In many ways, travelling has a negative impact on the environment. If you love to explore and go to new exciting places like we do, it’s important to try and do so in a sustainable way. Having spent time backpacking in Asia and Australasia, we discovered many ways in which we could lessen our impact whilst on the go, so I thought I would share a few of our top tips with you!
Carry re-usable items
I know space is hard to come by when living out of a bag but carrying a few reusable items won’t just help the environment- it will help your bank account too!
The things we will always pack include; a reusable water bottle and cutlery, a compact straw and a canvas shopping bag. Almost every day I would use all these items! Firstly, many places now offer free water re-fills – and I mean, anything free when travelling is a bonus right?! It also cuts out so many unnecessary plastic bottles, so what’s not to love?! Reusable cutlery is also a great way to cut down your plastic consumption, allowing you to say ‘No’ to the disposables for street food and markets! I love my compact straw, and I love even more to say no to a plastic one. This is super important, especially in many places in South East Asia where they seem to love colourful plastic straws and without warning you end up with 6 in your drink! Although it is easy to avoid this- before we even ordered I would get my straw out and say, “I’ll have a coke please, but no straw, I have my own”, this worked for me nearly all the time and often people showed interested and wanted to look at my funky metal straw! Finally, a cotton/canvas shopping bag- this is super handy for almost everything, not just avoiding plastic bags in grocery shops or market stands it also doubles as a beach bag/day bag/ Jess has packed too much and can’t fit it in her normal backpack-bag ;)!
Help clear up
This may sound obvious, but it’s always a great thing to do. When walking along a beach or through a national park collect as much rubbish as you can. This is a great way to make a good impression of tourists on the local community and give back to the beautiful place you have come to enjoy. We did lots of mini beach cleans and it gives a purpose to your strolls along the beach- you might even find something interesting!
Research your Activities
It’s really important to research the impacts of many of the tourist’s activities that are on offer. For us, many of the ‘Animal sanctuaries’ and ‘Elephant rides’ that are popular in Asia go against our view on animal ethics and conservation practices. A much better alternative would be to take a safari in a national park and see these animals in their natural environment!
Travel the local way
Just because you are a tourist it doesn’t mean your only option is a taxi or uber. Most of the time, places have great public transport options that are reliable and easy to use. This is also a great way to save money, often we would catch local buses and trains saving us lots- it’s super easy to do this in South East Asia and definitely adds to the experience. If you’re like us, some of your funniest stories will stem from being crammed on a bus whilst racing through the roads of Sri Lanka.
Hopefully this blog fuels your travel bug and gives you some ideas on how to travel in a more sustainable way. Of course, there are many more ways travellers can reduce their impact on the environment that we can’t dive into in this blog. If you want more advice, or to give us some of your own tips that we might not have thought of, follow us here and send us a message!