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The travelling industry and associated transportation of travellers produces a large part of the greenhouse gas emissions. You may already be doing quite well and live more sustainably by being more conscious about your life at home. But then you decide to go on holiday to a country far away and destroy all your good work in just one trip. I wanted to share a few ideas in this blog post on how to travel more sustainably and responsibly.
How To Travel More Sustainably
I love travelling and I am fortunate enough to live in Europe which made it possible to travel by bus or train. This way I could explore many different countries in a more affordable and sustainable way. I also love how much more you see of a country if you rent a bike rather than a car.
Yes, of course, you can not go as far as with a car but you can slow down and really explore a city. But what are your options if you want to travel further away? How and what should you pack to travel more sustainably? Read on for my top tips. I will also provide more information in separate articles which you will find linked in each paragraph over time.
1. Sustainable Forms of Transport
If you have the option chose a more sustainable form of transport to your holiday destination. The train and bus are good options. My partner once travelled from London to Sevilla by bus with a stopover in the north of Spain. He loved it. Yes, it took him about 48 hours but he was not on a schedule as he planned to spend three weeks in Spain. The stopover in St. Sebastian gave him a break and he got to meet new people. He just loves chatting and discover fascinating life stories.
If this is not possible because your destination is too far, consider offsetting the carbon emissions that have been produced by flying. Either use schemes from the travel operator if they have some of find local schemes. There is a discussion going on around the topic but it is still worth seeing what your options are to offset the carbon emissions from travel.
Your best option, of course, is to avoid travel when possible. Travel less but for a longer time to ensure you make the most of the trip. If you have the option arrange for remote work with your employer. This may not work for everyone of course but maybe a good option if your work allows it.
2. Travel Off-Peak And Explore Off-Beat Destinations
If you want to travel more sustainably avoid the “influencer hyped” travel destinations and travel outside of the main season if you can. Of course, this is hard if you have a family and are forced to travel during school holidays. However, you can still choose a less touristy travel destination and really give your family a break from a busy life.
My favourite holidays allow me to switch off and live a slower-paced lifestyle on holiday. The lifestyle I aspire to in my normal day-to-day but still have not achieved yet due to a busy work schedule. Whenever I can I travel off-season and enjoy the summer and holiday season at home. This means I also save money on travel fares and it is generally cheaper at your destination as well.
3. Buy Locally
Most of us are used to do a weekly big shop in a supermarket or go out to restaurants. When on holiday try to shop in local smaller shops around where you are staying and support smaller independent traders. Yes, it may be a little bit more expensive but who is counting the pennies when on holiday? Buy produce that is local and break out of your normal routine. It’s all about learning new things and discovering a different culture when on holiday so make the most of it!
This may even be a change you will find will help you in your normal day to day life. If you support local businesses you ensure you pay someone living rather than the big cooperations. So this is not only a lesson on how to travel more sustainably but also how to live more sustainably and slow-paced in your usual life.
If you tend to bring home a little souvenir from your travels avoid the cheap tourist traps. Look for small artisanal shops who produce handcrafted items. My favourite souvenirs are items I can actually use in my normal everyday life. The best purchases were handcrafted soap dishes that I use in my bathroom and given to the family.
4. Pack Light And Only What You Need
I find it fascinating that usually, I have no problem reusing the same few items of clothing. However, as soon as I am packing for a week of travel I need so many more clothes. More than I can realistically wear but, you know, you want to be prepared for everything. So one big life lesson on how to travel more sustainably is to learn how to use fewer things and be smarter about packing.
These days, I ensure that I can layer my clothes and only take the right amount with me. I started travelling with a backpack instead of a suitcase so have to make smarter choices in what I will take with me. Besides clothes, I now try and bring useful items with me that will make travelling easier. A reusable water bottle for example so I don’t have to buy bottled water if the tap water in my holiday destination is good enough to dring. A reusable bag so I don’t have to take plastic bags when I go shopping.
5. Be A Responsible Traveller
When growing up my parents would always insist on taking all our rubbish with us if we could not find a bin. Nowadays, a lot of people seem to trust that the rubbish collection works as well in their holiday destination as it does at home. As a responsible traveller, you ensure that you take all your rubbish with you and it is being disposed of as it should. Of course, if you can avoid creating rubbish in the first place that is even better but not always realistic.
Adhere to any local restictions and guidelines. Inform yourself before travelling on any local guidelines that may be different from your home.
When researching where to stay consider greener options in accommodation. Try to avoid big tourist hotels and go with a more environmentally friendly option if you have the choice. Why not rent a romantic tree house or a local house if the option exists?
These tips will hopefully help you on your journey to learn how to travel more sustainably. You may not be able to implement all immediately. That’s ok. Take one step at a time and see which of these tips you can implement and next time add another one.
If you have any additional ideas on how to travel more sustainably comment below. It is always nice to hear of others and learn how to become even more sustainable and responsible while travelling.
Let’s be honest: we are trying our best to live zero waste but it can be difficult at times. Maybe your partner is not convinced of zero waste living or thinks it is not important. Maybe you live in an area without a zero waste shop and find it difficult to shop in a sustainable way. Don’t worry, the zero waste lifestyle is a step by step approach. I will share with you my top zero waste tips in this blog article. Feel free to share your own top zero waste tips in the comment section.
What Is Zero Waste Living?
The idea, of course, is that you produce no waste or as little as possible. Sometimes it is more specific to disposable plastic packaging as the plastic is one way or another polluting the environment.
You most likely will have heard of the mantra Refuse – Reduce – Reuse – Recycle which sums it up nicely. Try to refuse items if you can, if you can’t try to reduce or reuse them and try to select items which can be recycled. If you are a beginner these are my top zero waste tips you may be able to adapt easily in your life.
Top Zero Waste Tips
1. Less Shopping
Let’s start with an easy top zero waste tip: one of my first steps was to shop less for items I don’t really need. The easiest for me personally was clothes as I never enjoyed shopping for clothes in the first place. I now only replace items if my clothes break beyond repair and buy most clothes second hand. Over time this approach helped me save a lot of money. I also love the feeling of making a great bargain for an item I really needed.
Also, consider purchasing fewer meals in plastic packaging. So that would concern a lot of processed food which is marketed as a great way to save time and quickly cook a “healthy” meal. This is rarely the case. Be more considerate of what you are eating and purchase food if you can in bulk from shops that use little to no packaging. Yes, these shops exist and had a recent surge of interest. More people are now keen to bring their own containers so they can be re-used. The benefit: you only purchase what you need, rather than what is being marketed to you.
2. Cook More Food From Scratch
This can be a tricky but rewarding step. Of course, ready-made and processed food come in a lot of extra packaging and you are more flexible when buying ingredients. However, it usually still comes in not recyclable packaging. If you are lucky to live close to a Zero Waste or Bulk store try and shop there. Yes, it may seem more expensive at first but if you keep accounts and regularly cook from scratch you will notice that you end up spending less. If you need ideas head over to my recipes section. It is actually really affordable to make your own oat milk, granola or bread for example.
3. Zero Waste Cleaning
There are lots of nearly forgotten tips and tricks on how to clean without chemicals. Did you know you can clean your stainless steel pans with white vinegar or tomato sauce? Did you know you can replace your old plastic toilet brush with a more sustainable one? There are so many smart ways of cleaning your house with Zero Waste methods. Be inspired and share your own tips in the comment section!
Find out what items can be recycled in the area you live in. Sometimes recyclable items are picked up with the normal rubbish collection or you have to find specialists who recycle more unusual items.
Also consider which items still have value. My favourite strategy to get rid of items who still have value is to sell them on flea markets or through online market places. If the item does not have much value or you just want to get rid of items quicker than selling them consider donating them to a charity of your choice.
There are also online platforms, like Freecycle, which allow you to pass on items which hold little to no value to you but may come in handy for others, sometimes even just as parts. My friends are always surprised to hear of what I was able to pass on: old cardboard boxes – check (great for moving house), old headphones which do not work anymore – check (for parts) or old magazines. Someone might find them handy. Over the past few years, my old items have been used in art projects or repurposed which makes me incredibly happy.
5. Find Joy In Activities Shared With Others
Buying a shiny new object gives you a short burst of positivity. You added a new item to your collection and it may or may not get used or admired in your home. Why not spend more time on activities like exercise, going for a walk in nature or volunteering to get that positive boost? There are so many activities that you can enjoy with family and friends. If you need some me-time, why not try one of these activities and focus on yourself? Yes, that is ok too – we all need some me-time every now and then. And some need more than others.
6. Sharing Is Caring
Recently, I’ve tried sharing apps to reduce the amount of waste being produced. The concept is simple: someone purchased something which they did not like or just did not end up using. You can add these items on the platform and whoever is interested in them will contact you and arrange for collection. It is a very easy process and everyone I met so far when collecting items was super nice. My go-to app is Olio and not only have I received items that were given away, but it also helped me declutter. Definitely one of ma favourite top zero waste tips!
We have managed to get complete meals from Olio. We collect a lot of fruit and veg and my favourite was a roasted tomato soup that I made from some tomatoes which were past their prime.
Some platforms also allow businesses to distribute their unsold goods. My favourite platform is Olio which has a section for food and non-food. Not only do I help to reduce the waste in landfill but it also helped me cut down the cost of food in our household.
7. Swap Liquid Soap For Soap Bars
Most liquid soap comes in plastic bottles but the switch to soap bars is actually very easy. Not all soap bars are being packaged in recyclable material but I noticed a trend that more are being made available without plastic packaging. Also soap is easy to make at home and if you don’t feel like making it yourself check out a few independent shops who sell handmade soap and support a local small business! I found many of these when browsing artisan craft fairs.
I hope my top zero waste tips will help you with your own zero waste journey. Remember that no one is perfect and little steps are better than making no efforts at all.
This is just a short list to get you started. If you have other top zero waste tips feel free to share them in the comments. Always remember: be gentle with yourself and don’t compare yourself to others. Every bit you do is helpful. 🙂