Responsible traveling: 10 eco-friendly tips – part 1

According to current statistics, a rising number of vacationers aim to “travel sustainable.” In fact, only few realize their green plans. Often information is poor on what green travel is: What exactly is “sustainable,” “responsible,” or “socially and environmentally friendly” travel? Hence, we point out 10 simple steps on how to travel greener. Part one is about the first five tips.

Koffer packen
Sometimes less is more, especially when packing your suitcase. © Adobe Stock

1. I pack my bag…

Traveling sustainably begins with packing: you not only find a variety of labels that produce eco-friendly and recycled suitcases and bags, but also a great choice of green products to pack your suitcase with. How about flip flops made of natural rubber, wooden sunglasses, or swimwear from recycled materials that were produced under fair conditions? You can find many alternatives to traditional products online. Yet, never forget: It’s most sustainable if new pieces aren’t produced at all. So, only buy things you really need. (For more on attire and sustainability, read here and here).

Handmade soap and shampoo bars
Handmade natural soap and shampoo bars are a eco-friendly and practical alternative when traveling (and in daily life). © Adobe Stock

2. …and take with me

Have a closer look packing your toiletry kit: are your products free of micro plastics? Is the packaging biodegradable? Meanwhile, plastic-free cotton buds are popular, and reusable organic cotton or bamboo pads easily replace single-use cotton pads (read more about a plastic-free bathroom here). Most of our partner hotels provide sustainable care products that are either refillable, or packed in biodegradable packaging. A positive side effect: Leaving your shampoo and care products at home will lighten your luggage. If you prefer using your own care products, we recommend firm shampoo for traveling. Or you make the cosmetic products yourself and know exactly what’s inside! The HUBERTUS Alpin Lodge & Spa offers a workshop for natural cosmetics once a week – of course bottled in glass jars!

Reef friendly sunscreen
Reef friendly sunscreen at the Tongsai Bay on Koh Samui © Tongsai Bay

3. Talking about care products: Sun protection

Some time ago, we informed you about the problems conventional sunscreens cause: the chemical substances promote the dying of corals – even if the sunscreen is waterproof. Organic sunscreen, on the contrary, contains natural ingredients and protects you from sunlight using mineral filters that are neither harmful to humans nor to nature. The only drawback: white residues might be on your skin – but you probably accept this to preserve the colorful coral reefs, don’t you? For this reason, the Tongsai Bay and the Gili Lankanfushi also offer ‘coral-friendly’ sunscreen at the resort.

Traveling by train is more eco-friendly
Traveling by train is more eco-friendly © Adobe Stock

4. Your arrival

Probably everyone has heard about it: Flying is bad for the environment. Clearly, it’s not always easy to avoid long-distance flights, but if you go to a closer destination, traveling by train is definitely a better choice and saves a lot of CO2. In case you cannot avoid flying, climate protection projects, such as atmosfair, help you compensate the emissions you caused. In many regions, the public transportation and bike rental offers are well established, and in some mountain regions, coaches take you to central starting points for hikes. As you see, your own car is often superfluous. Some hotels also support arriving by train and offer shuttle services such as the Leitlhof in South Tyrol and the eco-village Sagna Rotonda in Piedmont. And in the age of digitization, you don’t need to print your ticket, but use the electronic one.

Serving lunch at the school close to Zeavola Resort
The Zeavola Resort on Koh Phi Phi supports a local Moken-School and serves lunch every Friday. © Zeavola Resort

5. Choose your accommodation

The accommodation is an important aspect of an environmentally and socially acceptable holiday. Many accommodations, such as the Green Pearls® partners, are already engaging in different ways for more sustainability. Some are putting an emphasis on reducing their ecological footprint; others focus more on protecting the environment and animals, or on social projects. By choosing a sustainable hotel, you simply do good – without renouncing anything!

 

This way to part 2 🙂

 

Cover picture: Kandel in the Black Forest, Germany © Hanna Bossmann