How to be a Conscious Traveller

We are a fortunate generation – we live in a globalized world where once far-away destinations are now a hop-skip-and-jump away. With a plane ride, we can jet off to Vietnam, explore the Amazon, or find ourselves on a safari at the very tip of Africa. How can we become conscious travellers?

More people are travelling now than ever before, and with an ever-multiplying population, it means millions are taking to adventuring. Our Millennial Generation is expected to make 320 million international trips each year by 2020, says David Chapman, director general World Travel Market (WTM). With these staggering numbers, it is important to think about the pressure this travel puts on the planet.

Green your transport

The first step of conscious travelling is to plan your trip and book your transport. Are you going by plane, boat, or car? Take a minute to consider the impact your expedition may have on carbon emissions. In terms of a long distance trip, a plane has a smaller footprint than a car, according to National Geographic Green Guide. Once you arrive in your country of choice, try to make use of public transport as much as possible. Climb onto trains or buses to cut carbon emissions. If you are travelling across the country and need to use a car, ensure that it is fuel efficient and plan the most economical route.

Map your route out before and plan the most fuel-efficient itinerary. Credit: Shift One.

Stay at sustainable accommodation

There are many hotels, guesthouses, and lodges that are becoming more conscious by incorporating sustainable practices. Look for places that walk the walk. Sa-Venues has a list of environmentally responsible accommodations around the Cape Town and the Western Cape. If you cannot check into such accommodation, there are several hacks to reduce your footprint while staying at another establishment:

  • Save water and turn off the taps
  • Reuse towels and bedsheets
  • Open windows for fresh air instead of using air conditioner
  • Huddle up with extra blankets when it’s hot instead of using a heater
  • Turn off your lights when you’re not in your room
  • Make use of biodegradable products that are friendly to your body and to nature

Carry a reusable water bottle

A glass water bottle is ideal as a water carrier. Not only does it give water a more pure taste, but it is recyclable! Glass is also more healthy to use as there is no chemical contamination that enters the water, as is what happens with plastic bottles.  It is more eco-friendly and money savvy to refill a glass bottle instead of constantly buying plastic bottled water and throwing away the container after. Cape Town has good quality tap water that is safe to drink. Remember: reduce, reuse, recycle.

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Local Ndebele bead art in Cape Town. Credit: Pixabay.

Support the locals

When you are travelling to a new destination and purchasing products, remember to think local. Buying from local vendors in Cape Town helps to improve the local economy that thrives in the tourism industry. Opt for a local craftwork as a gift instead of a fridge magnet that says “I Love Cape Town”. Also, think of going local and organic when sourcing food. Try a local food market and see what delicious, homegrown options they have.

Remember when travelling to leave only footprints behind.

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