*post includes gifted items
The wonderful Summer vacations are fast approaching (or currently ongoing!) and many of us are making plans with family and friends.
Somehow it just doesn’t seem appropriate to spend a vacation at home, so many of us start searching for travel tips and offers.
At the same time many of us struggle with the guilt over the amount of pollution that flying produces, while global warming heats our front yard asphalt to a melting point, countries fight over where all our trash should be dumped, and while the most amazing creatures on the planet suffocate in plastic in our vast oceans.
I don’t own a car and I walk pretty much everywhere, so my everyday travel carbon footprint is rather small. But all that is erased the moment I enter a plane. And in 2019 I’ve entered a plane once a month to fly somewhere far away.
The knowledge of how much air travel really pollutes the air we breathe 24/7 does bother me. So, for a while now I’ve been trying to come up with, and collect ideas on how I could make traveling even a little bit more sustainable.
Since I know I’m not the only one trying to find new ideas for sustainable travel, I want to reveal my findings so far. And in case you have more ideas, please feel free to chip in at the comments below or via e-mail! The more ideas, the better!
As a certain grocery store chain declares, ‘every little helps‘ and that holds true for traveling sustainably too. As long as there are no planes flying on solar power, we can make little changes into our own travel habits, and the more of us implement these habits, the better.
9 Easy Ways To Make Traveling More Sustainable
sustainable bikini | Halla x Halla (gifted)
backpack | River Island
sunglasses | Chopard
hat | H&M
I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again; before going onto Skyscanner why not take a look at what sort of travel options you might have in your own country.
Europe is a dream continent travel-wise because there are interesting places to be found everywhere. Hundreds and hundreds of castles scattered across the continent (there is at least one near you!), mountains, lakes, seaside, beautiful little towns.
For those living in Central Europe I have a super good tip: In Czech Republic, close to Brno, there is a town with 2 castles that face each other with an immense amount of art and intriguing sights between them. Lednice-Valtice. Find out more about this amazing place on my old blog.
Another tip is to ask around. Talk with your friends, neighbours, and colleagues and ask them if they might have some places in mind close by that are worth seeing.
That’s how we found the amazing Keila waterfalls and Rummu quarry here in Estonia. Nobody knows about these places, so you need to ask around. There’s much more worth seeing close by than you might believe.
Of course, if you’re going to travel to places like Hawaii or Australia, there really isn’t any other way to go about it than flying. But as long as you’re staying within a continent think about what other options might be available.
Again, I count my lucky stars for living in Europe, because traveling around the continent has been made so superbly easy. I can take a train from Slovakia to France, or a boat from Finland to Germany.
There are no day-long queues at customs when you travel by train, you get to stop in different countries, maybe even spend a night there exploring that place as well.
One trip that I really, really want to make is to take a train from Helsinki, Finland to St Petersburg in Russia. You do need a visa for this, and that’s costly, but from what I’ve heard, St Petersburg is totally worth the investment.
Get Your Sustainable Picnic Gear
No matter where I travel, one of the best ways to explore the local life and people is to pack a picnic bag and settle yourself in a park.
The thing with picnic, though, is that it tends to create a lot of trash; all edibles tend to be packed in plastic, and cutlery and plates are the throwaway kind.
But since the world has had a rough awakening to its current state, there is a solution for making picnics a tad more sustainable. Now you can get a picnic set of plates, forks and knives that are reusable.
Most of them are made out of wood, and they’re very small, so you don’t even need to worry about fitting them in your suitcase. I’ve even seen some that can be folded or taken into pieces, so that you really don’t need to worry about weight and space restrictions.
I am currently on the lookout for such a picnic set and when I find one I will organize a picnic!
Choose Eco-Friendly Accommodation
There are plenty of hotels, hostels and even Air BnBs that celebrate sustainability in their operations.
In reality this can mean that a hotel might not change your sheets every day (because why should they?) and thus they save on water and chemicals consumption. Or it can mean that the hotel runs on electricity created by solar panels.
There are so many options to making a building sustainable these days, and more and more hotels are implementing these technologies and values in their daily operations. And again, the more of them do this, the better!
Changes like this may happen slowly, but they are happening.
When preparing for our trip to Hawaii, I googled some dos and don’ts. One of the don’ts that really caught my eye was the fact that Hawaii is making sunscreens that include chemical oxybenzone illegal.
Oxybenzone is a chemical used in most sunscreens, but which harms the coral reefs. And since the country literally lives out of their gorgeous coral reefs, they need to make sure they don’t die like so many coral reefs on the planet have already done.
So, you might just as well change your sunscreen from chemical ones to mineral right now. Because even if you’re not planning a trip to Hawaii, mineral sunscreens are better for you and for the environment everywhere on the planet.
Who Needs Straws?
We all know the story of turtles suffocating in plastic straws because those plastic straws floating in the ocean will never disintegrate. Thankfully, just like with the sustainable picnic kit, you can nowadays get a pack of straws made out of metal or bamboo.
But I’m gonna go a step further. Recently I visited a bar here in Estonia, that had taken straws completely out of their selection. So, no matter what cocktail you ordered you had to do without a straw.
And guess what? Who needs a straw? Who came up with such a useless stick anyway? You can totally drink that iced latte, mojito or a smoothie without a straw.
And another thing; sucking on a straw creates wrinkles! I read this years ago and somehow it stuck in my head, because obviously it does. Your mouth gets all wrinkled up when you’re sucking on a straw, of course it’s gonna create wrinkles the more you do it.
Clean Up After Yourself
Many of you probably do this without even thinking about it, and that is great! This is here just to remind you to keep up the good work, and to remember that even if it mightn’t feel like such a big deal, imagine if we didn’t clean up after ourselves.
We’re only humans and there’s only so much we can do on a personal level, but big rivers start with little droplets.
Eat & Drink Local
One of the most awesome things about traveling is food! Local cuisine and taste experiences.
And who would know better where you should book a table than the locals. Stay away from the restaurants at tourist traps, they are without fail over-prized and very low in quality.
Instead, venture a little bit out of the city center and find a little restaurant filled with locals. Such places may not be furnished with the most current trend furniture or look like much at all, but don’t judge a book by its cover.
Eating local foods isn’t just sustainable, it’s also a chance to learn more about the local customs, flavours and maybe even make new friends in the little restaurant chatting with the locals (been there, done that).
Avoid Throwaway Products
In addition to getting a sustainable picnic kit, you make a big difference if you stay away from any throwaway products during your travels.
These days you can replace everything that is throwaway with a reusable alternative. Raincoats, razors, plastic cups, plastic bags, everything available in a sustainable form, and in size that fits in the smallest of suitcases. So, let’s get to it!
When I first thought about sustainable travel, I felt a bit lost and like there’s nothing I can do. But with a little bit of effort I came up with these 9 things. So, imagine how many more things there are that we can do!
Sustainable travel is easy and affordable, and it only takes a little bit more awareness of our consuming habits than normal. And after a little while not even that. It becomes a lifestyle, traveling sustainably.
I’d love to know if you can come up with extra points to add to this list, so please comment below or e-mail me, or DM me on Instagram ♥