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6 tips to help you travel more sustainably


Here at Thelma & Louise Club we believe that little changes in our daily lives can have a big impact on the environment, to others' attitudes to sustainable living, and to our beautiful world. We want our legacy to be a still-wonderful world for the next generation of travellers to explore and find joy in.

Image by Caspar Diederik on flickr

We've already bought reusable coffee cups and shopping bags, planted our own veggies and herbs, and we're resisting the throw-away culture by buying less and buying better – but we want to do more.
Travel is a big part of all our lives, but it's not exactly good for the environment. Aeroplanes, plastic water bottles, restaurant meal leftovers – these aren't exactly badges of a sustainable lifestyle. But we firmly believe it doesn't have to be this way. Short of never leaving the house, there are steps we can take to leave only footprints when we travel.
A few months ago we asked for your tips for travelling more sustainably, in the hope that together we might help prompt more people to start doing their bit. Here are your suggestions.
  1. ActiveGal: “I try to live sustainably and most recently I've taken to traveling with my steripen to sterilize tap water.  I initially bought it to purify the lake and river waters of Canada when backcountry camping. I now bring it with me traveling and it has served me well on a two month wander through Tanzania, Uganda and Rwanda as well as a recent month long journey drinking India's tap water.  They work and save much plastic.”
  2. LazyL: “I travel with an empty water bottle and just refill it as I go along. Obviously, in places where the water might be questionable, a small bottle of iodine pills or carrying a filtering water bottle are a good idea! To boot, eons ago I got a water bottle "leash" from Disneyland, so I'm happy to bring that along too so "carrying" means slipping it over my shoulder and leaving my hands free.”
  3. Molly2kit: “I always bring a reusable cloth shopping bag with me and use it for any purchases I make while out for the day. Saves a few plastic bags.”
  4. Emma_Travel: “I've recently switched from shampoo, conditioner and shower gels in plastic bottles to getting them all in bar form. Lush make some good ones and they sell handy travel cases for them too. The conditioner I've tried isn't quite right for me (I need to experiment some more) but the shampoo and shower cleanser are lovely - they smell gorgeous and lather up beautifully. (Not sure if Lush is UK/Europe only, but figure there must be equivalents around the world...)”
  5. LazyL: “I travel with one soap: a 2-ounce refillable bottle of Dr Bronner's liquid natural (love the Lavender). I use it for hair, body, and clothes, and because a very little goes a long way, 2 ounces can last me almost two weeks. If you're flying, bring two 2-ounce bottles to double that time. So my only liquids are my Dr B, toothpaste, and a small refillable jar of face cream (makeup is all natural powder only).”
  6. Emma_Travel: “I just watched this video by Charles Darwin’s great-great grandson about going meat-free for just one day a week. I already eat meat less than 5 times a week, on average, but it's made me think about cutting down more, and that’s a habit that’s easy (and budget friendly) to take with me when I travel.”
Thanks for all your ideas. Please share this and help spread the word, and if you have any other ideas for making your travels more sustainable, we’d love to read them in the comments below.