Trips and adventures! They’re undeniably fun, exciting, and memorable. But wherever you go or whatever you do, you undeniably leave a mark, a mark that may affect the natural environmental dynamics of a place. Knowing that undergoing trips and adventures can leave an impact, it is therefore important to exercise utmost responsibility to minimize these impacts. Here are a few tips on how to become a green-minded, eco-friendly traveler and adventurer.
Eco-Friendly Travel Tips
- Avoid traveling/adventuring in large numbers to lessen environmental impact.
- Turn off all lights, air conditioner, and television when you leave your hotel room. Doing so saves a lot of energy.
- Return brochures, maps, guide books, and other tourist info after you’re done with them so they can be reused by future travelers. You’ll do your share of saving trees from being cut to produce paper.
- Bring your own toiletries so you can minimize or avoid buying them in your destination. Doing so reduces your consumption of single-use plastic.
- Walk or bike around the city. Those activities are non-polluting, healthy, and allows you to discover the destination closer. If you have to ride, use public transportation.
- When shopping, bring a reusable eco-bag to reduce single-use plastic use.
Greening your Food Adventure
- Dine in to avoid paper or plastic take-out wrappers.
- Bring your own utensils so you won’t have to use single-use plastic utensils. There are reusable, light, and travel-friendly straws, forks, spoons, chopsticks, etc. that are made of high-tech materials.
- Bring a BPA-free water bottle that you can refill over and over. It’s also a good idea to bring a lunch box or tub (e.g. Tupperware, Lock n’ Lock) so you can put in take-out food. No need for single-use plastics!
- If possible, cook your own food with ingredients from local markets. You help the local economy, and you get to eat fresh, organic food.
- Finish your meal. Remember that a living organism died for your nutritional sustenance. Not finishing your food is not only wasteful but it also shows disrespect to that organism.
Keeping the Outdoors Pristine
- When hiking, stick to the established trail. Don’t create your own trail by trampling the surrounding ground.
- Don’t disturb animal life and plant life. Never scare or harm wild animals as they may perceive your action as an attack. Remember, wild animals are often deadly when they attack.
- Do not disturb or collect artifacts such as ruins, broken earthenware, and more. They are part of the history and culture of that place.
- Bring along a small plastic bag as you hike where you can put your trash there. Your garbage does not belong in the outdoors.
- Never accept offers from locals getting rid of your trash. Most likely, they will just throw your garbage in the river or elsewhere when you’re not looking. Pack your garbage and dispose of it in garbage bins in the city.
- Take care not dip your hand in water sources that are used for drinking. Catch the flow of the water using your water bottle. If the water comes from a pool, carefully dip your bottle into the surface, making sure your hand doesn’t touch the water.
- Wear the right outfit. Not only will your clothes protect you from Nature’s elements, they will also protect Nature from you. Nitrile foam coated gloves, for instance, protect incredibly delicate crystalline and rock formations in caves from the oils, salts, and moisture from your hand.
- Always observe cultural LNT, especially when you’re in highlands or isolated communities.
Protecting the Delicate Sea
- Avoid using sunscreens. They are known to have chemicals that can damage corals and marine organisms. Instead, wear long-sleeved rashguards to protect your skin from the sun.
- Corals are incredibly delicate; a careless bump and you can kill a hundred years worth of growth. Avoid stepping on them. If you’re wearing fins, be wary of your finning technique so that your fins won’t touch your corals.
- Whether you’re just wading, swimming, snorkeling, or scuba diving, don’t disturb animals to elicit their reaction. And don’t disturb animals just so you can take your Instagram photos. We’ve seen irresponsible tourists take starfish out of their habitat just for a few photos!
- No touching! Use a metal probe if you want to stabilize or anchor yourself. Probes are also useful for pointing at things of interest without actually touching them.
- Learn to maintain neutral buoyancy when you’re submerged. Stay away from the seabed.
- If you’re not a good swimmer and you’re snorkeling in very shallow water, wear a PFD or a life jacket to stay afloat, avoiding contact with the seabed.
Joining The Right Tours
- Never purchase anything that is made from endangered plants or animals, unsustainable materials, or ancient artifacts. Doing so is not just wrong but it’s also illegal.
- Don’t join tours, activities, or adventures that advertises or encourages “hands-on” encounters with wild or captive animals, natural formations, etc.
- If you unknowingly joined a “hands-on” tour mentioned above, stay back and don’t join the activities.
Most important of all…
- Don’t throw trash anywhere. Your trash does not belong anywhere but the garbage bin.
- Don’t vandalize. Remember you are only a visitor here. Would you like it if someone writes graffiti or damages your property?
- Always give local culture and Mother Nature the utmost respect they deserve.
By following these simple tips, you can enjoy exciting adventures and memorable trips the responsible way. And by doing so, culture and Mother Nature will smile at you.
Do you have other eco-friendly travel/adventure tips to share to our readers? Let us know in the comments below!
This is so helpful. Thanks for sharing.
Thank you Ambquezada!
Go green. Nice tips Sheila 🙂
Thank you, Arlene! Going green is always a responsible way of traveling.
Great post and tips
Thank you, Snowbird in Training!
These are all good reminders. I snorkel frequently, so I’m routinely aghast at the tourists who walk and/or stand all over the coral, and I usually rely on a rash guard/sun shirt over sunscreen when I can. We also try to pick up garbage while hiking and such. I hadn’t thought about returning tourist info like brochures – what a great idea!
We agree! We even see tourist dives who actually WALK over the coral, eschewing the fins. Worse, we’ve seen divemasters tolerating this kind of destructive behavior.
Great post, it’s always good to share these ideas to inspire other! A lot of these tips are common sense to me, but I guess it’s not like that for every traveler. What I also pay attention to is the accommodation. It’s way more sustainable to stay in a small hotel/hostel or in an eco-certified hotel than in a resort with huge breakfast and dinner buffets (where half of the food is thrown away..)
Hi Maria! Thank you! We do hope that travelers always exercise responsibly when they’re in other places.
Great post! As a traveler who tries her best to be as environmentally friendly as possible, these are some very good tips! Also purchasing carbon offsets on plane rides, and using local transportation all help in the green movement
Thank you Wander Women Abroad! Great suggestions from you as well!
Very good advice for every traveler. I also started to pay attention to environmental problems and try to make my travel eco-friendly. Recently I try to avoid plastic because I saw in Croatia how much rubbish the sea brings.
Hi Epepa! We definitely agree with you. In fact, we carry our own eco-bags with us during our trips so we don’t have to use plastic bags.
I’m always looking for new ideas to be more planet friendly, especially with my travels. Reading this though, you gave me the idea to purchase a reusable set of utensils for my office. I just realized we’re always using single-use plastic ones!! I’ll be fixing this right away.
Hi Eden! There are very nice, high-tech, and sturdy reusable utensils available in outdoor gear shops. They look really cool as well. 🙂
While I travel, even though I pay the full expenses it never became an excuse for me not to be mindful. For example, in foods I always make sure I get only what I can consume and never leave any leftovers.
Hi Blair! Same here. We only order enough that we’d get full and satisfied. Any leftover, we pack it and eat it later.
Fantastic tips here, some of which I have already begun to follow and others that I probably need to pay more attention to. The one about sunscreen is a little hard to follow because my skin burns very easily but then I try to find the ones that are the least harmful to sea life. And of course, trying to minimise the use of plastic is always on my mind!
Hi Medha! Well, we’ve gotten around that sunscreen problem by wearing rash guards. And if we get sunburned, well, that’s okay. Skin heals. Hehee!
Thanks for creating awareness about eco-friendly tourism. It is so important for us to preserve our environment.
Thank you for sharing that advocacy and passion, Ana!
I think also finding biodegradable and compostable toiletries are important too! Great post!