The saying “Take only photos, leave only footprints” has been around for well over 20 years and must be well known now to every expat traveller. An updated version of that saying would likely stick “…but not carbon ones” to the end. Here are 10 tips to help keep your travelling carbon footprint to a minimum:
1. Use public transport or bike rentals rather than hiring a car. But…
2. If you do hire a car, take as many passengers as possible, make sure the tyres are properly inflated, the oil level is fine and drive as smoothly as possible to ensure you get the most efficient fuel useage.
3. Volunteer to help at a local charity to offset the carbon miles you had to rack up on your journey overseas. Try to get in touch directly with a charity, if possible, rather than paying for an intermediary to organise it. (See resources below.)
4. Use biodegradable soap and cleaning products for your clothes, body and cooking utensils… especially when you are camping off-grid.
5. Pack a reusable shopping bag instead of having to use plastic bags…many developing countries don’t have recycling facilities, so don’t add to their plastic mountain (especially if you wouldn’t do it at home).
6. Use rechargeable gadgets wherever possible to avoid using batteries. If you have to use batteries take rechargeable nickel metal hydride ones and a charger.
7. If you plan to visit or volunteer at a charity, make it really worth the carbon miles and take some things that they need like pens, exercise books, soap…read more about charities and what they need in Stuff Your Rucksack.
8. Eat local food and drink local beer, wine, fizzy drinks…importing overseas drinks in heavy glass bottles or carbon rich plastic will put a huge dent in your carbon footprint.
9. The less you pack, the lighter your bag will be and the less fuel you’ll use…A difficult one sometimes when you see others staggering on with far too much luggage, but remind yourself that every change starts with just one person.
10. Even when you’re backpacking and have no fixed abode, you can continue to recycle just as you do at home. Granted some cities and even whole countries won’t have recycle centres, but many do. Search ‘recycling’ at Angloinfo How-To or do a Google search of “recycling centre in [city name]“.
Angloinfo World Blog Resources:
- If you’re scratching your head over how to choose a sustainable, eco-friendly family holiday that every member of the group will enjoy, the four resources in ‘Tips for choosing an eco-friendly family holiday‘ will help you make a choice.
- ‘Where to volunteer this festive season‘: it’s not the festive season any more, but this blog provides a bunch of really good resources if you’re looking for a place to volunteer on an overseas eco project.