I strongly believe that travel increases awareness and teaches us many new things about our world and its people. Unfortunately, the flip side of travelling is increased pollution in the air, on the ground and in the seas. Single-use plastics is also a huge problem as evidenced by piles of used plastic packaging at tourist and nature attractions. However, it’s never too late to improve our ways. As travellers, we are just as responsible for the local environment as the people who live there. Our contribution to keeping the environment pristine lies in the small deeds, which we should practise wherever we are. When added up, these small every day deeds make the biggest difference. I’ve listed below ten sustainable travel tips which can help us make a difference.
Ten ways to travel sustainably
1. Book a sustainable accommodation
When booking a hotel, opt for sustainable hotels wherever possible. Note though that not all hotels are as sustainably-conscious as they promote themselves to be. Do an extra background check. What are the hotel’s sustainable travel efforts? Is the hotel certified by an independent environmental organisation? Things to look out for include the toiletry packaging (are they refillable?); do they source food ingredients locally; and if they have a policy of not changing towels/sheets every day.
2. Compensate CO2 emissions
When booking a flight ticket, check if the airline offers a CO2 emission compensation programme. You may opt to make a contribution to the programme. Find out what the airline does to compensate emissions from their flights.
3. Choose low emission vehicles
If you’re hiring a car, choose one with the least CO2 emissions, such as hybrids or electric cars, wherever possible. Even better, opt to travel by train or (e)bike to minimise your CO2 footprint.
4. Re-use towels
In your hotel, re-use the towels by hanging them up after use. Let housekeeping know that you would like to re-use the towels.
5. Re-use bed sheets
Another hotel tip: re-use the sheets. Housekeeping often changes the sheets every day. You could, for instance, leave a note requesting them to just make up the bed without changing the sheets.
6. Have a quick shower
Save water by having a quick shower instead of a lengthy soak.
7. Get a water bottle
Get a sturdy water bottle which you can re-fill instead of buying new plastic bottles of water every day. Some hotels have coffee/tea-making facilities in the room. Should the water be safe to drink, use the kettle to boil water in the morning and re-fill your water bottle in the evenings.
8. Take your litter with you
When out on the road and there are no rubbish bins around, take your trash with you and dispose them back at the hotel.
9. Stay on the path
If you’re hiking through a forest, stay on the path to avoid damaging the flora.
10. Rechargeable batteries
Purchase rechargeable batteries for your electronic appliances if possible. Avoid disposing empty batteries in ordinary bins, instead look for special battery recycling collection bins. If you can’t find them at your destination, bring the batteries back with you and dispose them at your local battery recycling collection point.
This list is by no means exhaustive. Should you have more eco-conscious travel tips, please feel free to share them here.
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