How to travel light and protect the environment
Warmer and drier
When I was growing up in seventies South Africa, it was a time of drought. To conserve water, we were encouraged to ‘Save water, bath with a friend’, or ‘Save water, drink wine’. These humorous slogans stuck in my memory; I became aware of the need to protect Planet Earth.
Living in Australia - the world’s driest continent - where large parts of the land are drought stricken, we live daily with this need. When the rains do come, every drop is precious and appreciated.
I’m not a scientist or environmentalist, but clearly we all should to do something to protect our natural resources. As a responsible citizen, I’m conscious of this, particularly when I travel. How to minimise our carbon footprint? How to respect what resources we have and to nurture them for the future?
I’m aware that travel is a luxury not experienced by everyone in the world. But for those of us who are able to explore the world, I think we need to look after it.
These are a few tips I’ve learnt from my own travels.
Use rollable water bottles
How often have you carried your water bottle through customs only to be told you have to drink all the water - a bit challenging when going through the x-ray machines - or ditch the bottle. It gets worse: once you’re in the departure lounge, your water choices are: buy expensive bottled water or do without.
I solved the water problem with a rollable water bottle. This small, flexible bottle clips onto my carry on or handbag. It is the right size for one person - and you can use and re-use the bottle for the duration of your trip. Just fill it up in the morning and clip it onto your bag.
My rollable water bottle lasted two weeks before I threw it away due to a leak. I didn’t check at the time, but I hope the plastic is bio-degradable.
Travel by train
Did you know: trains use 30 per cent less energy per passenger mile than cars, and 20 per cent less than planes? This energy efficiency makes train travel a good eco-friendly option, particularly in Europe and other countries like Japan with their excellent sleek trains.
Trains are comfortable, fast, travel on a dedicated track and best of all, you can stretch your legs. Enjoy a meal, or a drink, charge up your phone and read a good book. All the while looking out of the window at the passing world.
Switch off appliances
I bet you switch off all your appliances when you leave home, so do it on holiday as well. It’s worth it:
‘When you opt to cut back on energy use, you also help conserve limited natural resources that would otherwise be used to power the power plants. Less demand for energy creates less demand for harvesting fossil fuels. Turning off the lights at night or washing clothes in cold water can save trees, coal, natural gas and more. From an economic standpoint, it’s critical to conserve our finite resources. As fossil fuels become increasingly scarce, they will become extremely expensive.’ https://www.saveonenergy.com
It’s likely you’re going to board a jet plane to get to most destinations - certainly travelling from Australia that’s the best and quickest way. What effect does plane travel have on the environment? Did you know that a plane expends most of it’s fuel when it takes off? Imagine if you travelled on that plane for a few lift-offs . . . Conserve energy by flying with fewer stops.
What would happen if everyone on a big plane travelled with carry on luggage only? That would decrease the weight of the Airbus A380 by more than two tons (550 people X 23 kilograms). By reducing the load, you’d hope that the plane needs less fuel to get into the sky. Sounds like a good argument for more light travel with carry on only.
About the author
I’m Slobodanka Graham, digital publisher, content entrepreneur and environmentally aware extreme light traveller.
For the sake of the land, conserve water.