Leave Only Footprints – 7 Travel Hacks To Lessen Your Environmental Impact

It’s no secret that travelling comes with a fairly significant environmental impact. So what do you do when you want to see more of our beautiful planet, but also want to continue to keep it as beautiful as possible?

From how you get around to where you stay, explore seven travel tips to ensure your next trip is just that little bit greener.

1. Stay closer to home

7 Travel Hacks - Australia
Photo Source: Angela and Andrew from Flickr: https://flic.kr/p/TsEhpg

While the architecture and history of Europe can be super tempting, don’t forget that Australia’s a huge and diverse country, too. All modes of transport have some form of impact, but flying is one of the more destructive ones.

So consider a road trip or a boat for your next holiday and take in some of the incredible local sights. And added bonus: your tourism dollars will stay at home. Oi oi oi!

2. Offset the carbon of your flight

7 Travel Hacks - Offset

If you want to visit to certain spots, flying can be unavoidable. Most Australian carriers offer a flight offset option, and it really doesn’t cost much at all (usually less than $2).

If you can afford the flight then chances are you can afford to offset it, so make sure to always tick that little box! Qantas, Jetstar and Virgin have offered this option for years.

3. BYO water bottle

7 Travel Hacks - BYO Water Bottle

Did you know that a million plastic water bottles are bought around the world every minute? The impact of this is devastating to our natural environment, especially our oceans. One of the more responsible choices you can make is to never, ever buy plastic water bottles – and that includes when you travel.

Unless you have received a health advisory warning to the contrary relating to the country you are visiting, bringing your own water bottle and small water steriliser is a much better option. Sometimes just plain old boiled tap water can do the trick as well.

4. Research your hotels

7 Travel Hacks - Eco Hotels

Many hotels have upgraded their facilities to become more environmentally conscious over the years or are built with that specific purpose in mind. Money talks, so it’s a good idea to do your research before you leave and patronise eco-friendly establishments.

It also can’t hurt to let hotels you were considering know that you didn’t book them because of their lack of environmental consciousness. Via a friendly email, of course.

5. Pack less

7 Travel Hacks - Pack Less

Once you start being conscious of the amount you pack, you’ll surprise yourself with how little you can actually get by on. Every bit of weight on transport burns more fuel, so only bring the absolute essentials.

A great tip for packing is to do it really early (like a week before) then revisit your bag a couple of times before you actually leave. You’ll find plenty of “just in case” items that you threw in there on impulse that can be removed after coming back to it. It also means less stuff for you to lug around!

6. Make a positive difference

7 Travel Hacks - Make Difference

Instead of just reducing your impact on a place when you visit, why not actually leave your destination better off for it?

Sustainable Travel International offers a range of options throughout the world for holidays where visitors can actually help to alleviate poverty, hunger, gender inequality and environmental degradation in the world’s most vulnerable regions.

7. Bring your at-home conscience with you

More and more people are becoming environmentally conscious in their own homes, but it can sometimes get lost in translation when we travel.

You don’t really need to take that longer shower or have your towels washed every day just because you’re on holiday and it’s the “hotel’s water”. Your own shopping bags will also work for souvenirs, and think about whether or not you really need the heating/cooling in your room before just automatically turning it on.

Treat every place you visit with the same environmental consciousness and respect that you give your own home and local community.

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Natalie O'Driscoll

Natalie O'Driscoll

Natalie O'Driscoll is a writer and magazine editor who covers everything from culture to conservation. She's mad about music, travel, and all things food-related. Catch her highlights on Facebook at www.facebook.com/NatalieODriscollWriter

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