I love traveling and that’s obviously not a secret. But I also want my children and grandchildren to be able to travel the world like me. So I’ve become more interested in sustainable traveling. In 2018 there was a new word introduced in the Swedish language called “Klimatångest” and can directly be translated to climate anxiety. It was also documented that every third woman, between the age of 16-29, in Sweden is suffering from this anxiety. Including myself. I spend a lot of time thinking about our climate and the fact that it is changing. But at the same time I want to explore the world. Do you see the problem here? This is why I’m trying to aim towards more sustainable traveling!
Sustainable traveling? Is that possible?
Yes, of course! It’s 2019! Sustainability is becoming more important and I now see influencers daily talking about it on their social media channels. Which I didn’t a year ago, so that’s a huge improvement according to me. We need to talk more about traveling and the impact is has on our climate.
Did you know?
- Tourism is responsible for nearly one tenth of the world’s carbon emissions (Source).
- Since the 1950s, around 8.3 billion tons of plastic have been produced worldwide. And only 9% has been recycled (Source).
- 73% of beach litter worldwide is plastic (Source).
- Inhaling air pollution takes away at least 1-2 years of a typical human life (Source).
- More than 5 trillion pieces of plastic are already floating in our oceans (Source).
Chocking right? These are just parts of the reason myself and many others suffer from climate anxiety. The travel industry is a big industry and won’t change over a night. But there are several thing we can do to help slowly change it. Doesn’t this make you want to embrace more sustainable traveling?
So how can I travel more sustainable?
I thought you would never ask! There are plenty of things that you can to that makes you a more sustainable traveller. Here are 10 tips that makes you a more sustainable traveller (and gives you a more sustainable lifestyle).
1. Say goodbye to plastic
Seriously, you don’t need it. Take a look around you, how many plastic things can you see right now? 5? 10? 20? That’s too much. Easy ways to do this is include to bring your own grocery bag to the store, switch out your plastic toothbrush to a wooden one and say no to straws! These tips are so easy there’s no reason not to do them.
2. Use reef safe sunscreen
Sunscreen has been proven to kill coral reefs. In 2015, it was estimated that around 14,000 tons of sunscreen are ending up in the world’s coral reefs. You don’t want to kill coral reef do you? Let Nemo live! Next time you’re traveling to the sun, make sure your sunscreen is safe to use.
3. Cut back on flying
This is a hard one, I admit. I’m a travel blogger, am I really the right person to bring this up? But if we want our grandchildren to be able to travel as well we need to reduce our carbon footprint. I’ve challenged myself to not fly domestic anymore and take the train whenever it is possible. My thought is that by taking the train instead of flying the journey become an adventure in itself.
4. Reduce your waste
Have you ever tried the zero waste method? It’s hard! But if you can implement some of it on your travels you instantly become more environmentally friendly. Easy tips include to eat everything on your plate (if it’s a buffé take a little food each time) and don’t buy things with packaging (ex. fruit!). But most importantly if you end up with waste: recycle it! And if you find others waste along your travels, make it a habit to recycle that too.
5. Shower responsibly
Most of us like to take a shower after being on the go all day, especially in warmer more humid climates. I get it. But in places like South Africa the extended amount of water usage led to them almost running completely dry. That’s not what we are aiming for. Take short showers and reuse your towel!
6. Support the locals
A lot of local people at the popular tourist destinations are dependent on tourists to make a living. By eating at a local restaurant and staying at a smaller hotel (example a boutique hotel or family owned hotel) are both great and easy tips for supporting the locals. It’s also so nice to meet the locals instead of staying at a big resort and never leaving the grounds. Sustainable traveling is not only about the environment!
7. Go paperless
Todays technology makes it totally doable to go paperless! No need to print your travel documents anymore. Boarding passes, hotel documents and other documents are most of the time available as PDF-files or other online files. Save the trees!
8. Compensate for your travels beforehand
One thing that is especially popular when it comes to sustainable traveling is carbon offsetting! Most airlines, but also some bus companies, now offers the possibility of paying an extra, small fee to compensate for the carbon emission of your travels. This is so easy and it’s not expensive at all. Other things you can do beforehand is leave your car at home more, eat more plant based and use less plastic in your day-to-day life!
9. Use public transport
I think this is a no brainer. Take the train or the bus to work instead of driving. But also, when you are abroad, use the local public transport instead of renting a car or taking a taxi. It’s not only usually cheaper but also an easy tip for sustainable traveling!
10. Travel longer and experience more!
I’m aware that this isn’t an option for everyone. We need to stop flying as much as we do. One way to do that is to stop going on weekends or “mini breaks” and instead travel for a longer period of time. Travel for 2-4 weeks or more if you can! This way you get more out of your vacation and you make the flight “worth it”. And during this time, if you live like you do at home or even more sustainable, you won’t make a bigger impact on the environment than usual!
READ MORE: Things To Know Before You Visit Sweden
Those were all my tips for sustainable traveling! I hope you learned something and will implement some of these steps in your everyday life and on your travels. I feel like we are going to see more of this during this year since this subject is becoming more and more important. I already see big profiles on Instagram talking about plastic pollution and the environment and that is such a positive change! I hope this year we as travelers really can make a change on the travel industry.