Updated: 11th February 2016
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Travel and all that it encompasses is not the most environmentally friendly of affairs.
We all need to play our part in protecting the future of our planet. Sure, it’s a big task and way beyond the average persons means to make a huge change to the world, but don’t fret. It’s a piece of piss to make an impact and reduce your footprint. How?
Cut down the plastic
In many parts of the world, if you ask someone why they don’t recycle it will be more than a language barrier you have. For a lot of people, concerns rest more on their next meal or making enough to survive. For us, the tourist, however, it’s a different situation. Easy ways to cut the trash are keeping a plastic bag on you, not using the mini condiments at breakfast, carrying full-size toiletries instead of using the hotels and drinking coffee in the store, not on the go. These are all easy steps towards becoming a zero waste traveller.
Refill your water
Buy yourself a refillable water bottle with a filter before your trip and get it topped up on the go or from the breakfast buffet. I can’t imagine the millions of bottles that are emptied in seconds ever year and then burned into the atmosphere. Once you start, you will be amazed how many places will fill it up for you.
Offset your flying
Whenever we fly we are setting off heaps of carbon into the air. Luckily, our good friends the tree are able to turn this back into healthy air again. Sadly, with deforestation, this is getting harder. Most airlines now offer you the chance when booking to offset your journey but if not sponsor a tree planting group or similar.
Don’t change the linen
Crisp white sheets are a guilty pleasure when travelling, but make the most of them on night one and then don’t get them changed unless they really need to be. Towels, same rules. Slow travel also helps this massively instead of moving hotel every night plus you get to soak up the local culture much more.
Walking is the sightseeing king
It is so easy in a new place to jump in a taxi if you aren’t sure where you are going or buy a bus pass. Download Google Maps which lets you track where you are even without a data connection and get your best walking shoes on. Not only are you helping the planet you are also much likely to discover those little-hidden gems you would otherwise miss. Better still, scrap the map and get totally lost.
Skip the Chopstick
It is estimated that 40 billion disposable chopsticks are used each year in China alone. That is one hell of a waste of all those trees you have just planted. It might not be as exotic or cool to ask for a fork but you are helping cut down on this crazy waste of the worlds natural resources.
It goes without saying anything that has been ‘imported’ has travelled one heck of a way to get to you. The local brands might not be quite what you are used to but they do the job whilst you do good. You are also more likely to be helping the local economy rather than giving your dosh to a multi-million dollar company in a different country. Good work!
Grab some trash
Litter is a killer, especially when it gets into the ocean. If we all just grab one plastic bottle or piece of trash a day from the beach or wherever our adventuring takes us it is a simple task that will go a long way in cleaning up this world we live in. Forget the ‘it’s not my job’ approach and makes an easy win for the environment.
Kill the Aircon
Sure, you might not be paying the bill but the amount of electricity that running air-con costs is insane. In monsoon season in Indonesia I know I had it glued on, but flip the switch as often as you can.
Invest in a local solution
Heard of Kiva? It’s a loan solution to help entrepreneurs in lands that might not have access to typical loans. For as little as $25 you can keep recycling the money you put in to make a real impact and start businesses and dreams for people. Find those who have real solutions for problems their home place faces and give some money to make an impact.
It is easy to forget and not realise when you are in a new country that the infrastructure might not be what you are used to at home. Slip it into a conversation and help others know what tiny steps they can take to help us keep this beautiful planet clean, what’s easier than having a chat?
*Not a trail of crap, though…