When planning a trip, it is important to ask ourselves the question of our environmental and social impact. To help you with that, I am sharing with you 3 tips that will help you limit your impact, from your destination choice to the behaviors to adopt during the trip.
1. Use slow transportation means
The carbon footprint of transportation, especially aviation, is huge. Indeed, aviation’s CO2 emissions are 15 to 45 times higher than those of trains. This is why it is very important to choose a transportation means with lower environmental impact when going on a trip.
This will inevitably affect the way you plan your trip. Indeed, if you don’t have a lot of time dedicated to a specific trip, it is better to prioritize closer destinations, accessible by train rather than going to the other side of the globe for only 2 weeks, as Camille advises.
If you are interested in exotic landscapes, why not re-consider your plans and negotiate a sabbatical leave with your company to be able to discover the world at your own pace, without using the plane? This is what Hortense et Mathias did when they decided to go discover the American continent.
2. Reduce your waste
Once you are in the country, it is very important to limit your waste, even more so in countries which have less sorting capabilities.
To do this, equip yourself with a filtering water bottle to be able to refill your water bottle from the tap without any risk of intoxication, or simply drink the filtered water available in restaurants, accommodations, etc. As for the filtering water bottle, many travelers, whom I received in my podcast Voyageurs de Demain, recommended me the Lifestraw flasks.
That being said, be careful not to consume tap water, even if filtered, in places where it is contaminated with heavy metals, etc. You can find that out by doing a quick internet search to see if there are any heavy industries nearby, or even better, by asking locals.
Besides, always take your zero waste kit with you when you go out. This will allow you to avoid unnecessary waste.
Aside from your water bottle, it is a good idea to have a straw, a reusable container, a cup, a cloth towel, cutlery and chopsticks (especially if you plan to visit an Asian country). If you are planning on cooking your own food during the trip, small cloth bags to buy unpackaged ingredients will also be very helpful. Take as well one or two reusable bags, which really don't take up much space and will be useful for any purchases.
Banaclichet zero waste travelers tip: do a bit of research on the internet or Facebook before arriving in a place to locate bulk stores (local zero waste Facebook groups are a great source of information) and do not hesitate to ask them if they have good addresses to recommend in your next destination.
3. Limit your water consumption
Some countries are facing great water stress issues, i.e. lack of water. It often happens that the little amount of water these countries have access to, ends up being used for hotel complexes’ swimming pools or sanitary facilities, thus depriving the locals of precious resources.
This is for example the case in Bali, a popular tourist destination, which suffers from water shortage when the dry season comes.
What can we do about that? Avoid these destinations in order not to deprive local populations of this essential resource, or at the very least, wait for more humid seasons to go there.
Once there, prioritize eco-responsible accommodations and minimize your water consumption as much as possible by avoiding long showers on a daily basis, for example.
I hope these tips will be useful for your next trip. Do not hesitate to find more inspirations and advice from responsible travelers in the podcast Voyageurs de De main, which is available on Apple Podcast, Deezer, Spotify, ImagoTV and Eeko. If you don’t speak French, stay tuned as I am launching very soon an English version of this podcast. Check Slowtrotters on Instagram to be aware when the first episode is out!
By Helene Queguiner
Instagram: @voyageursdedemain (https://www.instagram.com/voyageursdedemain/)