There are plenty of ways to be eco-friendly on the road — and you can even start well before you go, as we discussed in a previous article. And it’s even easier once you’re in your destination!

1. Get around the eco way

Make more of the city – the most eco-friendly way to get around is to use public transport. It’s also a great way to strike up a conversation with the locals and glean handy insider travel tips. Travel under your own steam – check out the cycle routes and hire a bike – ideal for anyone visiting Cape Town.

Public transport is better for the environment.

2. Buy locally

Whenever possible, buy locally produced products. This can be food from a street stall or market, or a souvenir made by a local craftsman. In addition to being the eco-friendly option, locally grown food will probably be cheaper and tastier than imported options.

3. Be culture aware

After you arrive in your destination, take a look around and gauge the local dress code. Then dress dependent on the culture – sometimes just covering your shoulders can make a big difference. It’s a good idea to always have a couple of pairs of trousers and a few favourite tees available for more-conservative areas, and a long skirt can be a good option for women. If you don’t have one before you go, and you’re planning on staying for a while, buy one after you arrive — you’ll look just that little bit more local!

go pro - best camera for travel photography
Ask before you take photos of people. Photos of landscapes are usually fine!

4. Ask before you get snap happy

Be respectful as not everyone you meet will be keen on getting behind the lens.

5. Go with a fan

It’s your first break from camping and you’re going to live it up at the hostel – opt for a fan room, and dodge the air-con to show that your principles come before your creature comforts.

6. Consider a tour

Where backpackers are concerned an urban adventure is sure to be a mere pit stop, but you can still hop on a short break with a tour operator leaving you with free time to sample the city and organised visits to more off the beaten track locations with an ethical twist i.e. the Cape’s Townships.

7. Buy a green map

This will enable you to lessen your impact on the environment. From geo to eco these maps act as a guide to picking pursuits that go easy on the environment.

E-readers are a great option for travel.
E-readers are a great option for travel.

8. Read electronically

Not only will you reduce the amount of weight in your backpack, but e-books and e-guides are much more eco-friendly than their paper counterparts. Also, you can easily buy these online while you’re travelling, so if you change your plans you can get a new one without having to find a bookshop.

9. Fill and refill those reusable containers

Water bottles are big culprits when it comes to waste, but bring a Life Straw and you can fill the same bottle up anywhere – even in the wild!

10. And finally, leave no trace

When you travel, the only thing you should be leaving behind are your footprints and your new friends. What you get back in return for not leaving a trail of trash will be a clear conscience and memories that will last a lifetime.

Your thoughts on "Ten ways to be eco-friendly on the road"

  • How is an electronic book more eco friendly what with all the precious metals used etc.? And 3, 4 and since are nothing to do with being eco...?!

    on June 5, 2013 at 1:14 pm Reply
    • There is always this mix up between Ecology and Environment. The environment is but a small part of ecology. Culture is included in ecology. When we dress local we are ecologically sensitive, we buy local-it contributes to local economies and so on. When we travel, it is always environment un friendly due to emissions and garbage generated etc. So travelling by mass transport is a step aimed at reducing that impact. Agree with Jon about Pt 7 & 8. Talking/interacting to/with the locals is a much better idea. Promoting a low impact lifestyle is a better bet than seeking deals on anything that pushes our footprint.

      on June 5, 2013 at 9:36 pm Reply

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