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Do more exercise? Tried that. Drink more water? Done. Consume less alcohol? Next. For 2020, we’re moving away from clichéd New Year’s resolutions by resolving to become more eco-conscious travellers with these simple green choices.
Environmentally friendly choices for the eco-conscious traveller
1. Eat locally
While travelling, choose to eat locally rather than stopping off in chains or international restaurants. This gives you the opportunity to immerse yourself in the culinary culture of the destination while supporting the economic welfare of local communities and enjoying food that hasn’t clocked up hundreds of air miles before it reaches your plate.
2. Bring your own water bottle
Travelling can be an exhausting business, so keeping up hydration levels is key, particularly in hot countries. Having your own refillable water bottle is a great way to ensure you’ll always have a drink at hand while avoiding unnecessary plastic bottles. As well as bestowing personal benefits (staying hydrated and saving you money), reusable water bottles help to reduce both the volume of waste that goes to landfill and the amount of harmful chemicals involved in plastic-bottle production.
3. Use a KeepCup
Much like toting your own reusable water bottle, carrying a refillable coffee cup is a simple way to reduce your plastic output. Can’t function without a coffee on the go? Invest in a reusable vessel such as KeepCup to make sure you can always get that caffeine fix without the single-use cup.
4. Choose eco-friendly accommodation
In recent years there has been a significant increase in eco-friendly hotels which have taken action to minimise impact on the environment, whether that be through recycling initiatives, electricity-saving systems, restaurants serving locally sourced food, using renewable energy resources or the use of environmentally friendly materials in construction. Research in advance of booking to find the greenest option that suits your needs. It goes without saying that staying at small, locally owned hotels rather than international chains with all-inclusive buffets is a more sustainable choice for both communities and the climate.
5. Support sustainable and ethical tour operators
Opt for sustainable tour operators while you travel. Choosing companies that deliberately make eco-conscious choices when curating your travel itinerary will help reduce your carbon footprint. When booking, look out for those that support conservation projects, provide low-energy lodges and engage in local activities. If you are going on a trip that involves interacting with wildlife, it is important to ensure you find an ethical company that guarantees your activities will have minimal impact on the flora and fauna.
6. Pack more eco-consciously
While it can be very tempting to pack toiletries and accessories that are easy to use and quick to replace, these are often the items that are most harmful to the environment. Pack mindfully to avoid waste while travelling, and choose reusable items where possible.
7. Book more staycations
While zipping overseas can be an attractive holiday choice, staycations provide an equally relaxing, stress-free and rewarding getaway alternative. Reducing the need for air miles, exploring your homeland is a no-brainer when it comes to eco-friendly travel (and is often kind to your wallet too).
8. Explore new locations by foot or bicycle
It’s common knowledge that walking is the best way to reduce your carbon footprint. Exploring new destinations via car can feel impersonal and means that you’re less likely to truly get a feel of a new place. Travel by foot to stumble upon hidden corners, local shops and meet new people.
9. Avoid buying souvenirs
While souvenirs can be a great way to remember a trip, most of the time they get forgotten about, only to be thrown away as time goes on. Spend time taking photographs and making memories rather than buying unnecessary trinkets – or if you see something you love, make sure it was made locally, and not imported from elsewhere.
10. Call out shops and restaurants giving you unnecessary plastic
Many struggle with the awkwardness of pointing out problems to strangers, particularly in hospitality. Try to remember that it’s for a good cause – refusing a plastic straw with your drink, declining a single-use shopping bag or saying no to extra packaging when buying souvenirs are small steps towards reducing your plastic usage, and showing others how it can be done too.
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