Travelling is one of the most valuable things a human can do, in this humble human’s opinion. You get to see a shitload of stunning vistas, bustling cities full of people with stories to tell you (and then tell you again when they’ve had a few with a few colourful inclusions), and ultimately learn a lot about your country and its place in the world.
One of the big things you’ll learn is that the world is slowly going to shit, and that’s on us. Yep, not to point fingers at anyone, but the human race is obvs fairly responsible for the fact that our world is slowly decaying and climate change is heating things up.
So it’s important that when you do travel, you’ve gotta try and reduce that footprint of yours as much as possible to refrain from contributing to the hellfire. It’s not much to ask TBH – here are a few easy ways to be a sustainable individual even just at your accommodation.
1. Bring your basics with you
This works in two ways – not only should you bring with you all the basic shit that you’ve got at home (your own toothpaste etc.), but also bring with you the basic habits that you have when you’re at home.
Just coz you’re not paying the bill for it doesn’t mean you should leave all the lights and televisions on when you’re not at your accommodation, and just because someone else is doing your laundry doesn’t mean you should get your towel washed on a daily basis (which you absolutely don’t do at home, don’t lie to yourself).
It’s just a question of being a bit more conscious with your decisions and how you behave, whether you’re on the other side of the globe or just a couple of hours down from your digs.
2. Watch your water wastage
One of the easiest traps to fall into while travelling is wasting your water. Now, sure, in some countries you’re definitely better off buying your water sealed and bottled (unless you feel like puking your guts up all vacation, no thank you), but if you’re travelling domestically then you have no excuse.
Take a reusable water bottle (and a keep cup too, if you’re a coffee drinker) so that you can re-fill it whenever you need to and reduce your plastic waste. A ton of the YHA Australia sites are totally Bottled Water-free, so that’ll help you stay on track, coz travelling, hiking and trying spicy foods can up your thirst levels (as can spicy locals, just sayin’).
And when you’re washing at the end of the day, go for a shower over a bath so that you use less water. You don’t need a long one – and if you’re lucky, one of those locals could even join you and reduce water wastage even further.
3. Research your digs right
The big thing you should do is make sure you know that the place you’ve chosen to rest your weary head is actually going to take steps to be sustainable as well. Although your own personal efforts are important, it’s even more important that you support companies and businesses that have a sustainable focus.
Opting for a hostel over a hotel can be a step in the right direction, as you’ll likely find that there’s less electricity and water wastage. Plus the communal nature of a hostel automatically lends itself to a more sustainable imprint – especially when you consider that there’s so many in central locations that don’t need your own transport too.
Take YHA Australia – they’re committing to sustainability in a tangible way, instituting recycling programs and introducing power saving initiatives like timers and motion sensors.
And if you’re feeling particularly generous to this sexy lil’ planet of ours, remember that YHA’s Sustainable Hotels Fund offers guests the option of chucking in an extra $1 donation to their booking to go towards initiating even more sustainability practices.
Given that YHA are already WAY more affordable than other accommodation options, it just makes sense. It also serves as a friendly reminder that just because somewhere costs more, doesn’t mean that they’re more sustainable – and in fact, that can often be the exact opposite.
You don’t wanna end up chucking your money away on somewhere that isn’t good for the planet, ya know?
So really it shouldn’t be seen as that much of a chore to be less of a douchebag when it comes to your travelling. Just remember that even if you feel like your imprint on the Earth isn’t all that impactful, if everyone thinks that then nothing will ever change.
Get on board with sustainability ASAP and enjoy your hols with the added bonus of feeling good about doing the right thing for the planet.Image: Instagram / @anselelgort