Traveling is an activity, at least, ecological. But nowadays there are very few activities whose ecological footprint can be considered as “null”. Don’t worry, if you are reading this blog, I know you are aware of it.
Zero waste is a term that involves many aspects, therefore, it is not a punctual change but a complete lifestyle.
The best way is trying to reach the closest harmony with waste zero philosophy and lifestyle. Zero Waste, focuses to the idea that raw materials are not unlimited. Therefore, we need to look for long-term solutions and sustainable alternatives.
Is very complex and subjected to many things that depend on the style of travel we choose.
Hotels and resorts
The mass tourism has brought with it the endless construction hotels in rural or virgin areas. The environmental impact of building, for example, on a virgin beach is abysmal. For example, alteration of the fauna, carbon footprint and pollution. A clear example is the typical luxury hotel on the shore with swimming pools, using potable water to offer a desalted bathe.
Nonetheless, some have tried to lower their environmental. Hence, by integrating sustainable materials, justly paid jobs and collaboration with groups of conservationists to protect the fauna.
AirBnB, Guesthouse or rural tourism
The carbon footprint of tourism is based on that when we travel, we consume more resources than if we hadn’t left. Therefore, one way to change this is to act as we would if we were at home. Thus, rural houses are of great help. When we rent an apartment, we can clean the dishes, wash clothes and control the produced waste. We can for example, go to the local market and cooking plastic free.
On the other hand, rural houses give us everything big hotels would like: peace, learn to know the local culture and, often, paradisiacal places.
Workaway, coach sharing, organic farming …
What I described earlier is what is called the “classical” way of traveling. But nowadays there are many more options, each one adapted to the style of your trip. Therefore, everything that includes sharing resources, considerably reduces our ecological footprint.
Workaway is a platform that connects travelers with local business or volunteers, who offer their accommodation in exchange for our help/time. All these wonderful initiatives allow us to participate in the local culture and learn new skills while we travel.
The camping can be ecological if we respect the facilities for camping. Therefore, going to enabled areas.
For example, in Iceland it is strictly forbidden to camp in unlicensed areas, because the land is covered with native moss. By sticking the pegs in it, we can destroy it. Thus, we would be left without the magical Icelandic moss, whose characterizes its beauty.
Eating in restaurants during our holidays is one of the largest environmental burdens. The hostelry industry consumes a lot of water, electricity, resources, people … is this excess increases the carbon footprint.
When we travel, we should enjoying slow. Many times cooking is a stress that we want to avoid and, trying the local gastronomy is part of the trip. But, there is no need to over-consume.
For example, in 2017 we traveled to Vietnam for 15 days. Among other things, this country is famous for its coffee. Therefore, when arrived to Ha Noi, we went to the coffee to try it out. I could not have had a bigger surprise as when I saw many tourists in Starbucks! If we are going to consume resources, at least, that the benefits go to locals. How can we justify tourism and its economic benefits if we give our money to large companies?
I am not saying that we should refuse to try local specialties. But, we can look for quality instead of quantity and go to familiar or rural restaurants, where we know that the benefits will be fair.
My advice, is to look for apartments with kitchen, substitute some meals for fruits or sandwiches and not abuse of going to restaurants. Be responsible, we can both enjoy gastronomy and take care of the planet.
Plastic bottles represent already a big environmental problem, highlighted in small islands where all tourists consume bottled water.
However, we can almost avoid buying water or bottled drinks, we explain it in each travel post. These would be the main tips that we give you to avoid bottled water:
- Carry your reusable bottle
- Find out before each trip about the water conditions, in many countries tap water is potable, if so, simply fill your bottle
- In Southeast Asia, just ask the accomodations/hotels/restaurants.. if they have water tanks and if you can refill your bottle (some charge you, but it is usually very low)
- If you have access to a kitchen, boil the water for 10 minutes and use a filter as a chelant (there are some biodegradable and compostable)
- In many airports there are already fonts of water to refill your bottle
You can also look for alternative ways of hydration, such as drinking teas, soups …. Do not to risk your health!