12 ways to save the planet while traveling

Englischer Garten, Munich. By Packing my Suitcase

Traveling is amazing, it’s when we tend to leave our problems at home and worry only about having fun. But no matter where we go, as human beings we carry a certain responsibility to wherever we are, that is to help saving our planet. Even if it is with small acts, which might not seem to make a difference at first, but if everyone do the same, on the long run we will start to notice the consequences of our efforts.

I have always been worried about the environment, pollution, endangered animals, and even about throwing trash out of the car window. It makes me want to cry when I see a dead manta lying on the floor, or a pile of dead sharks being sold in an open-air market. It makes me mad to see how many people out there just don’t give a damn about the planet they live in, and how they think that this is not their responsibility. It makes me want to scream “STOP, look what you’re doing, WAKE UP”.

I don’t know if this planet can still be saved from us, but I am a positive person and I really hope it can. I believe one person can make a difference, imagine all of us. That’s why by combining my worries about the environment and my passion for traveling, I came up with a list of 12 ways to save the planet while traveling:

Use the hotel’s towel as much as possible

Remember those signs in every hotel’s bathroom which says something like “help save the planet, reuse your towel”? Do it, reuse your hotel’s towel, you don’t need a new one every day. They are not cleaned with magic, it’s with detergent, which normally aren’t eco friendly.

Don’t throw your own trash on the streets

Please don’t! In which world you live in? One that auto cleans itself? If it is so, then why isn’t this planet getting cleaner?

Saving the Planet while traveling,

If you find trash on the streets, pick it up

It was not you who put it there, but you can pick it up and put it in the right place. Make a difference.

Make sure you turn off the lights of your hotel room before you leave

It’s a small thing for you, but if everyone does it will be a huge thing for the world. The good thing is that in most hotels this works automatically when you take your key card off and leaves the room.

Don’t do elephant trekking

You have no idea what people do to these animals when they are babies, in order to get their submission. And even after the taming phase, they are often stabbed and hurt, above all, they are not treated well. Not to mention, their backs were not made to carry us, this hurts them. So before you get too excited to ride an elephant, think about the animal and not about the picture you will show to your friends when you get back home.

Saving the Planet while traveling

Don’t buy or eat anything that could have come from endangered animals

Sharks, bluefin tuna, Chinese Pufferfish; these are only some of the animals, which are considered endangered under the Red List of the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources. And guess what? They can be found in restaurants or as an ingredient of certain products.

Of course, sometimes it can be hard to know if what you are eating/buying comes from any of these animals. A good start is to ask the restaurant/market if it is environmental friendly, and the precedence of the product. Another idea is to check this out.

Don’t throw trash on the sea

Some say, “If you don’t know it, you don’t care about it”. Even if you don’t know the ocean and the underwater world, care about it. The consequences of throwing trash on the sea are disastrous. Over 1 Million seabirds are killed each year by ocean pollution, as well as hundreds of thousands of other marine animals.

Red Sea, Egypt. By Packing my Suitcase.

If you find debris on the sea or beach,

pick it up

Even if you don’t see it, you will be making a difference by taking one simple plastic bag out of the ocean. 100,000 marine animals die each year ONLY because of plastic bags, many mistake them with jellyfish – the main source of food of many marine animals, including turtles.

Also, if you find any debris on the beach or at the sea, take a picture, share it with the world, and maybe with Project Aware – a community of divers who helps cleaning up the ocean and protecting marine animals. Use this to inspire people to clean the ocean too.

Don’t print your flight ticket

Save paper! The vast majority of airports nowadays use electronic devices to read your flight ticket, so instead of printing it, download it to your phone. It’s practical, and helps saving the planet.

Don’t go to dolphinariums

Saving the Planet while traveling

Nowadays there are at least 250 marine centers in the world. Before you even think of going to one of them, keep in mind that the life span of a captive dolphin is only 5 years, while in the wild is 25. Not to mention that half of them dies in the first 90 days of capture. You didn’t know? Now you do.

Refill your water bottle

While traveling, we often carry our dear friends water bottles. When the water is over, we throw them away, and buy some more, instead, try to refill your water bottle, especially if you are traveling in countries where the tap water is drinkable. Or you can also have your own bottle to take everywhere with you, which can be used for many years. This way you save money and the planet. The less waste the better.

Report

If in your trip you see any illegal trade of animals, cruelty or exploitation, record it and report to the authorities (police, Ambassador/Consul General of the country you visited, NGOs, your tour operator, etc.). If only everyone did that!

There are many many more ways of saving the planet while traveling. If we all do our part and take action, even if it’s with small acts, the world will become a better place. Remember: this responsibility is ours.

 

What do you do to help save the planet while traveling?

 

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12 ways to save the planet while traveling, by Packing my Suitcase.

About Allane

A Brazilian living in Germany. Married to W. mommy to a baby girl and a Golden Retriever. Traveler, writer, aspiring photographer, diver, wine appreciator, Formula 1 fan, avid reader of historical and young adult fictions books. City girl, nature lover, believer of a better world, one little change at a time.

  • That’s a pretty good list! I’m always annoyed with people throwing trash on the street or the sea! I always read reports that Athens is dirty and there is trash everywhere and then I realized that this happens everywhere!! Now…a self cleaning street (and one that gets rid of rain water) wouldn’t be a bad idea…

    • Thank you Anna!!
      Sadly this happens everywhere, of course, in some places more than in others.
      I feel really sorry for that, because every day that goes by, our Planet is dying a little bit more. 🙁

  • hahahahaha same thing here Vlad!!
    In Brazil people love to throw things from the car window, I always dreamt of getting out of my car, taking their trash and throwing back inside their car (when the light is red) hahaha. Never managed to do it though. 😀

  • Great post Allane! I agree with you if we all try to do our own small bit that will add up to a lot in time! We can all make a difference eg just by picking up litter (I get so annoyed by this how hard is it to find a rubbish bin or take it with you if one isn’t available?!)

    • Thank you dear! Yes, if only everyone helped, things would certainly be different. Maybe one day people will be conscious of how this is important.

  • Kathleen (Kat)

    I have been reading about the downside of elephant rides, am thinking twice now about going on those rides especially in Thailand where they promote the elephant rides a lot!

    • Yess, exactly!!
      I hear that there are some nice places in Thailand where you can actually play and take care of them, which is awesome, this way they protect the animals and at the same time you get to be in contact with them. 😀

  • I never knew that about the dolphins and it makes me so sad to hear that! While I don’t usually visit zoos or places where animals are held captive, it still makes me sad. #MondayEscapes

    • Yes 🙁 it’s pretty sad about the dolphins. Same here, I am also not a big fan of places where animals are held captive, I feel really sorry for them.

  • Great post Allane! I remember when I went to Mexico around 8 years ago, there was an opportunity for swimming with dolphins not in the wild. At the time, I remember thinking it would be fun but I left it because of price and only in the last couple of years have I come to learn how cruel it is for the dolphins so I’m so glad I didn’t do it and that I’m now more informed for the future.

    • That is so nice of you to share Shikha. And it’s great that you now know it is now good for the animals. It would be great if we could bring awareness to everyone. Many people do it and have no idea about the consequences.

  • Great post Allane, that fact that you even have to tell people not to throw their rubbish on the street or the sea is terrible! I hate seeing that, it makes me so angry! I reuse towels all the time while I am away- there’s no need to get them cleaned everyday!

    • Thank you Ting 😀
      Yes, I know right? For me, not throwing trash on the the streets and sea was always something obvious, we shouldn’t even need to tell people that it’s bad. I wish people weren’t so lazy and cared much about this.

  • Ohh really?? 🙁 ohh noo.
    I hope this changes one day, nos only in our countries, but everywhere. Egypt is also pretty bad!

  • Yes it is 🙁 I also don’t get why it is so hard! People don’t care and also are lazy to do it!

    Yes, you are right about the bottle of water, in Brazil it would be the same too for sure. Here in Europe, Canada and US would be totally ok to do it.

  • Same here!! I often pick up other people’s trash, I can’t help it! hahahaha well done with Mr Ayla 😀

  • That’s really nice that you think like that Christina! I wish everyone was like us 😀

  • Completely agree with you!!
    Here in Germany recycling is something very serious, while on the hand, in Brazil people complain when they have to do it!

  • Great point!! In a hotel in Paris I also noticed that. Even though my towel wasnt on the floor, they replaced it 🙁

  • Exactly, lazy and rude, I think the same as you!
    About the towel same thing, I don’t get a fresh towel every day, why would I do it differently at a hotel? Oh my.

  • That’s awesome Marta, that you understood about the Dolphinariums. You are not the only who didnt know the truth about it, that’s why it is so important to bring awareness to people. Most don’t know what’s behind it! That’s really nice that you wrote a post about it, great initiative!

  • Thank you so much Erin! Happy that you like it!
    Same here, I feel so sorry for the animals it breaks my heart.

  • hahaha that’s great to know Trish!!
    I am always refilling my water bottle too.
    You are right, in many hotels they replace the towels anyways, which I don’t like.
    The red list is sad 🙁 I hope we can still save those animals.

  • Stephanie

    This is a great post, some really interesting posts and ones I wouldn’t have known about. Thank you

  • Thank you so much Kana! I am glad that you liked the post. How awesome that you work with hospitality.
    It would certainly make a huge different if everyone reused their towel!!

  • Thank you Sarah 🙂
    Seeing the animals from far in their natural habitats is better than closer and having them confined. 😀
    Yaay happy to remind you about the hotel lights, it makes a big difference!

  • That is so wonderful Elizabeth! So happy to know that there are people like you guys out there, your kids will certainly grow up caring about the environment! <3 😀 great job!

  • Great recommendations Ruth!! These are very important points to, glad that you mentioned them.
    There so many ways we can help! 😀

  • Thank you 😀
    That’s awesome guys, I’m happy to know that!
    Yes, there are many hotels with this feature and I find it great, I wish all of them had that.

  • Thank you Natalie!
    Yes, me too 🙁
    Oh really? That’s so sad.
    I was also very disappointed with the beaches in Egypt, so much debris around!

  • Thank you so much dear! I appreciate your words and support.
    Same here, I often sad when I read stories like this too. We need to be careful with what kind of things we are contributing as a tourist. And it is very important to bring awareness to people!

  • Hi Stephanie!
    Yes you are right, unfortunately not everywhere and every time is possible to use the electronic tickets, but it’s worth the try. And I believe that as you said, it is the way forward.

  • Thank you so much Lisa, happy that you liked the post!
    Don’t worry, what’s important is that you are now aware of this and can spread the word to other people. Awareness is very important to change this. 😀

  • Hi Emma, as a diver I can say that the only right place to swim with a dolphin is in their natural habitat without any human intervention. Of course you can go snorkeling with the dolphins and dive with them, as long as they are not confined or had any interference of people (like training or such things). All you need is go to the right place and have some luck to see them 😀

  • Happy to know that 😀
    Another great example of attitudes!

  • Thank you Laia!!
    Yes, exactly, almost all of them can be applied to our daily life. While travelling we should do the same 😀
    Yes, it’s pretty sad about the dolphins 🙁 and I’m pretty sure it happens the same with other confined animals too.

  • So true, cigarette butts are found everywhere here in Europe. It’s pretty sad, because it’s also trash and it shouldn’t be on the streets or beaches.
    That’s great about the recycling facilities! Here in Germany recycling is something very important and par of our daily life.

  • Thank you dear!
    Great point!! Yes, that’s very very important too. It is always nice to know that the tour, restaurant and hotels are environmental and socially responsible 😀

  • Thank you Marcella 😀
    Yes, me too, I am so sad to see that! I really hope that one day no one will do that anymore.

  • Thank you so much Cathy!!
    Yes, while traveling you really see how great is the environmental impact caused by humans. It’s pretty sad, and unfortunately many people just don’t care. And I think it’s our work to change their minds before it’s too late.

  • Thank you dear, happy that you found it informative.
    Yes, it’s pretty said about the elephants and dolphins, I thought it was important to bring awareness to people, since many do it without knowing it.
    The cigarette butts are very bad, and are everywhere 🙁

  • Thank you Tara. Yes, it often makes me sad to see animal exploitation in every way. It is really important to bring awareness to people about this problem.
    I think camping is a very nice way of traveling and also requires our responsibility in some way. What matters is that each one of us do our part 😀

  • I know right? It seems to be that some people just dont care about it and that’s it. Pretty sad 🙁

  • Thank you Cindy!
    Yes, it is incredible how much debris you find in the oceans, as a diver, every time I am diving if I find something in the water I take it out and throw it in the trash.
    I also hope together we can spread awareness about the elephants too 😀

  • Gin

    Great list ! I already do a lot of these recommendations. I use a metallic water bottle, so I never throw away plastic bottle. In addition, you can fill in after the check in in airport and save some money 🙂

    • Yesss, great idea!! You save money and the planet, that’s awesome 😀
      Thank you, glad you liked the list!

  • Thank you dear!!
    Yess, you are right! Most people have no idea about this, one of the main reasons why they do it. I hope we can bring awareness to people!

  • Thank you Jess!! Awnn that is so sweet and also so important, to teach your kids to dispose of rubbish properly. I hope the future generations will care more about the environment better than ours. 😀

  • That’s awesome!!! 😀

  • Mabel Kwong

    This is such a great post. I have to agree with you on the towel point. A lot of hotels I’ve been to change the towel everyday, and i really wish they would not. A re-used towel is also much softer than a fresh one I find 😀

    I really like that shot of the Coke can that you took. You make it look sexy 😀 I really try not to pick up trash from the street because I don’t know who touched it and what’s on it :/ But it really is disgusting to see people throw things around.