In one of my previous posts I already gave you all a few tips for easily incorporating sustainability into your daily life. Because the article received more clicks than I’ve seen in a long time, I am assuming that you all are interested in this topic. That is great, and I am really excited about that because I too have been trying for a while to pay more attention to this topic. Many people think that you have to abstain from doing thousands of different things and that it’s complicated to incorporate sustainability into daily life. These presumptions are however not the case, and sustainability begins already with tiny little changes in our daily lives that you don’t even notice anymore after a few days or weeks.
It is just as easy in regards to traveling. I have compiled 10 useful tips for how you all can incorporate more sustainability into your next travels. I bet you will be surprised how easy it actually is!
10 Easy Tips for Sustainability: How You Can Travel Sustainably and Environmentally Friendly
Tipp 1 – Online Tickets
I am constantly surprised when I am checking in at the airport how many people have printed out their tickets and carry them around with them in their clear plastic folders – and these are people of all ages! In this day and age just about everyone has a smartphone, and often times boarding passes are sent automatically per email. Printing out the tickets costs a) more time, is b) not environmentally friendly and requires c) more space. If you load your boarding pass onto your smartphone you also receive notifications if the gate changes or if your flight is delayed. In any case it is a great thing that saves paper and annoyance!
Tip 2 – Travel digitally!
Now let’s be honest: Maps or city plans usually end up in the dresser drawer or in the trash. On your next trip try to just pass on the printed maps and instead set up the offline maps feature of Google Maps. This is very easy to do: type in “ok maps” in the Google Maps search bar and then the displayed area of the map can be downloaded and used offline! Very practical and one of my favourite travel hacks. In the case that this is not enough for you, or in the case that you are doing a longer tour around different areas, you also have the option of just picking up a local sim card with internet.
Tip 3 – Buy Second Hand Travel Guides
Lately there is an online travel guide to just about every place on this planet. As a lover of books, I can also understand that it’s a lot nicer to flip through the pages of a real travel guide book. Therefore I buy all my travel guides second hand. Because travel guides usually end up stored on the bookshelf after your vacation, there are a lot of very current travel guides lately on Amazon or eBay that people put up for sale right after they come back from their trip. I think it’s a great opportunity to buy second hand books without having to settle for an outdated version. Apart from the environmental aspect, it is also a lot cheaper to buy used travel guides.
Tip 4 – Support Local!
Support small, local hotels, restaurants and shops while you are on your trip. Avoid large corporations, fast food chains, and try to buy your souvenirs from local shops that often produce many of the products themselves. This is for example very easy to do in Bali: here there are many places where there aren’t any large corporations or chains at all. The restaurants are all designed individually and they purchase their groceries from local farms. Another thing to mention is that the food the locals prepare is also fresher and healthier! On our vacation we were in many cafés and restaurants where they prepared their fruits and vegetables directly from the garden – in that case the salad or fruit bowl tastes twice as good!
Tip 5 – Book More Eco Hotels and Accommodations
Of course that is not always possible because there is not always such a high density as in places such as Bali. I do however have to say that I am really amazed how many hotels and other accommodations there are lately that concern themselves with the topic of sustainability. In Bali for example, we only stayed in accommodations where sustainability was practiced, for example the JungleRoom in Canggu. On the website Green Peals you can find a large selection of different sustainable hotels that often have very nice and inspiring philosophies.
Tip 6 – Discover Nearby Travel Destinations
Even though I love to travel to more distant countries, I also like to discover closer travel destinations. Here in Berlin for example we are just a short trip away from the Baltic Sea, and from my parents’ place it’s only a few hours from Austria. Even Italy and Croatia are well reachable from there by car with a couple stops along the way. Europe has so many great travel destinations and I have a very long bucket list. At the top of the list would have to be a road trip through Italy and a visit to Provence!
Tip 7 – Abstain From Plastic Products!
Whether it’s the plastic bags at the supermarket or the straws at restaurants, say “no” to plastic. When ordering in a café just give a friendly hint that you don’t want a plastic straw. For shopping you can just bring your own burlap bag with you, which is also very practical on trips. I find it just very alarming that the salespeople in Bali and also in Thailand pack everything into plastic bags, even if you only bought a single piece of fruit.
Tip 8 – Use Air Conditioner Sustainably
A big thorn in the eye of sustainable traveling is air conditioning. There is of course the option to leave the thing totally turned off, which would surely be the most sustainable option – but let’s be realistic: at 32 degrees Celsius room temperature it’s just sometimes not possible to leave the air conditioner completely turned off. What you can do however, is to utilise it reasonably, and with that I mean: Air conditioner off as soon as you walk out the door, close the window when the air conditioner is on, and use the eco setting, which lately almost every air conditioner has.
Tip 9 – Treat Nature with Respect
Currently snorkelling is a big issue on beach trips. Unfortunately not everyone treats our threatened underwater world with respect. I was extremely shocked as I witnessed in Thailand how a boat drove onto the coral reef so that the tourists wouldn’t have to jump into the water. In the end there were about 30 people walking on top of the coral reefs without even a second thought at what a huge impact that has on the reefs, which are at serious risk of extinction. You also find tons of elephant and tiger tours in Asian countries, which you should avoid at any cost because it is animal abuse – take a look instead at the rescue stations that save monkeys, elephants and other animals from this fate.
Tip 10 – Get in Touch With the Locals!
Try to come into contact the locals on your next trip. It is not only super interesting and inspiring to converse with people of a different culture, but usually this is how you find out about the best insiders’ tips. Before you go, learn a few words of the language, for example Hello, Thank you, Please, Good-bye, etc. It is always great to come in contact with and to interact with other people, and also to learn more about the country and the culture. In Thailand we just happened to meet a monk that told us more about life in the temple – incredibly interesting and definitely something that will remain in my memory of that trip!
I hope that you liked my tips on the topic of sustainability. If you have something you would like to add, please leave a comment below 🙂