Becoming A Mindful Traveller
Updated: Jan 22
It is more important than ever to be mindful while travelling. With more pressure on the planet and the growing population we need to work hard to have less of a footprint when we travel. Travel is one of the most eye-opening experiences and a way for us to connect with other cultures, admire beautiful landscapes, experience wildlife in their habitats, try new things and meet new people. Becoming mindful means thinking about the impact of the way you travel and the effect it has on the environment.
I have listed five simple ways to become a more mindful traveller....
USE LESS OR NO PLASTIC Plastic pollution is a big issue all over the world and there is plastic everywhere you look. It can be difficult to avoid while travelling but we can still try our best to use as little plastic as possible.
1) Always carry a refillable water bottle, it can vary from country/city/destination but a lot of places have water fountains to provide clean drinking water. Most airports have water stations now, just take your bottle through security empty and refill the other side.
Refill at breakfast in your hotel or if you are in a country that has clean drinking water. Ask a member of staff to refill for you when you are in a cafe or restaurant.
2) Take a reusable coffee cup. Roughly 2.5 million coffee cups are thrown away each day worldwide. Finding the best coffee in a new city is one of my favourite things to do when I travel but I always take my keep cup to avoid making that number 2.5 million plus 1. 3) Take reusable bags, tuck a couple in your backpack that you can use when buying in shops or markets to avoid using a plastic bag.
5) Take reusable tupperware and use it when eating street food or getting a takeaways. Ask staff to put the contents into your own tupperware rather than a disposable. 6) ) Say no to straws, avoid buying products that are wrapped in plastic. Be mindful when buying souvenirs, avoid getting something that is a throw away product, buy something that is going to last.
WASTE FREE TOILETRIES
Don't take anything with you from home that you are going to have to throw away. 1) Avoid baby wipes and invest in reusable face pads. You can get some great bamboo biodegradable ones that you can put in with the laundry once used a couple of times and can be used time and time again. 2) Take soap bars to avoid packaging. Shampoo, conditioner and body wash sorted. 3) Don't use the little bottled toiletries in the hotel, as tempting as it can be, chances are the hotel throws out hundreds of small plastic bottles a day, use your own soap or if the hotel provides toiletries from a refillable bottle use them. 4) Pack refillable toothpaste, bio degradable floss, razor, toothbrush and a period cup.
LEAVE NO TRACE
'Take nothing but photographs, leave nothing but footprints, keep nothing but memories.'
1) Sun cream, who would have known something that protects us could be so damaging to the environment! We all need it and it's important to cover your skin to avoid sun damage. I use sun cream almost everyday.
But did you know that when we take a swim in the ocean sun cream is causing bleaching to coral reefs and also affects marine life. Make sure you pick a 'Reef Safe' sun cream such as Green People Scent Free Sun Lotion or Thinksport Reef-Safe Sun cream. Both of which have been made purposely to be eco friendly plus provide very good protection. 2) Take your rubbish with you, don't leave it behind, even if you are on a hike and need to go to the toilet, take your tissue with you once used and dispose of it it a proper manner back at your resort.
There is a great movement called #take3forthesea. It is an easy way to do your bit for the environment. The idea is that every time you go to the beach take three bits of rubbish and dispose of it properly, even if it's not your rubbish you are saving it from getting washed into the sea.
3) Stick to paths when walking, avoid making your own paths, it is likely they have been put there for a reason, if you steer away from the track you could be causing damage to wildlife or local flora and fauna.
4) Don't pick flowers, take shells or stones. Leave theme here they belong, them shells could be homes to small creatures, and flowers homes to insects.
USE LESS RESOURCES I was in Cape Town recently and they were suffering a drought which made me really mindful when using water. Remember natural resources are precious and should be used sparingly. 1) Save water and take shorter showers, set your self a 3 minute timer and see how well you do and don't leave the tap running when you brush your teeth. 2) If you see a water leak in or around your hotel or resort report it to reception and follow up on it to make sure it gets repaired.
3) My favourite rule..... if it's yellow let it mellow, if its brown flush it down. Flushing the loo uses gallons of water and there are a lot of people on the toilet any time during the day. It might not feel like you are doing much but if more people adapted this approach imagine the amount of water that could be saved.
BUY LOCAL If you like buying souvenirs or gifts when you travel buy local, it provides income to the local community and provides jobs to local people.
1) Shop local, avoid chains and mass produced products. Buying something handmade from a local market means your helping grow the local community and not promoting mass bought souvenirs being imported in.
2) Eat vegan or plant based where you can, it takes hundreds more resources to produce meat than it does to grow plants which increases your carbon footprint. It is much more of a sustainable option to choose plants. 3) Try to avoid bargaining. It can be fun and we have all done it, but when you are buying local remember it is someones lively hood you are bargaining over and it's usually over not much at all. 20p might not mean much to you but some places in Asia that is a meal for the day. It's okay to bargain a bit if you genuinely think you are being overpriced but don't go too far.