sustainability and lifestyle blog under the handle @blondeveguk. I’ve always been interested in nature and wildlife but my love for the ocean stemmed from my childhood holidays to Scotland where we would go dolphin watching in Moray Firth. I was absolutely mesmerized by these beautiful creatures and this inspired me to do all I could to help them!