I was recently doing a few random Google searches lately and decided to type “eco friendly holiday bargains” into the search bar. I was pretty disgusted to see that they only options that came up on the first two pages were heavily sponsored ads for luxurious ‘eco-hotels’ in the Bahamas and Mexican coast. These types of mega resorts are often heavily polluting, so it is nice to see that there are some out there that are trying to have a lower impact on the earth, but I was disappointed. Where are the articles written by people like me and my community- health conscious vegans who enjoy travel on a shoestring. I decided that I needed to fill the gap!
Here are my best tips for anyone who wants to not only travel on a budget but also minimize their impact on the planet.
Couchsurf or stay in small, family run hotels
Hotels can be lovely, but they are often a major culprit when it comes to pollution, spewing countless litres of detergents and cleaners into the water supply every day. I much prefer to stay in smaller, more affordable hotels and even with welcoming couchsurfing hosts for free whenever possible. This is far easier on the environment and much better for your wallet!
· Ride a bicycle – Ok, ok – I am biased! I love to ride my bicycle and just completed my first 1000km. But there is no denying that riding a bicycle is far better for the environment than other methods of transportation. While it is not always possible to avoid airplanes or big ferry boats, riding a bicycle will help your health, your pocketbook and the planet.
Eat fresh and local
Whenever possible, eschew the Western delights that you see dangled in front of you when in touristy cities, and try to avoid instant noodles, soft drinks and other goods packed in plastic. Instead, eat fresh and local – this is cheaper, healthier and better for the planet.
Generate less garbage
Try to bring your own plate, cup and cutlery with you on your travels, and have vendors and fast food restaurants place their food on your reusable dishes rather than hand you loads of plastic and other disposable rubbish that will end up being burned or end up in the landfill.
Take the train
Whenever possible, take a train rather than a plane or a bus for long distance travel Trains produce less pollution and use less fuel, and electric trains and obviously the best!
Turn off the lights
This might be an obvious one, but we don’t always realise that in the developing world electricity is a lot more polluting and costly. By turning off the lights you will be saving money for your host and helping to protect the fragile local environment.
As always, the key to being a savvy budget traveller is to pay attention to your finances at all times – I recently checked my credit score on Experian CreditExpert in order to make sure everything is in order and that I will have no problems when I return home to Canada. Good credit is good for everyone! Go for it.
Any other suggestions you’d like to add to my list of tips for budget conscious eco travellers? Please add them to the comment section below.