Sustainable travelling is in the wind nowadays, something we at Say HI is very happy about. However, is it possible to travel the world and still act sustainable? Well, the most sustainable way of travelling – is not travelling at all. Nevertheless, seeing the world opens our eyes and makes us more open to new cultures which is also a big part of sustainability. We can never make up for the CO2 emissions of travelling, but that means we must make other parts of our travels more environmental-friendly. Luckily, there are many things you can do. We have gathered some tips on how you can make your travel more sustainable. If you have some good tips for us, feel free to leave them in the comment field!
This blogpost is about what to consider in the planning phase up towards your travel. What should you consider when booking a company and what are things that you should bring from home? Be sure to also watch out for our next blog – it will give some tips on what to consider when arrived at your destination!
Let’s start with the packing. Packing can be hassle, who has not been unsure of what to pack for a trip before and ended up bringing way to much? It is good to keep in mind that packing light can also be good for the environment, especially if you are flying. A plane is using less fuel the lesses it weights. In addition, if you don’t have too much luggage, it is also easier to take public transport. Hence, packing light is good for you, as it makes it so much easier to travel around! Our tips can make your luggage lighter, but also more sustainable.
Buy second hand travel gear
Either you are going on a relaxed vacation to Spain or an adventure travel to Peru, you will need to bring some travel gear. And this is often expensive. A great tip is therefore to buy your gear second hand, or even better, borrow from friends or family. A great way to save the environment and to get more money to use on your travels.
Bring a reusable bottle
Plastic bottles are found everywhere in the world. Whether it is in the Amazonas or along the beautiful coast of Rio de Janeiro, people bring these to stay hydrated. However, in a lot of places you will find water filters or water dispensers and in some countries like Norway you can even drink the tap water. Many airports and public places also have water dispensers now. All you need to do is bring a reusable bottle. It might take a bit of extra space. However, if you buy a quality reusable bottle made from metal or glass, it will be better for your body than the single-used bottles in the store, better for the enviroment – and you will save money.
Bring your own products in smaller containers.
If you’re on a budget travel, you will most likely cook some meals where you stay. Every time this happens you are stuck with this dilemma: buy salt and pepper which you only use a few times, or just skip the spices. Or, you can be smart and bring your own small spice box around on your travels. Bring a bit of each of the spices you have at home and voila- the dilemma disappears. Something else you can do is bringing small containers to have leftover foods in. Or fruit, or nuts or whatever you would like.
Bring soap bars
It’s often a hassle bringing all those liquid soaps and shampoos when travelling. As many also tend to travel with carry-on, there are restrictions regarding the amount of liquid you can bring on flights. We have often seen many people throwing away perfectly good soaps because of this. Don’t you worry! We have the solution for you, and it is very simple. Bring soap bars! These are no longer the same as you see in the 1950 movies, smelling like an old lady. They come in all kind of different smells and shapes. Several stores are selling shampoo and conditioner soap-bars, one of them being Lush. This solves so many problems. They do not take much space, are not liquid and saves the environment as it removes the buy and throw way-of-thinking.
Bring a sarong/light towel to use on the beach
It’s always annoying when you have to rent a towel because you forgot to bring a beach towel. In addition, the regular towel takes forever to dry and takes up a lot of space in your luggage. An easy solution is bringing a sarong or a light towel to use at the beach. These dry really quick and is easy to both clean and bring around.
Bring a tote bag/shopping net
We always bring a tote bag on our travels! They take little space and are an allrounder that can be used for so many things. Put things inside the net in your luggage to separate the gear, or simply use it as a hand-luggage. If you have a large handluggage, it can be a good tip to have the net inside it with all the essentials you need on the plane. Put your larger hand-luggage in the overhead storage and take out the net. At your destination you can use the net as a beach bag, shopping bag or why not bring it sightseeing.
Don’t print your boarding pass
Paper is made from wood which is the material making the forest – and we all like forest. In conclusion, we would like to spare our forest. A good way to contribute to this is to be careful with your paper use. When it comes to travelling there is a whole lot of documents. Booking documents, flight tickets- you name it. Do you really need to print all those documents? No, all of these can easily be saved on your phone or device. Have a good system on your device and enjoy walking in the forest instead.
Travelling entails many different places for sleeping, sometimes it is in a cosy hut or tent, other times luxurious hotels or cool hostels. However, when choosing your destination for your beauty sleep there are a few things you should think about if you want a sustainable travel. In addition to staying in a place, you probably want to do some activities at your destination. Some things should be taken into consideration when you choose these.
Check out the accommodation’s sustainability work
Most overnight accommodations have understood that a sustainable world is the future. Meaning there are many inspiring and great places out there trying to do their part for a better world. It can be interesting to have an extra lookout for those places who goes all the way to contribute in their sustainability work.
One way to easily find these is seeing who has sustainability certifications. There are many known global certifications, such as Green Key Global and also national certifications like Eco Tourism Australia. We in Hostelling International actively work with the certification called HI Q&S (Hostelling International Quality and Sustainability). Those hostels holding this certification has shown a dedication to both quality and sustainability and you can safely stay here knowing they are doing their best taking care of the environment.
Always try to choose a local place to stay instead of the big chains. Then you can sleep well while knowing you are supporting the local community. It will also entail that those working at the accommodation probably know the best spots in the area and can give you some insider tips. Staying locally have so much more impact than you think it does. It creates more work for the community, raising the cash-flow and gives you the ability to contribute.
Choose a local tour operator/guide
One of the best ways to ensure the money is held in the local community is choosing local tour operators and guides. These are the ones who knows the area the best and can give you a real authentic experience. It is also important to consider that they have the local knowledge and know what the do’s and don’ts are. Do good research in advance, read up on which local companies offer what and who are most sustainable. You will not be disappointed if you conduct some extra research on this. In several larger cities you can also find walking tours. These tours will often have local guides showing you the best of their city. A great way to get to know a new place!
Written by: Hanna Jacobsen and Eirin Heddeland
Keep following our updates here on the blog, to hear more stories and ideas about sustainability in Brazil and in Norway!