Guest Post by Chelsea Rogers

There are no two ways around it; travel has a big impact on the environment. As travellers, we need to try our best to lower our footprint and protect destinations for generations to come.

Luckily, it’s easier than you think. Here’s how to go on environmentally conscious trips.

Bring Reusable Bags

Say goodbye to plastic bags when you travel and bring with you a reusable bag. Plastic bags can take up to 500 years to degrade, which puts an incredible strain on our environment.

Next time you head to the grocery store or local market while travelling, don’t forget your reusable bag. You’ll save a few pennies as well, as more and more countries adopt the model where you pay for plastic bags. 

Eat and Drink Locally

When it comes to eating and drinking, the choices we make can have a big impact on the environment. The goal here is to choose local products, opting for food and drink that hasn’t racked up the miles being transported to your plate.

Keep an eye out for local produce, try the beers made from the brewery down the road, and at restaurants, ask the chef for a meal made from regional ingredients. 

Choose to Camp

Camping is one of the easiest ways to travel while being environmentally conscious. It puts you smack bang in the middle of nature, without adding to your footprint by staying in a hotel.

And it doesn’t have to be as rugged and bare bones as it sounds. There are plenty of cool gadgets on the market to help make your camping trip more fun, and more environmentally friendly.

From bamboo utensils to solar headlamps and eco-friendly fire pits, you can quickly turn your camping experience into a trip of a lifetime.

Avoid Bottled Water

Avoid buying bottled water on your trip and you’ll go a long way to lowering the impact of your travels. 80% of plastic bottles end up in landfill or the ocean, so try to drink out of the tap where you can – it’s a good idea to bring a reusable water bottle with you.

However, we understand that this isn’t possible everywhere – make sure to do your pre-trip research and find out whether you can drink from the tap at your chosen destination. And remember, there are also water bottles that come with a filter inside.  

Make Yourself at Home

If you do choose to stay in a hotel or hostel, act like you would at home and you’ll leave a far smaller carbon footprint.

That means shorter showers, not getting a new towel every day, and turning the lights, TV, and air conditioning off when you leave the room. These small habits are good to pick up if you want your trip to be more environmentally friendly. 

Try to Catch a Direct Flight

If you’re travelling via plane, the best way to lower your footprint here is to try and book a direct flight. Flying is usually your biggest expense when it comes to carbon emissions, and it gets much worse if you have to stopover since planes use the most fuel when they’re landing and taking off.

Cutting out any unnecessary stopovers will lower your impact. On top of that, most airlines nowadays have a carbon offset program, meaning you can pay a little extra to offset the carbon used by your flight.

Stick to the Paths

If you’re getting out and about in nature on your next trip, make sure you stick to the paths. Hiking is a fantastic way to experience the natural world, but if you stray from the marked paths you can quite easily damage protected or endangered plants.

It also pays to keep a safe distance from any wild animals you might run into as well. 

Embrace Slow Travel

Travelling slow means taking the time to enjoy the moment and finding gratitude for the places you’re in. Learn about the culture, travel via public transport, and try to limit any unnecessary travels while you’re in the destination.

That means not going on a 2 week trip around 15 different countries in Europe – it does mean spending those 2 weeks in one country, slowly exploring and getting to know the different culture, people, and sights that make it up.

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