Becoming a more eco-friendly traveller is really not a daunting task. As the world begins to open its eyes to how we, humans as a whole, have such an influence on environmental factors, we also start to realise how important small changes are. And how easily obtainable some of these changes can be.
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“So many things are possible, just as long as you don’t know they are impossible.”
So how exactly can we all become more eco-friendly when travelling?
It all begins with mindfulness. Now obviously, if you are reading this article, you are already mindful of the impact humans have on our planet. Let that mindfulness be put into action by taking into account a few ideas to reduce your carbon footprint. The following tips are so easy that they can be applied to your everyday lives, not just when travelling!
Tip #1: Less is MORE!
Don’t worry, this is not where I am going to push minimalism on you. What I suggest here is the concept of “less”. Over the past few years, I have really taken advantage of what my home country (US) has to offer. I spent months taking part in domestic travel, exploring some of the highlights, and even some places I didn’t know existed!
So how is that less?
For a greater portion of my life I always associated travel with hopping on a plane, and flying internationally. For whatever reason, I never really thought of domestic travel as.. well.. truly being travel. But by taking advantage of these “local” (domestic) experiences, I have also begun to recognise experiences for what they’re worth to me, rather than what they look like to everyone else.
Additionally, by packing up and taking off for undetermined amount of time on the road, I obviously had to physically work with less. By doing so, I learned an extremely valuable lesson… We don’t need many of the things we accumulate to truly enjoy life. Because in the end, they truly are just things.
You can read more about my story by clicking here.
Like I said, the idea is that less is more. You don’t need to travel to some far away place to have an incredible experience. There is no need to always having to do the biggest, most alluring adventure that there is. Step back a moment, and make the most of what you have; both tangible AND non.
This may not seem like a tip at all. And believe me, I am not telling you nix international travel, or those crazy-fun adventures. But by altering your mindset, a chain of events begins to occur; ultimately, reducing your eco-impact, and hopefully leading to more presence in the moment.
Tip #2: Think Local!
Now, I am sure you have heard this before; and if you haven’t, there is no better time than now to tune in!
Local, in this sense, simply means to remain mindful of your contribution. I think one of the easiest ways to put this into action is to start supporting local/small businesses, and spending less time at those major retailers, and chains. By doing so, not only are you jumping first-hand into the local culture and experience, but you are also allowing your tourist dollar to stimulate the local economy.
One of my personal favorite things when travelling is to visit local coffee shops. Not only do I help support community this way, but it also provides an opportunity for me to experience local cultures. For example, when I was exploring New Mexico, I was drinking Piñon coffee! It’s a unique blend of piñon nuts and Arabica coffee beans, almost exclusive to the New Mexico way of life!
But beyond where you buy your goods, because we don’t all always buy things everywhere we go… Thinking local can also be applied in ways such as taking local transportation, staying at a local inn, and even seeking out local experiences to make the most of your trip (like participating in a beach clean-up, if visiting a coastal destination).
A simple, actionable way to think local on your next adventure is to prioritise your accommodations in relevance to your plans. Are all of your intended activities going to take place in the city center? Find local accommodations right in town, opening up the opportunity to walk to where you need!
Tip #3: Mindful Carrying!
What the heck does that mean?!
By far one of my favorite practices to reduce my carbon-footprint when travelling is to practice “mindful carrying”. Put simply, this is making sure I have what I need in my backpack, and making sure it supports my attempts to remain an eco-friendly traveller.
You can see more of some of my favorite resources by clicking here.
I will always be an advocate for using a backpack, no matter the travel experience. This could be that I just don’t like to carry things around, leaving my hands full. Plus, I can carry so much more with me when I use a pack. Camera gear alone would be a struggle to carry in my hands alone. And I promise, I carry more than just camera gear!
There are a few products I always have in my pack, and I recommend you finding what fits your needs as well. Yes, this is another actionable approach to becoming more eco-friendly when travelling!
For example, I carry at least (!) one Nalgene water bottle with me at all times (more often than not, I’ll have two. one 32oz and one 16oz). And again, more times than not, I also have a re-usable coffee mug in my pack as well.
Any chance I get, I opt to use my own resources. Apart from most public places having access to free drinking water (obviously dependent on where you are), some will even let you fill your own bottle/mug/cup (whatever you choose to carry) for a discount!
By no means am I going to tell you that every move I make is sustainable. Remember that quote I added in a few paragraphs up? If we all make minor adjustments (like carrying my water bottles around everywhere), it adds up. And it adds up in a powerful way (and in your wallet)!
Just by remaining eco-conscious after reading this article, you are a step ahead!
For more posts from our green living series check out:
Guest Writer Bio: Adam LaPlante
Adam is a life enthusiast who enjoys an extended road trip. In 2016, when he graduated from college, he decided to take things beyond ordinary, and start living extraordinarily. After realising all that the world had to offer, he decided to create a blog to share his experiences with the world, sharing how easy it is to change perspectives to break down walls. With a regard toward eco-friendly consciousness, he now provides content for others to adapt their lifestyle outside of cubicle walls. You can read more about his experiences and lifestyle at inadamsshoes.com or follow him on social media @adamtheplant!