Creative Content Writer & former Tour Guide at HAGGiS Adventures. Scottish travel blogger and adventure lover. Kay enjoys travelling Scotland solo, and has visited 42 Scottish Islands. She loves to live up to stereotypes by dying her hair ginger, and regularly consuming haggis and whisky. A Scottish history geek and all-around chatterbox, she can literally talk for Scotland.
Guide to Eco-Friendly Backpacking
Solo travelling and backpacking have become increasingly popular in recent years. Whilst this is fantastic news, the travel industry is having an ever-greater impact on the environment. That’s why it’s vital to be conscious of how eco-friendly our travels are. As global wanderers, it's up to us to be the change we want to see in the world.
By making a few simple changes to our trips, we can reduce our carbon footprint, waste and energy consumption. From using reusable water bottles to buying local produce, every wee bit helps to lessen the impact and keep the world safe for the next generation of travellers.
1) Be transport conscious
By far, your transport choices have the biggest impact on your carbon footprint. Avoid flying where possible and take long-distance trains or coach tours to lessen your impact. Here at Haggis Adventures, we have an awesome Eco Scheme where you can make an optional donation when booking a tour with us. By just choosing to travel with us, you're doing your bit for the environment.
When travelling short distances, try walking or cycling instead of getting a short bus. You'll soon hit your daily 10,000 steps! If a trip is too long to walk, use shared transport apps or online pages to connect with other travellers and split your carbon footprint in half.
2) Buy eco-friendly toiletries
With an increasing awareness of climate change, eco-aware products are way more accessible. From biodegradable bamboo toothbrushes to solid shampoos and conditioners.
3) Carry a reusable water bottle
A lot of plastic water bottles either end up in the sea or the ground and around 80% of never get recycled. Why not do your bit by buying a plastic or metal reusable bottle? You'll save loads of money by topping up your bottle at local cafes and water fountains.
Hey, you might even learn how to say 'please can I fill my water bottle up' in the local language. It's best to check out the water situation in the country first though - it’s not always healthy to drink tap water! For the record, Scottish water is the best! The water bottles can be colourful, inexpensive and fit perfectly in your backpack.
4) Use less water
In the same way, be mindful of how much water you use daily. Try limit yourself to a 5-minute shower instead of a 20 minute one. You also won’t need to wash your clothes as much as you would at home. When you do, wash your own items in the bathroom and then dry them in the sun.
5) Go to flea markets
When travelling, the same set of clothes can get boring after a while. If you’re desperate for a shopping trip - avoid the High Street and shopping malls. Shop at flea markets and other second-hand stores. It’s cheap and makes your style stand out from the rest. Similarly, you can go one step further and dodge the supermarkets too. When shopping for food, look out for local markets for the tastiest fruit and veg.
6) Always carry a shopping bag
Leave the plastic shopping bags in the shop and make sure to bring a reusable tote when shopping. You'll thank us when your bag doesn't break due to over-packing too.
7) Consider your electricity use
If you’re backpacking in regions like Australia, South-East Asia or Africa, the heat can be extreme. You’re likely to want to use aircon all the time. Only use when it’s completely necessary. Ask yourself if a fan will do the job. If you do use it from time to time, make sure to turn it off when you're out. Don't forget the lights and plugs too.
8) Go paperless
By the end of a world tour, you’ll end up with a bag full of travel cards, tickets, etc. that you won't need when you’re back at home. Try to get all your tickets and booking on your phone. That also avoids the hassle of searching through a pile of paper to find what you need.