My Tips

How Not to Travel Like an Idiot – Sustainable Travel Guide

February 4, 2019

Hello and welcome back to La Vie En Marine! Today we are talking about how you can upgrade your travel game! And I don’t speak about getting the best bag and accessories or how to fly for less. I want to talk about sustainable travel.

Lately this topic was very trending in the travel community and I don’t want this trend to stop. Because it is f***ing important. The climate change is the biggest threat to humanity and affects each and everyone. It is time to change the way we think and act right now, otherwise no one will be able to take pictures in wavy dresses on beaches anymore.

This guide holds a variety of actions that you could do and habits that you could approach to make your traveling more sustainable and I will talk about them one after one.

Preparations For Sustainable Travel!

So responsible and sustainable travel starts with the right preparation. Don’t worry it is not too much, mostly about what and how to pack so you will be rocking that sustainable lifestyle. But furthermore I still want to talk about a serious matter.

Consider

We all love to travel. But its impact on the world is indeed very bad. Flying is one of the biggest sources of CO2 emissions there is. And once they arrived tourists often harm a place more than they enrich it. All the methods that I suggest are methods to minimise those affects but can’t wipe them out completely. So please consider two things:

Transportation: Do you really need to fly to your destination? Could taking the train be the more enriching experience? It takes longer I know but you will be able to see a lot more landscapes and sceneries on your way! Also slow travel allows you to have a more authentic experience as you not only get to see the sights and highlights of a place but also what it actually is about.

Value: If you are going to a place where mass tourism has taken control is it really necessary for you to go there? Wouldn’t another destination be better for you?

For example: My boyfriend and I decided to go to Redang Island instead of the more popular Langkawi, as he prefer to have a more remote and unique experience.

Pack Light

You know that the heavier your luggage is, the more CO2 emissions you are responsible for. Packing only your essentials makes your travel greener and easier. As mentioned in my post about minimalism, having only the clothes you love, leaves you happier as well!

Pack Right

Traveling responsibly goes and in hand in living a more sustainable lifestyle everyday in your life! So be as conscious about your environment as you are at home. The best examples for me are these:

  • Shampoo – most people I know bring these smaller plastic bottles of shampoo with them. Stop it. Buy a shampoo bar instead.
  • Toothbrush – swap to one made of bamboo!
  • Sunscreen – make sure, that you bring a sunscreen that is coral safe. You don’t want to contribute to destroying coral fields, don’t you?

For more tips, check out my post on Body Care On The Go with a special focus on how to stay fresh without plastic!

Pay The Compensation Fee

Of course if you are flying, you should also keep in mind that most airlines offer you to pay a compensation fee for the amount of the CO2 you are going to blow into the air. If the certain airline that you booked with does not have any

The Travel Day!

It is now the day that you will board the plane to your next destination and there are still a few things that you can keep in mind for being a bit more environmental friendly!

Bring Your Own Bottle & Cutlery

As simple as this! Set an example by refusing on the single use cutlery and bottled water. More and more airports these days also offer refills for your bottle for free. Seeing this trend makes me utterly happy, as it shows me that the zero waste movements spreads and we all can stay more hydrated with using those nasty plastic bottles.

Stay Healthy And Prepare Your Own Food!

Airplane food is not that healthy and to be honest never that delicious. So in order for you to get healthy and delicious food, why not prepare your food in advance and bring it to your flight. And while eating it with your own cutlery and drinking water from your own bottle I bet that you will feel like a pro!

At Your Destination

So now imagine that you arrived at the place you will have your vacation at. Here is a lot more to do and to keep in mind than with your preparation. Let’s see how you can be a good conscious traveller here!

Eco Friendly Hotel or Staying at a Placed Owned by Locals!

I was not sure whether to put this into the preparation part but I thought it fits here as well! If you are traveling, make sure to stay in a   or in a place that is owned by a local. By this you will help them to pay their bills and to be able to run their business instead of being pushed away by some international hotel chains.

Pick Up Trash

If you are at a beachy destination, do what’s right and pick up some trash that is on it. Same applies for other landscapes of course: pick up the trash all those ****heads leave behind. You don’t have to do it all day, 30 minutes can be a huge difference when you free the beach from straws & stuff!

Don’t Litter

And the logical consequence from the step mentioned above is that you should also not contribute to the nasty habit of littering. Avoid creating waste and if you still do so, make sure to place it in a bin and not in the sand. By doing this you are also being a great role model for all the people who see you. And you prove that you are no idiot.

turtle on redang island - La Vie En Marine
Turtles are one the species that suffers from the plastic crisis. Do it for them!

Leave Nothing But Footsteps, Take Nothing But Photos…

This word is tacky and somehow annoying but it is indeed right. Don’t leave anything behind, so as mentioned before, don’t litter. But it is also important that you don’t take what is there. For example every beach is depending on its shells and corals, as they will break down to be the next generation of sand. If you take them home with you, you stop them from turning into sand and by this contributing to the decrease of sanded beaches.

Don’t Walk Besides Marked Paths.

When hiking it is important that you stay on the safe side and only walk official trails. When walking besides them you might accidentally destroy the home of animals or plants. Those paths are there for a reason and not for you to ignore them. Maybe they are also there for keeping you safe. Please be safe and don’t become the next sad story of a traveller falling off a cliff because one would ignore the signs for the hunt for the perfect picture.

Don’t Buy crap. Buy What Locals Produced.

It can be fascinating to buy a Prada bag for 10€. Or a Ray Ban for 5€. But souvenirs like that are often of cheap quality and won’t last you long. I admit that I indeed love things like these too and I own and owned quite a lot of them. Some of them are also made of good materials and already lasted me a long time. Nevertheless I reduced my stock of fake designer stuff (as I reduced all my belongings.) and decided not to spend my money on things anymore.

If I still want to buy something (because let’s be real; souvenirs are something amazing. A small piece of memory from a good time), make sure it is something that is produced by locals or that they are the ones to benefit from it. For example I am so in love with my small pouches from Village Works, that I use for storing smaller equipment of my camera.

Khmer Crafts Center - Zero waste in Asia
The two pouches I now use for storing my camera equipment!

After The Trip

Coming home sometimes feels a bit draining as most of us are coming back to their day-to-day routines, habits and work. But let’s just feel lucky and happy that we have a home to return to. And that we also have the chance to use our voices to spread the habit of sustainable travel!

Promote, Promote, Promote

And now we come to an essential part of sustainable travel: don’t keep this to yourself! Tell your friends and family! Show them your unique handmade souvenir. If you see someone looking for recommendations for a destination you have been to, tell them about the place you stayed in. Punch them if they litter (not really but make sure to educate them on their rude behavior). Help others to understand the importance of a sustainable life and you will help to reduce your guilt of damaging this planet we call home.

These are my favorite tips but there are more! Check out these 10 sustainable travel tips for environmentally conscious solo travellers! 

And that’s it. Thank you so much for reading my article. If you like it, make sure to share it or pin it for later!

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