Slow travel? 5 simple tips to travel more sustainable

With these 5 simple tips you will have a big impact on sustainability whilst practicig slow travel!

Slow travel - 5 simple tips to travel more sustainable

What actually is slow travel and how does it contribute to sustainability?

This movement originates from the slow food movement back in the 80’s which started off in Italy. It follows the principal of connecting with people and to ‘stop to smell the roses’ so to speak. Think of your 2 week holiday you want to spend in Europe. Rather than trying to visit 4 cities over that period of time, simply pick one destination and soak up that single destination for the entire 2 weeks. So much time is lost in transit. Instead of spending half of the day trying to get to the next destination, slow travel promotes you to get a full night’s rest, sit down and enjoy a coffee at the local cafe instead of rushing to the airport. In addition you get more chance to explore the not so obvious gems of the neighborhood by foot. Dave and I both have traveled around the world for 5 to 10 years now. Some trips we were in the fast lane for sure, especially in our early twenties! However the more we have traveled, the more we realize how important it is to slow down, give yourself time to experience the surroundings properly and get a chance to connect to people and make new friendships. Not only has it the advantage of CONNECTING with people, but also that you are being more considerate of your actions and therefore traveling a little more sustainable.

With these 5 small changes you will have a big impact!

  1. Think reusable

  2. Shop local

  3. Eliminate preventable waste

  4. Use public transport

  5. Only buy what you need


THINK REUSABLE

The first thing that comes to our mind is water bottles! It is such a simple thing to avoid plastic bottles. When you’re packing your suitcase, be sure to pack your own reusable water bottle. They don’t take up much room so this is an easy one. It is also a great reminder to stay hydrated and greatly reduces your use of plastic throughout your trip! The second thing that comes to our minds is plastic bags. Especially if you are planning to travel to a 3rd world country like Egypt make sure to bring reusable bags! They are wonderful for shopping in local markets and can double as a beach bag. This actually illuminates again the benefit of slow travelling. To find out about the best beaches and local markets you’re best off to connect with the locals and get them to share their experience and knowledge with you. Also, mostly we aren’t aware of the waste management + recycling process in other countries. Rather than relying on them to recycle, simply reduce your impact and waste by USING LESS.


SHOP LOCAL

This is pretty much a no brainer. Buy LOCAL food and goods from local shops (not big corp). Processing, packaging and shipping goods is straight up wasteful and unhealthy when it comes to food. One of the easiest ways to reduce your waste is to shop local. Do your weekly food shop at the local markets so you’re literally purchasing from the hands of someone who grew it or goods that are made right in that location. A lot of people get caught up in the romantic ideas of fresh food stands on the side of the road whilst travelling. Especially in Asia where it is known for it’s fresh food culture, but sadly 80% of the food is shipped in and is mainly packaged foods. When traveling, buy from local farmers, artists and craftsmen. Shop at local farmer’s markets and ask them about their growing process (if they can speak your language). Shop at health food stores that stock local farmers produce and products.

Ashraf - local egyptian in Hurghada

 

ELIMINATE PREVENTABLE WASTE

Stop using single-use plastic + styrofoam! It seems daunting at first but with a few easy swaps, you can significantly reduce your waste in this department. It is super simple, the trick is only to be mindful of your choices throughout the day.

    • Refuse plastic every time it’s offered – politely decline the offer of retail stores to hand you plastic bags and use your reusable one instead.

    • Bring your own snacks to prevent buying single packaged food items. For example, buy a big bag of nuts and take a daily ratio with you.

    • Sit down for a coffee and avoid using wasteful to-go cups. Connect with the coffees shop owner, enjoy the view and practice slow travel.

    • Take your reusable water bottle with you everywhere you go. Throughout the day you most likely will find a water fountain to fill up your bottle, or kindly ask the waiter when you are stopping in for a coffee.

    • Stop using plastic straws and tell the waiter you don’t need one. If you prefer to drink your cocktail out of a straw, simply purchase a reusable one. There are plenty of nice bamboo or glass straws out there these days.

    • Use your reusable cotton bags for your grocery shopping.

 

It’s not hard to do stick to these actions, simply be conscious throughout your day.

 

USE PUBLIC TRANSPORT

This will not only save you a little bit of money it will also give you an authentic experience of the place and how it feels like to live like a local. Get familiar with your surroundings. It is so simple these days to get around with share ride apps like Uber or catch taxis however this convenience adds to more traffic and pollution. Alternatively you can grab your spouse and use a more traditional way of transport during your visit to any particular country. It is not only romantic, but also you see and experience more of your surroundings. You will smell the flowers during summer or roasted nuts during winter time, hear noises and catch children playing. All the little things that are missed on a bus or in a car.

local transport in Vietnam

ONLY BUY WHAT YOU NEED  

The simplest thing to live more sustainable is to buy less. The western world is the largest consumer society and we often purchase things we don’t really need. It can be something small as buying a souvenir from the local merchant along the streets. Even if you want to support the locals by buying their products, just ask yourself if you actually need it and if you like it! If you would answer that with a no, think of other ways to support the local community. The same goes for food. Food wastage is a problem in the west, therefore be conscious of your choices. Perhaps you can buy smaller portions, this also goes hand in hand with the slow travel movement. Getting out of restaurant chains and more often to the markets and street vendors allows you get to know the people and maybe build a relationship.

 

What are your thoughts on slow travel and sustainability? With these 5 simple tips  you can reduce your waste and make an impact. These are all pretty simple and actionable, don’t you think?

The best way to predict the future is to create it.

We would love to hear your thoughts on the topics discussed above and see you implementing these ideas during your travels! Be sure to post to your Instagram story #slowtravel (or anywhere on social) and tag us @justgo.life so we can see and cheer you on in your efforts!

You are amazing for caring about our earth and doing something to preserve it. We can all start to effect a positive change today!

Please feel free to share the love.


Before I go, I want to invite you to join our online community. By signing up (it’s free), you’ll get access to our Digital Resource Library with free downloads, like travel cheatsheets, e-books, and more.

Click the button below to sign up.