Seven Tips For Sustainable Travel
How to be more environmentally friendly while travelling
Our world is a beautiful place filled with diversity, and we want to keep it that way. That’s why we set ourselves the goal to reduce our carbon footprint as much as possible and improve the sustainability of our products within the next few years. We started with the Travel Hoodie followed by our first all-vegan colourway Blue Vega – learn more tips for sustainable trips here.
1. Fly less, fly smarter
Europe has a wealth of incredible destinations on offer. So why not check out your neighbours next time? How about Brussels, Copenhagen or Warsaw? You can even get there by train – many railway companies are currently investing in electric mobility, and are working hard on material efficiency and reducing greenhouse gases. Oftentimes a train journey is faster and cheaper than flying (not to mention more romantic), and you can read your favourite book or take a nap along the way. The train would go without you anyway, so your carbon footprint will be paused for the trip.
Of course, we still want to see the as much of the world as we can. It sounds counter-intuitive, but your holiday becomes more environmentally friendly when you extend your trip for as long as possible. If you’re going to Hong Kong anyway, why not explore the neighbouring countries and cities while you’re there? Combining a trip throughout Japan with a city trip to Seoul, for example, will save you a longer flight to Korea next year. Jetting to New York and back only to eat at the newest restaurant or see a Broadway show would be the exact opposite of being sustainable.
2. Go Digital
You have the internet in your pocket – so it makes way more sense to use your phone and Google Maps than to buy paper maps and travel guides. There are countless travel blogs and apps making your printed guides not only dead weight, but unnecessary trash when you get home.
We recently created a list of our favourite travel apps. You can find them here.
3. The right accommodation
We’re no fans of all-inclusive trips. The mind-boggling amount of packages on offer means lots of food ends up wasted – food that would be better off somewhere else. Wastage aside, big hotels usually support big international tourism companies instead of local businesses.
Luckily, there is a great selection of hotels that offer a sustainable alternative without sacrificing on design or comfort. The online platform Bookitgreen makes finding the right hotels easy, listing only environmentally friendly accommodation options. “Organic hotels” are also becoming increasingly popular all over the world. They can easily be identified through various labels like CSR-Tourism-Certified.
4. Bikes and trains instead of cars
Do you really need a rental car? In many cities, bikes are the cheaper, healthier and even more fun choice; especially because the best finds are usually made when you’re on a detour (read: lost). Take public transportation and experience the city as the locals do. That sounds a whole lot better than being locked up in a car with the same faces all day, right?
5. Support locals
Not just in Europe, but all over the world, chains are taking over the city centres. If you’re shopping or just hungry, it’s always worth visiting smaller businesses with local owners rather than huge international chains. That way you get to talk to interesting people, support local small businesses and make a statement against mass production at the same time. Also, we can promise: food in local restaurants will taste one thousand times better than the the local version of McDonald’s. Added bonus: buying clothes from a local brand means that when you get home, you won’t see anyone else wearing what you are.
6. Protect natural resources
Even in reputable souvenir shops, avoid buying anything made of rare or natural materials. This includes coral, ivory and anything else for which natural habitats have been destroyed or animals hunted. Buying these sorts of souvenirs supports these industries, so refer to this handy Souvenir Guide by WWF to help you make ethical, sustainable purchases.
It seems pretty obvious, but it still hasn’t registered with everyone: dispose of your rubbish properly – especially on the beach, in national parks, etc. Travelling sustainably means leaving the environment in the same – or better – condition than you found it. Also good practice for when we’re back home.
7. Save plastic and electricity
Travelling in hot countries presents two problems: staying hydrated and air-conditioning. Drinking lots of water is important, but buying water in plastic bottles is hugely wasteful. The easiest solution is your own reusable bottle. Even though tap water isn’t fit for human consumption in every country, you will still find opportunities to refilling with drinking water; or buy a water bottle with an integrated filter. Et voilà! You will even save money!
And what about the aforementioned air-conditioning? In many countries it simply isn’t an option if you hope to sleep at night. Air-conditioning systems, as well as electric fans, are power guzzlers. So if you really need to use them, do so thoughtfully, which would be when you are actually in your room.
Why is sustainable travel important?
By following these seven tips, you can make a significant contribution toward a protecting the environment. Together, with just a few easy adaptations and a little bit more mindfulness, we can make leaps and bounds towards a sustainable future. The best part is that you don’t have to stop travelling.