8 ways to have a positive impact while travelling

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Guest post by Claire from Traveltio! Who is Claire?

Claire is a self-confessed travel nut. She has been travelling around the world since her Mum farewelled her in a teary goodbye, and she hasn’t looked back since! You can read all about her adventures through 48 cities in 26 countries on 4 continents on her blog Traveltio.com.

How can you have a positive impact while travelling?

Travelling is one of the best things for your soul around. How do I know? All anyone ever talks about, reads about, takes pictures about, is travel, because the truth is, there’s just something irresistible in finding new adventures to enjoy.

Being a serial traveller, you learn this over and over again, and it never gets old, but the things that you learn along the way is that there are two different kinds of people who go on adventures—the tourists and the travellers.

The tourists are the fanny-pack wearing, resort-staying, mass consumption bunch while the travellers are usually out for a less inclusive experience, open to a little rough and tumble, but also a huge fan of the good, authentic life. And when you’re a traveller, you start to learn that your travels are dependent on how good you are at being conscious of the environments that you’re in and not caving into all that is shiny and new.

1. Before you leave home, unplug!

positive impact www.grassrootsnomad.com GoGreenFarms

You can go green while travelling even before you leave the house, and it comes with being a good landlord to yourself and your home residence. It’s more than just unplugging all your devices and putting the thermostat down low, it’s also about cancelling any of your subscriptions, taking all your future bills online, recycling before you head out, and halting any regular deliveries that you have. It’ll also save you money as well!

2. Take a water bottle with you

Depending on where you’re heading it can get expensive if you’re buying water bottles right and left, and even when it’s not financially draining, it’s ecologically draining every time you pop open another bottle and toss it in the trash when you’re done.

3. Take public transport—or walk!

positive impact www.grassrootsnomad.com GoGreenWalkCities

Public transportation around the world is getting better and better every day, and with a good pair of shoes, walking is the perfect way to discover a city. My advice is always to make like the locals, because if it’s good enough for them, it’s good enough for me, and in places like Amsterdam with their many bike paths and rental places, it’s truly the best way to become a part of the scenery and enjoy the ride.

4. Try a work stay

Work stays are awesome options for people looking to extend the life of their travel when the pocket strings definitely aren’t able to do it, and it’s also great for the environment. Hostels around the world, farms, bed and breakfasts, and plenty of restaurants are open to the idea of trading work for accommodation or meals, and it’s a good way to supplement your travels without needing a work visa for each place you head to.

Learn more about working on an organic farm!

5. Buy only locally made products

positive impact www.grassrootsnomad.com eco buys

Here is the rule that I live by: only buy a thing made in China on your travels if, in fact, you visited China. Otherwise, you’re undermining the local economy with your purchase.

Never purchase fake authentic items (it undermines the value of the real deal), electronics (that dirt cheap iPhone likely has an iCloud lock on it, making it a stolen good and a profit from the black market), and cheap trinkets (like shot glasses, because they don’t have any significance and are likely just going to collect dust).

6. Pack light

Or rather, live light. So much of modern culture centers around consumption, and success based on how many things you can put your name on, but when it comes to travelling, less is definitely more. Don’t take lots of different clothes (or my problem, too many shoes), products you think you can’t live without, or too much of anything other than life-saving medicine. Stick to a few interchangeable pieces that can be easily washed or substituted by something else in your wardrobe, a rain jacket, and some Advil, and you’re good to go.

Learn more about how to write the ultimate RTW packing list.

7. Eat at farmer’s markets, on streets, or anywhere they locally source

positive impact www.grassrootsnomad.com GoGreenEatLocal

Eating food from the ground that you’re walking on is about as good as you can get it; farmer’s markets, and street food stands, and tiny little cafes off the beaten path are the ones that are going to be where to get this good for the soul food. When you find a place that is selling local produce, it means the community is being employed, the earth is being looked after, and the economies that exist there are being sustained—this is the best way, hands down, to eat green and go green on the road.

8. Add reusable bags to your mix

Taking your own carrying capacity when you frequent those farmer’s markets not only saves your vendors some change (and sometimes, you as well) it’s also good for the environment. So if you’re not a backpacker, grab a light pack with plenty of space to carry away trinkets when you go out for the day and if you’re a backpacker, find something small that won’t add bulk, like this fold up number by flip & tumble.

Travelling is a great thing, but the way to keep it that way is to be responsible for keeping the communities on your itinerary sustainable, and it’s easy. Just a little tender loving care and the world can be the same place for your trip today as it is tomorrow—so plan, then pack, smart, and bon voyage!

What are your top tips for having a more positive impact while travelling? Comment below with your best advice!

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26 Comments
Natalie

I was happy to find that we do most of these while traveling! 😀 While some of it comes out of just being cheap (especially the packing light as to not incur checked baggage fees and walking since it’s free!), that’s awesome that they have the double benefit of having a positive impact on the places we visit, too.

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Grassroots Nomad

That’s great Natalie! So good when something has a double benefit 😉

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Deea

Useful reminders to keep in mind 🙂 Proud to realize I’m doing most of these things – I especially like the buy locally and pack light parts!

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Grassroots Nomad

That’s great Deea! Packing light is sometimes the most challenging thing of all :S

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MariaAbroad

I love going to the market when I travel. I get to try local foods and meet local people. It is such a great way to learn about and support the local economy. I also love your suggestion about taking public transportation. I enjoy this so much, when I travel, as I currently live in a place with very limited public transportation (ugh, I hate Texas public transport system!).

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Grassroots Nomad

Thanks for reading Maria! I am always so surprised as to how terrible public transport is in the States, particularly in the South. I remember in San Antonio they didn’t even have proper sidewalks so I had to walk in the gutter!

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leslieweighill

Agreed! Going to local markets for fresh fruits and veg is cheap, healthy, and supports the small producers. And it’s an amazing way to exchange some culture!

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Grassroots Nomad

I agree! It also means you are always eating fresh and in-season food. mmmmmm!

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Girlswanderlust

Very useful tips! It’s nice to see that most of these things I’m already doing when travelling. I love to try the local food and during city trips I always explore the city by walking!

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Grassroots Nomad

Thanks Tamara and it is great to hear that you are already travelling this way. I also love to explore on foot, wandering around aimlessly 🙂

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Christina

I am happy to read that we do most of these. The others I will definitely work on. Especially, #7. I don’t do enough research beforehand to know which restaurants locally source. However, we buy fruit from the street if we know it will be safe to eat.

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Grassroots Nomad

Hey Christina, thanks for reading and it is great to hear that you already do most of these without even thinking about it! There are a surprising amount of places that locally source their food. I’ve just arrived in Seattle and have found a few places that I can’t wait to try out 🙂

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Hung Thai [Up Up and a Bear]

Unfortunately, I can’t honestly say that I do half of these, but the one thing I do try to do is buy locally produced goods (well, i guess it depends on the trip). We do pack very light actually – not having to check anything in is a great feeling. By the way, if you haven’t already, visit Pke’s place for some yummy treats 🙂

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Grassroots Nomad

Thanks for the tip! I’ve actually been spending my days around there while my boyfriend works at the marina so I’ve had plenty of time to explore. There are a few restaurants around here that have locally sourced products and I can’t wait to try them! 🙂

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Bailey K.

Oh man, I love this. The only one I don’t do regularly when I travel is work stays. I’ve always wanted to try them though!

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Grassroots Nomad

You should give one a try! I only spent a day visiting an organic farm but I would love to stay for a few weeks to learn more about gardening and growing my own food. Let me know if you do one – I would love to hear how you get on 🙂

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Kevin Wagar

Excellent tips! We do our best to keep everything we have on the road with us re-useable and eat as local as possible on the road. It’s great to see such great tips being shared!

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Grassroots Nomad

Thanks Kevin! Great to hear that you already do these while travelling with your family!

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Tom

Very happy that I do most of these, especially the water bottle one, I really don’t understand people who buy bottled water. It’s just repackaged tap water, fill up at a fountain!! Anyway, great post, thanks for sharing!

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Grassroots Nomad

I agree Tom! Most of these are great for the wallet as well as the environment 🙂

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Grassroots Nomad

Woo that’s great!!! The workstays look like so much fun 🙂

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Grassroots Nomad

Thanks Sonya – there are lots of WWOOF opportunities around the world that let you experience work on a farm and all free!

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thetravelpockets

These are all great tips! I sometime struggle with #7. I have such a weak stomach that occasionally I get sick from eating street food. Which is such a bummer cuz I love street food! It’s local, authentic, and a lot of times tastes better than restaurant food:)

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Grassroots Nomad

Oh no!!! Street food is the best!! But I agree, I think that it depends on what sort of germs you are used to. I ate street food in Asia the whole time I lived in Bangkok as well as on my multiple visits to Asia and I never got sick. But I was sick virtually the whole 6 months I was in Guatemala even when I was eating in houses! I guess my body is used to Asian street food but not Latin American!

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