19 Sep 2022
If you’re wondering how to travel more sustainably but aren’t sure where to start, we have you covered. Sustainable travel has been getting a lot of attention in recent years, which is great news for the environment, our regional communities, and for you.
Small things can make a big difference when it comes to looking after our incredible planet, helping our regional communities thrive and protecting our landscapes, waterways and wildlife. From simple swaps to mindful habits that are great on holiday or at home, read on for our best tips to be more green next time you hit the road.
BEFORE YOU GO
Offset your carbon footprint when flying
If you’re flying to your holiday destination, consider purchasing carbon offsets or carbon credits when booking your flight. Most major airlines will provide this option, where passenger offsets are used for projects that positively support environmental, social and economic impacts including reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
READ ALSO: Flying with camping gear in Australia
Plan your meals to avoid food waste
Did you know that food waste accounts for around 3% of Australia’s annual greenhouse gas emissions, and that throwing away one burger wastes the same amount of water as a 30-minute shower? If you’re going to cook while you’re travelling, take the time to plan your meals so you’ll only take the ingredients you’ll need and nothing goes to waste.
Prep for fuel efficiency
The heavier your vehicle, the more fuel it uses so when you’re packing the car or the caravan, keep weight in mind. Similarly, tyre pressure will also affect your mileage so make sure your tyres are in good repair and evenly inflated to the right pressure for optimal fuel efficiency when you hit the road.
READ ALSO: How to pack your caravan for a safe trip
Switch off and unplug devices at home
Some electronics can account for almost 10% of your energy costs just by being plugged in. Before you head off on your next trip, do a little preparation at home. Unplug any appliances that you can and switch off power points at the wall to save energy while you’re away.
Refillable water bottle or canteen
Less than 40% of plastic drink bottles are recycled in Australia and that means a huge amount end up in landfill or, worse, as litter in our environment. Pack a refillable drink bottle or canteen for filling up on the go to be kinder to the environment and your hip pocket: bottled water can cost more per litre than petrol so refilling is a win-win.
Your own cutlery, straws and Tupperware
Packing your own cutlery, straws and food containers is a great way to reduce plastic waste. There’s a huge range of stainless straws and portable cutlery available that makes travel a breeze. Food containers can be used to store leftovers but are also a great alternative to a usual ‘doggie bag’ from restaurants and cafes.
A reusable coffee cup
Aussies love a good cup of coffee – so much, that 2.7 million single use coffee cups hit our landfill every single day. Cafes won’t mind if you bring your own coffee cup, so grab a reusable style for a more sustainable brew. With heaps of sizes, designs and styles on the market, your cup can be as individual as your coffee order.
Eco-friendly cleaning products
We know that Aussie road trips can see your car and caravan collect a lot of red dirt. Choose eco-safe products for cleaning the exterior as well as for your tanks where you can. There are heaps of options on the market. Be mindful of where you’re washing your van too, so detergents and other chemicals don’t run off into drains or landscapes it shouldn’t, and always use proper dump points for waste and greywater.
Reef-safe sunscreen to protect waterways
Not all sunscreens are created equal. It’s estimated that close to 6,000 tons of sunscreen wash up on precious reef systems around the world each year, causing coral bleaching and other damage. If you’re hitting the beach, river or other waterways on your next holiday, invest in a reef-smart or reef-friendly sunscreen (check the tube for active ingredients zinc oxide and titanium dioxide). Our marine ecosystems will thank you!
AT YOUR DESTINATION
Did you know that for every $1 spent on holiday accommodation, almost $2 is generated for the local economy? Do your part to support our regions and communities by shopping locally for groceries and supplies, checking out the farmer’s market, and supporting other local businesses and tour operators where you can.
Switch out single use plastics
Plastic takes hundreds of years to breakdown in landfill and the environment, so using less is never a bad idea. Avoid buying fruit, veg and other products wrapped in plastic, and bring your own shopping bags along with you when picking up supplies, groceries or holiday keepsakes.
Walk or bike to see the sights
If you have the option to leave the car and head out exploring on foot or by bike, do it. Not only will you get a more immersive view of your holiday destination, you’ll also save on petrol costs and emissions.
Don't feed the wildlife
Don’t be tempted to get up close and personal with our native wildlife and never feed them. Not only can human food make animals very sick, hand-feeding can take away natural foraging behaviours causing damage in the long term. Interaction with humans can also attract animals to areas where it’s unsafe for them to be and can lead to aggressive and nuisance animals posing a risk to people.
Follow marked paths and hiking trails
In Australia we’re blessed with some of the most incredible natural wonders and scenic landscapes in the world. Help protect and preserve our fragile ecosystems in our National Parks by always using marked paths and hiking trails and following signage advice and warnings.
Leave only footprints and use the right bin
Wherever you go, make sure you clean up after yourself. Rubbish and waste are so damaging to our landscape, birdlife and other animals so if there’s no bin available, take waste with you to dispose of later. When it’s time to throw stuff away, make sure you’re using the right bin. Using the wrong bin makes sorting items difficult for waste management and can see recyclable items redirected to landfill.
Switch off lights in your cabins when you go out
Much like switching off at home before you go, doing the same in your cabin accommodation will also make a big difference. Televisions, heating and cooling and lights are key things to check before heading out to enjoy your day.
Close windows and doors to stop air con and heat escaping
Air conditioning, fans and heaters can be essential items on your holiday, depending on the time of year and which part of the country you’re visiting. You don’t want warm or cool air escaping, so keep windows closed when these appliances are in use.
Return or recycle info booklets, pamphlets and guides
Handy guides and pamphlets can connect you to incredible operators and experiences where you’re staying, but the piles of paper can soon add up. You can return brochures in good condition to be reused by other travellers, pass them along to other guests, or simply make sure that they hit the recycle bin instead of the landfill.
Ask staff if you're unsure
If you’re not sure what to do with your recyclables or can’t find the right bin, check in with one of the staff at park who will be able to point you in the right direction.
Feeling inspired to put these tips into practice?