Sustainable tourism is becoming increasingly important in 2020. Travel Pulse published an article in October calling 2019 “the year of sustainable travel.”
The number of tourists that have made sustainability a priority has risen sharply. One poll found that 87% of tourists want to travel sustainably. However, some people don’t know how to go about this.
You need to be a minimalist as a tourist. This is the number one way to reduce your carbon footprint while traveling.
How do you go about this? We have spoken with a number of sustainability experts that have weighed in.
Your Guide to Being a Savvy Eco-Tourist Starts with Being a Minimalist
Traveling with a minimalist mindset can change the way you experience the city or country you’re visiting. By packing less baggage, both physically and mentally, you’ll be able to see the sights more clearly, hear the sounds better, and take in the culture of the foreign destination with greater appreciation. Of course, minimalist travel doesn’t appeal to everyone as it can be quite a challenging shift for those who have developed their own unique travel process.
Nevertheless, minimalist travel is still a fun activity to try and help the environment at the same time. If you’re interested in traveling light for the very first time, here are 6 rules you need to follow to ensure that your minimalist travel experience will be a hassle-free one:
1. Properly Prepare for the Trip
Although some experienced minimalist travelers can hop on a plane to any destination with no itinerary, first-timers should always prepare for their trip beforehand. Listing down the places you want to visit will teach you to allot enough money for these areas, and help you stay on track with your goals. This way, you’ll save some time and cash to enjoy small treats like buying a souvenir or eating in a popular restaurant.
Thinking ahead will also help you find low-cost accommodations, fast. With the demand still low, you can easily book a room in an affordable and clean hotel chain without having to worry about losing your reservation.
2. Only Bring the Essentials
An important thing to remember when traveling with a minimalist mindset is to pack light. By eliminating the need for the larger luggage, you have fewer things to worry about and can move around the city or town freely with a backpack in tow. But what should you pack? Typically, minimalist travelers only bring the essentials, which include the following:
- Passport, credit cards, and cash
- Enough everyday versatile clothing options to last the trip (e.g. one pair of pants, a jacket, 2 shirts, and 3 pairs of underwear)
- Essential toiletries (e.g. toothbrush, toothpaste, soap, and deodorant)
The number and types of items will depend on where you’re staying and how long you’ll be in that location. As for shoes, it’s ideal to only bring the ones you’ll wear the moment you leave your house. You may also opt to bring your electronic devices, like your smartphone, Bluetooth headsets, and camera, to make your journey more fun and comfortable. However, if you can take amazing photos with your phone, you may leave your fancy camera at home.
3. Invest in Luggage Organizers
To make it easier to pack your stuff, it’s best to invest in luggage organizers and dividers. Not only will these kits tidy up your bag, but you’ll use less time wondering where your earbuds are since they’re stored in one of the organized cases. It’s best to use affordable, light, and half transparent organizers when compartmentalizing your stuff. You should also label your organizers and dividers, so you know exactly where to retrieve and return a certain item during your travels.
4. Think About the Multi-Functionality of Certain Items
You can further reduce the amount of things you’re bringing if you’re thinking about the multi-functionality of certain items. For example, if you treat your shower gel as a face wash and shampoo, you’ll only be bringing one bottle instead of three. If your phone and laptop can share the same charger, or if you have a powerbank, you no longer have to carry around a tangled mess of cables in your bag. To better understand the multi-functionality of your things, it’s best to start identifying the basic gear you’re bringing and check if a certain item can be used in different ways.
5. Leave Some Space
If you notice that your bag still has some space after downsizing your luggage, don’t be tempted to pack it with more stuff. You need to leave some room in your bag for mementos and local delicacies you’ll bring home from your travels. To help ensure that you have enough room for souvenirs, it’s smart to adopt an 80/20 rule. If your bag has 50 liters of space, for example, you should fill 80% of it (40 liters) with your stuff while leaving the remaining 20% (10 liters) empty.
6. Always Choose Quality and Durability
You might need to update your gear when you’re traveling with a minimalist mindset for the first time. That backpack or light luggage bag you haven’t used in years will probably wear out easily, making it unfit for long and rugged journeys. As such, you need to invest in high-quality and heavy-duty items that are specifically designed for traveling. Items can range from a slash-proof, anti-theft rolling duffel bag to a waterproof hooded jacket. No matter what product it is, it’s best to get gear that lasts because you’ll need something sturdy to support your future minimalist travel adventures.
Minimalist travel can be daunting, especially if you have no experience traveling light. However, this sort of travel style isn’t meant to scare you; it’s to teach you to visit breathtaking destinations with simplicity and comfort in mind. If you’re ready to experience traveling with a minimalist mindset, then take note of these 6 rules and discover what it truly means to travel with less baggage.
Minimalism is the Secret to Sustainable Tourism
There are a lot of great ways to lower your carbon footprint as a tourist. You can start by practicing minimalism. These minimalist travel ideas can make a big difference.