It’s summertime and most of us will be travelling (at least once, and most probably a few times) over the next couple of months. The girls behind A Boy Named Sue give us their tips on how to make travelling greener and more eco-friendly so you don’t have to feel too guilty about your carbon footprint!
BEFORE YOU GO
Offsetting the carbon emissions from your air travel won’t cost you an arm and a leg (usually between $80-$250 per flight, depending on the length) and is super easy as most airlines offer the option when buying your ticket online.
Choosing the hotel! There are a number of websites that list environmentally friendly hotels, B&B’s and lodges around the world; these are a good place to start. We like the selection by Mr&Ms Smith here, which has a huge range of hotels and countries to choose from.
A few questions to ask before booking your hotel: Is the hotel locally owned and operated? If not, is it at least staffed by local employees? What kind of recycling programmes does the hotel have? Do guests have the option to reuse towels and sheets instead of having them changed every day?
DURING YOUR STAY
*Think about how much water you’re using! Keep your showers short and turn off the water while you’re brushing your teeth.
*When you leave the room, turn off the air-conditioning, heat, television, lights or any other electric devices.
*Reuse your sheets and towels instead of having them changed every day.
*Bring your own toiletries and drinking cup rather than using the pre-packaged ones provided.
*Know your hotel’s recycling programme and sort your trash accordingly.
A plastic bottle often travels thousands of miles before you buy it and takes 500 years to biodegrade (Bottles made with Polyethylene Terephthalate (PET or PETE) will never biodegrade). So try and carry a reusable container or when safe drink locally sourced water.
Eating locally is one of the best ways to support a community and get to know the culture of the place you are visiting. Try and shop at farmers’ markets and dine at restaurants with locally sourced ingredients whether you are in Italy or Thailand.
Rent a bicycle! When you arrive at your destination, you will burn the calories from trying all that amazing local food by making use of cycling. Renting a bicycle is also a great way to see the country much better (it’s a bit of a different story if you’re travelling to Beijing, Shanghai or Hanoi as you might get run over or choke on exhaust fumes! Good luck to you!)
Support local craft and design (and no, plastic overpriced souvenirs at the airport do not count). Italy has beautiful pottery and leather, Thailand indigo, stones, spice, Taiwan wood pieces, tea and pottery, India textiles and spice. Find out in advance about local craftsmanship, small design stores, workshops and make sure to pay them a visit preferably by bicycle on your trip.
Pack light. We are big fans of multi functional sarongs, which double up as skirts, dresses, travel scarves and beach towels (see some great options here!).
Use chemical free, natural sunscreen (check out our Top 10 sunscreen picks here) and mosquito spray. It’s better for your skin and the environment!
Have an amazing summer!