Being a traveler and an environment hero is not easy – it’s close to impossible actually (anyone who wants to take on the challenge?). Since people became more aware of the destructive effect our lifestyles have, eco travel has become more and more popular.
However, with a few exceptions, it just seems like it’s really expensive to do. The Eco lodges and hotels are overpriced, and so is often the transport.
But there is a way of saving money and the planet – even on the road you can take eco-friendly steps:
Sometimes we walk up to 8 km a day, and although every now and then we’re a little too optimistic about the distance, we’re also often surprised over how short it takes to get where we want.
Plus we see so many random things when we walk around; funny shops, houses, people, signs. All that stuff that passes by too quickly to get a good look at when you’re looking out from your tuk tuk or tour bus.
You really get a good look at what a city really offers by simply walking round.
2. Eat local fresh produce
This also saves on fuel and carbon, and if you buy fresh homemade things you’re free from those strange mechanical additions.
Even at a 7 eleven shop in Asia, you can choose between Oreos from America, or the same type of cookies made in a country much closer – the latter one being both cheaper and greener.
3. Buy large water cans, or preferably a water purifier
Buying 1 Liter water bottles several times a day is such a waste of plastic, and in the long run they are also more expensive than the larger bottles. If you don’t have a water purifyer then buy your water in 6 Liter bottles or larger, it saves money, plastic and lasts a few days.
4. Travel by train
Train is much friendlier for the environment than flying. If you’re traveling small distances, try to catch a train or bus over a flight. Often it doesn’t only save you money, but also time (remember check in and border time).
Sometimes it’s sadly cheaper to travel by plane than train, but buses are usually a real cheap way of getting around, and although it’s not completely green, it’s better to share a vehicle with 20 people than it is if we were all driving solo in a car each.
5. Skip the plastic bags
If you don’t really need a plastic bag, don’t take it “just because”. Reuse the ones you have, and when shopping food bring your daypack to pack your food in. In many countries the plastic bags cost extra as well, which adds up.
Plastic bag waste has become such a big problem that in some countries they’re not really allowed to give them when you buy things, India is an example of that.
6. Save the leftovers
I remember visiting a cafe in Vienna, where I bought a huge carrot cake that I couldn’t finish. I asked to get something to put it in so I could finish it later.
She was so happy that I asked, and told me that they throw away tons of food every day that people just left behind.
Asking to get a doggy bag really isn’t a problem, and if your meal is big you get two meals for one, rather than just leaving it on the plate.
7. Fly long distances with fewer stopovers
Remember though, that the hours waiting on the airport will make you bring out your wallet more than once for the overpriced food and the tempting Tax-Free products.
Often it is also cheaper from the start to fly a long distance, and not only is it more comfortable, saves you time and money, but it actually makes a HUGE difference to the earth as well.
Airplanes consume a lot more fuel during take off and landing than when it’s up in the air, so the fewer stops, the less pollution.
8. Pack light
A smaller bag means less space for clothes which means you can’t and won’t need to buy as much stuff, and can’t be tempted to buy all those unnecessary souvenirs. It also saves fuel for the planes, as it has to carry less weight. Imagine if we all traveled like Rolf Potts..!
9. Check in Online
It’s cheaper, it’s faster, it’s easier and it saves paper. What more do you need?
(photo credits: pedrosimoes7 – bridgepix – Kevin Coles – stu_spivack – albertopveiga)