5 Easy Ways to Be a More Environmentally Friendly Traveler

A recurring theme we’ve noticed about long-term travelers is the great care they have for the environment.

We understand that sometimes doing the more eco-conscious thing can be expensive.  However, here are some easy ways to make your travel better for the environment and almost importantly, stay on budget.

 

1. Carry a water bottle and refill it instead of buying plastic bottles

Garbage in the Ocean, BeGreenPackaging.com

The Great Pacific Garbage Patch is an accumulation of trash the size of Texas.

We are using a material that can take over 500 years to degrade as a disposable item. By using and refilling a (preferably glass) bottle, you lower your waste and help promote cleaner oceans where plastic kills millions of marine creatures each year. Here are 2 great options:

 

2. Opt for less cleaning in your hotel room

Folded Towels

While the daily clean towels are oh so tempting… opt for less frequent clean linens to lower water usage.

Use your house rules for clean towels and sheets while you travel. Instead of a fresh set daily, ask reception for a service in 3 days instead. You will be helping the hotel use less water and chemical based cleaning agents.

 

3. Think twice before saying yes to wildlife tourism

While it looks fun, these elephants are far from their natural environment.

The cute monkey dressed up on the street to take pictures with tourists is living a life far different than it would in the wild. Don’t pay to take pictures at an animal’s expense. Research to make an informed decision on how the animals you interact with while traveling are being treated and whether they are leading a life in a natural environment.

 

4. Use eco-friendly personal care products

Moray Eel, Thailand - EngagedExplorers.com

Moray Eel, seen while scuba diving in Thailand.   Do your part to keep the coral healthy for these beautiful creatures!

Using eco-friendly sunscreen is better for lakes and oceans. Studies have shown that a small amount of oxybenzone, a common sunscreen ingredient, can have a huge negative impact on coral reefs. Just think about the hundreds, if not thousands, of people swimming near these reefs covered in harmful chemicals.  So make the switch today to a coral friendly option!  Also, opt for biodegradable phosphate-free soap and skin products to lessen your impact even more.

 

5. Eat locally

Loma Night Market, Patong City, Thailand - EngagedExplorers.com

Loma Night Market, Patong City, Thailand

Whenever possible, skip chain restaurants and look for local places. This will help support the local economy as the profits will most likely support a local family and in turn will purchase and use locally-grown products. This is also a great way to learn more about the local culture: food, family, and language. (time to practice your phrasebook skills!)

Everyday we all make decisions that impact the environment, whether we are aware of it or not, so we urge you to be mindful of your choices.  Changing a few habits here and there can go a long way towards creating and supporting a healthier and happier place for us all.

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