Travel consciously with these sustainable tips

·Lifestyle Editor
·5 min read
Travelling. PHOTO: Getty
Travelling. PHOTO: Getty

Hooray, leisure travel is possible again! Since the repeated failed travel bubble attempts, Singapore residents can now (finally) travel to 11 countries under the Vaccinated Travel Lane (VTL) and more are in the works. If this is not good news, I don’t know what is for travel-starved locals.

If there is a poll on which country is the most deprived when it comes to travel, who do you think will emerge the winner? No prizes for guessing correctly. Singapore shares the dubious honour with Italy as the "most vacation-deprived nation" in an Expedia global survey early this year. A total of 71 per cent of respondents in both countries say that they were either "very" or "somewhat" deprived of a vacation.

So when the Singapore Airlines website crashed upon release of the newly-established VTL on 9 October, it comes as no surprise. Well, for almost two years, the furthest Singapore residents could venture to were trips to Sentosa and Pulau Ubin. 

But before you break out your down jackets, knee-high boots, woollen hats and gloves for a Christmas getaway, take a moment to consider how you can do things differently and start to travel more sustainably. 

Wish to find out how you can travel more responsibly? I will share how you can incorporate more environmentally-friendly practices in your travels. Here's something to help you out in your travel research. Just pick one or two ideas for your upcoming trip. Remember, no action is too small. 

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Sunrise at the colourful nautical waterfront of Nyhavn Canal (New Harbour), an entertainment and tourist district of Copenhagen, Denmark at dawn decorated with Christmas lights. PHOTO: GETTY
Sunrise at the colourful nautical waterfront of Nyhavn Canal (New Harbour), an entertainment and tourist district of Copenhagen, Denmark at dawn decorated with Christmas lights. PHOTO: GETTY

Pack light

Has it ever occurred to you that extra weight burns more fuel? Try a capsule wardrobe to prevent overpacking. Avoid single-use items and bring along reusable ones like reusable straws and water bottles. Every bit counts.

Backpacks and compression cubes

Get good quality products such as Eagle Creek, which offers a lifetime warranty. Lifetime warranty? That's some serious money we are saving. And why not, especially when it helps save the environment as well? We love these Eagle Creek compression cubes, which makes packing a cinch.

Embrace slow travel and get fitter

Instead of a whirlwind trip around Europe, why not practice slow travel? Travelling this way allows you to embrace local cultures and get acquainted with the locals. Use local public transport whenever you can.

Better yet, walk everywhere! While you rack up your step count, make use of these fitness trackers that not only look good but help monitor your health and sleep too. Try the new Apple Watch Series 7 and the Fitbit Charge 5.

Reduce carbon emissions by supporting local

i. Buy local products.

ii. Eat at local restaurants instead of patronising international chains.

You get the idea. The less transportation required for the products or services you are consuming, the less impact it has on the environment.

Say no to freebies

Ever got stuck with freebies you do not even want? Start by rejecting airlines giveaways or miniature-sized items that you do not need.

Pick up trash

Many engage in workouts even while we travel. For example, try plogging, the activity of picking up trash while jogging. You can do the same when you go hiking or if you are an avid beachgoer.

Pack an eco-kit and buy only long-lasting items

Durable products do not go to landfills after a short period of use. Try these:

i. Stasher bags are a must for your travels. You can pack your favourite snacks for your road trip and use them as a waterproof container for your cables. They are so versatile that you can put them in the freezer and dunk your leftovers in the stasher bags in boiling water the next day!

ii. Beeswax wraps are little pieces of reusable wraps to replace cling wraps and aluminium foil. They keep your sandwiches, fruits and nuts, fresh while on the go.

iii. A reusable stainless steel cutlery set is a mainstay in any travel day pack. Whether at a food hall or a farmers' market overseas, use your own cutlery and say no to single-use plastics.

iv. Many shops overseas charge extra for the use of plastic bags. Reusable lightweight tote bags are a must while travelling. 

Panorama of Dresden Christmas market in the snow. PHOTO: Getty
Panorama of Dresden Christmas market in the snow. PHOTO: Getty

BYOC

Many cafes or local eateries offer discounts if you bring your own bottle or cup. These sturdy space-saving products are worth stocking up before your trip:

i. Collapsible Water bottle

ii. Stojo

Eco-friendly toiletries

Say no to the hotel’s miniature-sized toiletries, where half-used plastic bottles are discarded every day. Did you know that microbeads and sulphate shampoos are harmful to the environment? Instead, try to bring your eco-friendly toiletries. We recommend:

i. Dr Bronner – a multipurpose liquid that can be used for your teeth, face, hair and yes, even your laundry!

ii. LastSwab ear helps save the ocean and sea creatures that we dearly love.

iii. LastTissue lets you stay on top of your personal hygiene. 

iv. Cotton rounds for your makeup needs.

Go digital

Love to read on the go while waiting for the next transit? Reduce weight and precious luggage space by going digital. We would love to have waterproof e-readers like the Kindle or Kobo while lounging by the beach or pool.

Rain-proof your travel plans

Wet feet, no thanks! These Timberland boots and Dr Martens not only make for great hiking companions but are totally waterproof and perfect for the winter or rainy seasons. Another big plus? These boots last forever!

Carbon offset

Want to take a step further when it comes to funding sustainability projects such as rainforest conservation worldwide? Book your flights through green sites that offer carbon offsets and support conservation efforts such as Travelocity.

With a little more mindfulness and conscious living, we can help reduce our carbon footprint. Happy sustainable travels!

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