10 ways to travel more sustainable (and thus more consciously)

When I go after a long surf session again to the lineup paddle wring I get myself through seaweed and plastic. A Balinese girl surfs gracefully (she’s really good!) on her longboard with a plastic bag in her hand. When she paddled back I only understand why she has a plastic bag; She collects plastic from the sea and saves it in that plastic bag until she was done surfing. Plastic is not just a problem in the sea. Everywhere we have been in the last half-year has been used to find plastic where it does not belong. And yes, also in protected natural areas.

When it comes to sustainable travel, we can do something about it; The locals, but also as travelers. and sustainable travel is going to say more than just say no to plastic. When traveling, it is much more than just the environmental perspective. It is about the positive impact we make as travelers. That’s why I want to share some tips with you to travel more sustainably. A good intention for 2018 right?

What is sustainable travel

Sustainable or more conscious travel (also called sustainable travel) is not just about reducing our carbon footprints, reducing waste, promoting recycling, etc. -It is also about our impact on people. Where we spend our money on tourism-dependent places, how we treat nature, and how we deal with locals to leave a destination like or even better than it was.

How can you travel sustainably

1. Bring as many things as possible-say no to plastic

In shops, laundry, or at a street food tent. Everywhere you come into contact with plastic. It’s not the plastic bags then it is the smoothie in plastic cups including plastic lids and straws. or the plastic cutlery, packed to the food in the grocery store and bottled water. Of course, it is difficult to go through life completely without plastic, but you can already reduce plastic use by taking your own stuff along.

But what do you take with you?

  • No more thinking away from the Netherlands are the refillable bottles. But why not take it on a trip? He was born out of frustration about the fast-growing plastic soup in our oceans. The Dopper bottles are made so that you can keep them clean and reuse them for years. In addition, the bottle is made of durable materials. And the cap of the bottle has reversed a cup, also useful when you go camping for example. When it is up to the detour and to us we live in a world where people are aware of the environment and use less single-use plastic waste.
  • As for bags: it is very simple to bring your own bag. For example, I have been the same water repellent and a shopping bag of Susan Bijl for 10 years
  • Bring your own stainless steel container for street food in Asia for example. Often your food comes in plastic bins that leak. With your own container, you can even do the lid to keep your food when you’re full and it doesn’t leak into your bag. Handy right? Tip for a stainless steel container is the Elishamah lunch
  • Bring your own cutlery and say no to plastic cutlery. While traveling it will be tricky to get stainless steel cutlery by customs, but you can also take wooden cutlery or even better: chopsticks.

2. Buy your goodies wisely

Buying a sarong during a trip through Bali or such elephant pants in Thailand is fun (and cheap), but are you going to really use it during your trip? And at home? It is not only extra baggage (unless you have no more pants, after half a year of traveling as I;-)), but it is probably in the closet for years until you decide to give it away or throw it. Sin. Did you know that clothing does not decompose? -Not even the “natural fibers?”.

The same thing actually applies to souvenirs. It’s nice to bring handmade goodies (especially by locals), but don’t do it for the sake of bringing something back. Yet?

3. Choose the market and eat locally

Unlike supermarkets, markets are the perfect places for travelers. You can taste the local food and learn more about the habits of a country. Oh and the way to practice the local language! On the market, you will find fresh, healthy food that is not packaged in plastic (bonus points!). Plus you support local farmers by eating in the season. Oh and don’t forget to bring your food container and bag with you!

Fruit on the market Cambodia
Local food

4. Make use of refill stations

In countries like Asia you often cannot get filtered water from the tap, but for a small amount (and sometimes even free) you can refill your bottle at a water point in hotels and at restaurants and coffee shops. Do you buy a water bottle? Buy as many large packs of minimal a liter as possible. Do you want to know if you can drink the water at your destination? Take a look at the websites:

5. Support Small Businesses

Instead of the big chains, you can always choose to support a small local business. Think of a small restaurant or shop. So you know for sure that the money is going to the locals and not the CEOs who really don’t need an extra holiday home. Are you going to shop for souvenirs? Shop from different shops instead of everything at once. Divide your money and make several people happy:)

6. Be well prepared

My personal shame is that I made an elephant ride in Thailand in 2007 and I do not know if they cared for these animals well. I just love ignorance. Although I am a spontaneous traveler and do not always read about the destination, I try to do more and more. In California, I was not aware that there was a number of years of scarcity of water through the heat. If you know this you can have a little shower in this case (a good one anyway). We showered less while camping;-)

Or do not do that elephant ride and visit for example no Luwakplantage (from the Luwakkoffie) because the animals are not treated well. In any case, please inform yourself whether the animal sanctuaries are really sanctuaries.

Forest fires California
Forest fires California

7. Move your green (er)

You can also travel sustainably in transport;  Fly less where necessary and look for options for the train. Explore the city. Go cycling or walking instead of by taxi (or share a taxi). Still flying. You can fly more sustainably if you take direct instead of indirect flights. You can also delve into which airline is greener.

On a road trip? Some rental companies are greener than others.

8. Immerse yourself in the accommodation

Sustainable travel in residence? Don’t just choose the fancy hotels with infinity pools. Try to sleep as much green and local as possible. Does the hotel have a Towel and Sheet Reuse program? Does the hotel have water-saving initiatives like low-flush toilets and showerheads with a lower flow rate? It is also better to support a local hotel than to sleep in an Airbnb. Do you want to sleep in an Airbnb? Then choose a shared house.

9. Don’t Wander off

Is It worth a picture to enter protected areas? To disturb protected animals, and destroy plants. All for that one Instagram picture? And perhaps from a cliff to fall? There is a reason to insist that you should stay on the trails. Don’t be that tourist.

10. Talk not only with fellow travelers

The simplest way to understand the culture is by talking to the local population, but also by listening. And do that not just to photograph that popular Insta gram of a local. Learn some words that they find great. In Indonesia, they were totally happy when I thanked them in Indonesian. Also, talk about your own life. Tell about yourself: Why do you travel, what do you find beautiful in the country, and show interest in the other?

Vragen? Stuur een privébericht via Instagram en we beantwoorden deze zo snel mogelijk!