A guide to eco-wanderlust

A guide to eco-wanderlust

/ 04:29 AM April 22, 2024

Compiled by Ong Huey Ern


ASICTravel has become an integral part of our lives. Combining global connectivity with technological advancement in the form of social media, lots of people have decided to capture and create content out of their personal travels. The influx of visitors promises economic prosperity, but can also pose challenges to our environment and cultural heritage.


Sustainable travel refers to minimizing harm to the environment while you holiday. This also extends to supporting local communities and economies to keep the activities, crafts and culture sustained and kept for future generations to enjoy as well.


Preserving local biodiversity, reducing carbon emissions and protecting fragile ecosystems are compelling reasons to be more eco-conscious while traveling. Choosing sustainable options not only minimizes our impact on the environment but can also set a precedent for the travel industry to adopt more responsible practices.

Ultimately, eco-conscious travel can become a powerful tool for positive change.

Here are a few things you can implement on your next trip, local or abroad, to make traveling a more mindful, conscientious experience.

Minimize single-use plastic waste

Pack your own toiletries in reusable containers. Invest in a set that will have its designated use for toiletry products, or reuse old containers.

Alternatively, you can opt for solid toiletries such as shampoo bars, solid soap and toothpaste tablets instead of their liquid counterparts, which often come in plastic packaging. These compact alternatives are not only environmentally friendly but are also convenient for travel.

This principle also applies to disposable plastic cutlery. Bringing your own reusable utensils such as a lightweight set of cutlery made from bamboo or stainless steel will significantly reduce the amount of plastic waste generated during your meals.


BYOB (Bring Your Own Bottle)

Bring your own bottle so that you don’t have to buy single-use plastic bottles and thus help reduce plastic waste. Look for refill stations or ask restaurants and cafés if they provide filtered water.

Respect local wildlife and ecosystems

Dispose of your waste responsibly in designated recycling bins to avoid harming the environment and the animals that rely on the ecosystem to survive.

If there are no means of disposing your trash at the moment, keep your trash with you until you come across one.

Familiarize yourself with the local customs, traditions and etiquette of the communities you visit. Show respect for their cultural heritage, sacred sites and traditions.

Adopt the “leave no trace” principle by leaving natural and cultural sites as you found them, to minimize visitors’ impact and protect the ecosystems.

Plan your travel route

Plan your visit to landmarks, sites or places with the availability of public transport in mind, and familiarize yourself with how it works.

Consider exploring your surroundings on foot or bike where possible; you may stumble upon truly unique and interesting experiences this way.

If you’re going on a guided tour, choose responsible tour operators. When booking tours, excursions or other activities, opt for operators that prioritize environmental and social responsibility. Look for those that minimize their ecological footprint, employ local guides and contribute to local communities.

Support local products and handicrafts

Consider spending on local, sustainably made products if you have the means. Buying local supports the community and reduces transportation emissions. It also helps to keep the local culture and traditions alive.

You can also explore local cuisine and support restaurants that prioritize locally sourced, organic and sustainable ingredients. This not only supports local farmers and reduces food mileage, but also allows you to experience the authentic flavors and cultural traditions of a location.

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*This story first appeared in The Star (Malaysia) on Feb. 28, 2024.

TAGS: environment

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