When you have been reading several articles on Greentravelife, you have probably noticed that the term green travelling is used on several occasions. Although many people heard of the term, not everybody exactly knows what green travelling means and how you can participate in it. This article should explain what green travelling is and also help you to become a green traveller yourself.
What is green travelling?
Although the words green and sustainable have different meanings, they basically mean the same thing when we are talking about travelling. Both of them focus on paying attention to the environment when you are not at home. With more people travelling to destinations all over the world, green travelling becomes increasingly important every day. The least we can do while enjoying this beautiful planet, is try to be as conscious as possible.
Deers in Sri Lanka (© Greentravelife)
Become a green traveller
Below we have listed 11 tips for people who want to become a green traveller. Obviously you do not have to fulfil all of them but it already makes a difference if you can change your behaviour on a few of them. To be clear up front: Just because I am writing this does not mean I always take care of all 11 tips in this article. You do not become a green traveller from one day to the next but hopefully these tips can help you focus on a few things.
Here are the tips on how to become a green traveller:
1. Pack as light as possible
Green travelling actually starts before your trip. Just because the flight company allowed you to bring 20 Kilo to your travel-destination does not mean you have to bring that full amount. If you can bring less, bring less. This is not only nice for your own back and arms but also means the plane, train, bus or car has to transport less kilograms. Although we are not talking about a massive impact here, it still makes a difference if many green travellers follow this tip. Keep in mind that most of us will travel about 2-3 times a year for the next 30-50 years.
2. Choose the right destination
Deciding on your next travel-destination is also a moment where you can think about the environment. A general rule of thumb is that destinations closer to your house are better for the environment. Unfortunately the journey itself is one of the most polluting parts of travelling. Therefore you might want to consider visiting one of the beautiful closer to your home instead of flying 20 hours. It is totally understandable that you want to see some exotic countries on the other side of the world, but maybe not every year.
The Sunset in Ghana (© Greentravelife)
3. Train is better than Plane
This tip is directly related to the previous one. If you decide to stay close to your home you might be able to travel to the destination by bus or train. These are more environmental-friendly transport method as planes and cars. If you are into a sporty holiday you might even decide to do a bike-trip with some friends. It will save you money, help you stay in shape and you can feel like one heck of a green traveller.
4. If you fly, fly non-stop
If you decide to travel by plane, you should try to book a direct flight. This does not only save you time and many hours of waiting on a shitty airport, but also because it is better for the environment. It’s the takeoff and landing which cause the most of an airplane’s carbon emission so direct flights are better for the environment.
Isla de Ometepe from the Ferry (© Greentravelife)
5. Do not buy water in plastic bottles
Especially when you are visiting a warm country, you have to make sure that you drink plenty of water. The easiest way to do this is buy plastic bottles in stores or supermarkets. It is recommended to drink several liters of water a day. This would mean you would buy over 20 bottles of water every week. A simple, cheap and effective way to be a green traveller would be bringing your own drinking bottle. You can even make sure you can hang it around your neck for additional convenience.
6. Have food in local places
When you have been travelling for a longer period of time, you probably noticed how much you can miss the food from home. When we were in Ghana I remember missing a proper pizza or things like crispy fries. Smart investors know travellers have this graving and therefore you will often find big restaurants with “western food”. If you want to become a green traveller, keep in mind that these places are almost never owned by local places. Obviously you do not have to survive without pizza for months but make sure you also support local restaurants which mostly offer local food.
Local food in Nicaragua
7. Consider not using electric devices
We are all used to our mobile phones, tablets and other electronic devices. We love to watch some Netflix-movies when we come home from a long day of sightseeing. But for the sake of the environment we try to not use our electronic devices during our holidays. A great benefit of not using your mobile phone for a while is the fact that you will be able to better relax when you are travelling. Not being in touch with social networks, friends and things like work or your university will help to “shut down”.
8. Choose the right way to get around
Obviously it is awesome to rent a large SUV and drive through all the rough part of a country. If there is no other way to do a certain trip, this is fine. But most of the time travellers are renting such a car to visit just a few real 4WD-trips in several weeks of holiday. All the other days of the trip they will drive with the same car on normal roads, which is not necessary and is very unsustainable. If you want to become traveller you could travelling with smaller cars or even better, the bus.
Cheap Transport Sri Lanka (© Greentravelife)
9. Stay at local guesthouses instead of resorts
Besides trying to eat local food (see tip 5) it is also important to avoid large resorts. First of all these accommodations are bad for the environment, second of all you will not have the chance to meet local people who can give you insider tip which are not written in the Lonely Planet. Personally I liked staying in a small guest-house in Nicaragua much more than any hotel I’ve ever stayed in.
A small guesthouse in Nicaragua (© Greentravelife)
10. Never ever buy wildlife-products
Although this tip seems obvious, it is way to important to leave out of this list: If you want to be a green traveller and enjoy spectacular safari’s with your children you should remember this simple tip: Never ever buy wildlife products. They might be a nice souvenir and you might even impress some people with it, but when you are reading this article I know you know better.
11 Save water as much as you can
This is an obvious tip and besides green travelling this is also something you should do at home. Especially when you are travelling in specific regions where not much water is available, you should really shower as short as possible. Also when you are using water for cooking or drinking, try not to spill too much.