Tips to Reduce Your Footprint and Have a More Eco Friendly Vacation

NatashaCategories, Destinations, Enlighten, Get Started Traveling, Recommendations0 Comments

Save the World While Traveling

I may be a bit behind, but I finally managed to watch Before The Flood. The movie produced by Leonardo Dicaprio as he explores the threats facing human kind from climate change. The movie was available for free streaming for a few weeks – but I’m in the African bush and streaming is a luxury!

You can usually find us with active voices of being more sustainable travelers. We try to maintain a small footprint when we are traveling and in just everyday life. Throughout Africa, we are either camping or highlighting the many eco-lodges around the continent. However, Leo’s movie struck a cord with me personally (and it’s not just because Titanic is my favorite movie of all time).

It has to do with what I’ve seen in life and what is left on my “bucket list.” I’ve seen hummingbirds in the Ecuadorian rainforests, followed elephants traversing the desert, dove into the wonders of the Indian Ocean, and wandered serene bamboo forests in Japan. The list could go on. Then I think about what lies in wait for our future generations. Those who may not see the snow fall peacefully in the backyard, go diving on the Great Barrier Reef or float along the Okavango Delta.

I grew up in Michigan and every year we had snow on Christmas, and winters lasted a little too long for my liking. I even had to move South to escape the cold. The past few years, though? Temperatures during the holiday season are hitting a record highs. When I was last home for Christmas the ground was not dusted in white, but instead they were dead and mushy. It seems I took the snow for granted.

It makes me sad. It makes me sad for our planet, for our future generations, and for the naysayers who claim this is all just a “hoax.” The largest change lies out of hands of the public, but there are many things that we can collectively do to be more conscious of our world when we are traveling.

How to Have a More Eco-Friendly Vacation

Turn off the lights

This is probably the most brainless thing to do. Turn off the lights when you are not using them, there’s no reason to have them on. One billion people live without electricity day to day, and that is usually what I think about when I see unneeded lights on. If you’re reading this, my guess is you are not one of those one billion people and can easily make this change to become more environmentally friendly.

Read More: {Become a More Eco-Friendly Traveler}

Vote With Your Dollars

This is quite possibly how you can make the largest difference. Whether we want to admit it or not money makes the world go round. Almost all of our most environmentally destructive actions stem from financial gains. There is a flip side here. This means that choosing where you spend your money can make a big difference in how the tourism market grows. For example choosing to stay at eco-friendly hotels or going all out and staying at eco-lodges can make a big difference. One lodge we recently visited, Wolwedans, was almost entirely self-sufficient and active in conservation. Choosing to make your holidays with eco-friendly businesses like that means more businesses will follow suit.

Read More: {Wolwedans: Waking Up in a Dream in Namibia’s Top Eco-Lodge }


Switch to solar powered

We’ve stayed in many lodges that have switched to solar power – and love it! It’s initially very expensive to set up, but the long-term cost is small. The sun rises in most places every day for no charge at all! We should make use of it. We always opt for accommodation with solar panels rather than grid powered. On a smaller scale try switching to solar powered products. We’ve been traveling with the Little Sun for six months and love it! (The also give back). We also just we bought solar powered lanterns instead of flashlights for camping and keep mentioning to each other what a smart purchase they were.

Not only were they cheaper than the battery operated lanterns, but they are more durable, and now I don’t ever have to worry about buying batteries for them again. You are my hero Mrs. Sun.


Read More: A Wild Mozambican Beach Resort: Anvil Bay Seclusion In Africa

Ditch the hair dryer

I haven’t put heat on my hair in over two years and I must say I love how healthy it feels (besides that time a crazy Serbian ruined it). Hair dryers take up a ridiculous amount of electricity and they completely dry out your hair. Consider ditching them and going all-natural. They also take up an insane amount of room in your suitcase.

Beachbums Cyprus Best GoPro Travel shots

Turn off the Taps

Turn off the water while brushing your teeth. Many people in the world don’t have the luxury of having water come out of their tap conveniently like the west does.  Making a conscious effort to conserve water can go a long way.

Holiday in Mozambique Little Girl

Decline plastic bags

Decline plastic bags while shopping. We travel with reusable bags for grocery store trips, or carry it if that is manageable. I love companies like Trader Joes whom only uses paper bags, but until this implemented across the globe keep resisting that plastic. In many countries, the baggers are encouraged to give you as many bags as you want, and I always find myself telling them I don’t need one. I may get a crazy look but I feel better knowing I saved one more bag from ending up in the ocean.

Help Educate People

Going off this, many people in the developing world aren’t aware of the effects of plastic, littering, soil degradation. Companies like LUSHdo a great job informing them. But as travelers, we can help too. Next time someone insists on giving you a plastic bag tell them that plastic doesn’t decompose. When you see someone littering inform them of the effects that has on the environment. We all are people of this earth and should work together to protect it.

Read More: Ecotourism in South Africa at Gondwana Game Reserve

Water Assessment at eco camp

Get a water bottle

We both travel with a Lifestraw Go Waterbottles as they claim to filter out 98.9% of bacteria. These waterbottles limit our plastic water bottle purchasing. This saves us money and saves the world from another wasteful piece of plastic. Unless we are in dire need of some cold water we always refill our Lifestraw right from the taps (and even rivers in some places). Haven’t gotten sick once! (Knock on wood).

LifeStraw Go

Always ask for tap water

If we are anywhere outside of the US and ask for water with our meals we are almost always given a bottle of water. This is not only wasteful but will also cost us an additional $2-$3 per meal. Always specify that you want tap water at restaurants to avoid this (it’s free!).

Pick up the trash

Pick up any trash that you see floating about. Every little bit counts and it sets an example for others.

Reuse! Make Eco Choices at the grocery store

If there is an option then try to avoid plastic at the grocery store. I usually find it easy with things like milk – where there are plastic and paper containers that the milk is filled in. Paper is degradable, plastic is not. And say NO to business that choose to individually wrap every single apple/broccoli/pepper in seran wrap. Ridiculous!

Reduce Beef Intake

According to the Worldwatch Institute, 51% of global greenhouse-gas emissions are caused by animal agriculture. The land, water, and all other variables that go into the livestock sector in the US generates as much greenhouse gas emissions as all vehicles combined. In Before the Flood, Leo states that a half pound of beef is the equivalent of 24 hours of air-con – which completely blew my mind. I’m not saying you should go completely vegetarian but giving up more beef and becoming more meat conscious will certainly help (it’s healthier too)!


Reuse your towels

Avoid unnecessary washing and reuse the towels you are given in a hotel or guesthouse (or at home!). In most hotels, this simply just means hanging up your towel so the maid knows that you will use it again and not wash it. We like to travel with the Youphoria Travel Towel, which dries quickly and folds up small when traveling.

How do you strive towards being eco-friendly when traveling?

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