Your Guide to Keeping the Planet Green While You Explore it
Our New Year’s Resolutions for 2019: More travel, less impact. There’s an overwhelming amount of information (and disinformation) about how to be more sustainable, and we know that when you’re travelling, it becomes 10 times harder. We’ve put together our checklist for sustainable travellers while on the road, so you can live your best life without costing the earth.
1. Transport Choices
Use shared transport options when in new countries, rather than renting a car. Bus and train travel are two of the lowest impact travel options, plus you meet other awesome likeminded travellers to share a laugh with (we know of an awesome flexible travel company that takes you off the beaten track in New Zealand, Australia and Southeast Asia)
2. Straighten Up and Fly Right
Offset your carbon emissions when flying. Buying carbon credits to offset your flight is usually quite cheap, at around $35NZD for a flight from London to Auckland. Check for transparency with your airline – Air New Zealand’s carbon offsets go directly toward native forest restoration and renewable energy projects.
3. Be Prepared, Be Very Prepared
Bring a reusable shopping bag, drink bottle and keep cup from home. If you’ve forgotten any of these, you can buy one in your travel destination – they make great souvenirs. If you’re travelling in New Zealand or Australia, the tap water is always safe to drink, so your reusable bottle is a great investment. If you’re heading for the heat of Southeast Asia, think about investing in a bottle with an inbuilt filter system. Otherwise, most hostels we stray to have water filtration systems, and if you keep your eyes out, you can usually find clean water that doesn’t come in a plastic bottle.
4. Just When You Think You Couldn’t Be Any More Prepared…
BYO cutlery – a bamboo or steel set of cutlery will quickly become the MVP in your backpack. Whether you’re buying a salad from the supermarket on your way to the beach, or munching on leftover pasta on the bus, having your own fork is not only sustainable, it’s super convenient!
5. Straws Suck!
Say no to straws (and any other plastic you can think of). An icy margarita after a long day of travel is almost essential in the tropics of Australia and Asia, but a straw in the ocean is not.
6. Be (Super) Sun Smart
New research is showing that most sunscreens are incredibly harmful to coral reefs. Choose natural sunscreens (the best ones are those that you can understand all the ingredients), cover up, and utilise shade. Wide brim hats and Hawaiian shirts are totally in right now!
7. Go Paperless When You Can
Most of the time you can scan a barcode on your phone or use an app where you would have once needed a printed copy. When you travel with Stray, our buses are paper free! We use our Stray Mate app for everything – the power is yours.
8. Learn the Recycling and Waste System of Your Destination.
If you’re educated on what can and can’t be recycled, and what to do with your food waste, you can sleep easy knowing that things are going where they should. If you don’t know, ask! 10 extra points if you help someone else figure out which bin to put their trash in.
9. Don’t Stray From the Path
We’re all for getting off the metaphorical beaten track, but when you’re hiking and exploring in nature, it is important to stick to trails. In hiking meccas like New Zealand, getting lost is a serious risk, and you also risk damaging delicate eco-systems, and transferring disease like Kauri Dieback.
10. Take 3 For The Sea
We all know that we should take only photographs, and leave only footprints, but you can step this game up and take 3 for the sea. Dedicate 3 minutes of your beach time to picking up trash, and see how much you can collect. This can be a highly competitive, high energy game amongst friends… you could even come up with a prize for the winner.
11. Be Energy Smart
Shorter showers, turning lights off when you leave the room, and not leaving the heater/AC running when you’re not using it are all easy ways to be environmentally considerate.
12. Take Away Tips
This one is actually a life hack AND a great way to reduce your food waste. When ordering food from a cafe or restaurant to take away, bring your own container and have them fill it up – it will definitely be more sturdy and reliable than the flimsy plastic or paper they’d give you. If you’re eating in, but can’t quite finish the other half of your sandwich, whip that container out and pop it in there for later. Voila! Two meals for the price of one!
13. Sustainable Toiletries
When you’re overseas, you can never find a shampoo or body wash as good as your favourite from home, so why not bring it with you! Grab some refillable containers and bring that little piece of home with you. Better yet, lets go to the bar! The shampoo bar that is. You can now buy literally every body care product in a bar, from fake tan to shampoo. We love Ethique, a New Zealand brand that has prevented over 1 million plastic bottles from going to landfill!
14. Be a Traveller, Not a Tourist
Embracing local food, culture and lifestyle will automatically reduce your impact. Whether it is spending time with a family in a homestay in Asia, or learning about pest control in New Zealand, you can easily make sustainability part of your adventure. In fact, it is often these parts that are the best bit.
Wherever you go, and whatever you do, keep that little sustainability angel on your shoulder. In most cases, sustainability is a matter of following your instincts. On the Stray bus, our Driver Guides are eco-champions, and can help you to make sustainable choices on the road. What are your top tips for being environmentally friendly while travelling?