When you’re cooking for yourself, eating vegan and low-waste is clearly much easier. As I am currently abroad for a family wedding, I have been thinking a lot about how to reduce your environmental impact, while still seeing amazing new places and eating great food. Veganism and eating eco-friendly look totally different all over the world, and that’s something to be excited about, not be afraid your morals might ruin your holiday! I am someone whose travel is motivated by tasting the world, so here is what I’ve learnt in my travels about eating green all over the planet.
A lot of this is akin to the advice given in my guide to eco-eating out, and the first top tip I’ve learnt is to
DO YOUR RESEARCH
The more you know, the easier it is. Find out where the nearest shops are, what foods you are and aren’t allowed to bring into the country of going somewhere protected, what the local cuisine is like. Read reviews of restaurants if possible and learn what ‘milk’ is in the local language if going abroad. Sometimes, you will find in your research that the local food is more sustainably farmed with animal products in than say, eating soy-based goods in an area where the land is only good for livestock. This is not me encouraging you to eat a non-vegan diet, but sometimes we need to be flexible when travelling due to where we are, who we are being fed by and what the local food is like.
Next, as always, BRING YOUR OWN STUFF.
Pack food for the journey, take snacks you know are vegan if you think it might be hard to buy them out there/think you will struggle to read ingredients. Bring your refillable water bottle, straw and container for taking food out with you.
WHAT ABOUT WATER?
Millions of single use water bottles are used every day. We can sometimes find ourselves in a bit of a bubble when it comes to reducing waste if we are in areas that are fighting against the plastic problem. An obstacle in the low/zero-waste travel movement however is the difficulties that come with not being able to drink the water everywhere in the world. Due to different tap water cleaning methods, it can be unsafe to drink certain tap water, so people often turn to bottled water as a substitute. There are three possible ways to reduce your impact here;
- If you are staying in a self-catered accommodation, you can boil tap water, and leave it to cool before drinking, to sanitise it.
- Water filters in water are becoming ever more present to help clean the water people are drinking.
- If neither of these are possible, buy water in the largest possible quantities to reduce the packaging to product ratio.
STAY SOMEWHERE SENSIBLE
So, you’ve done your research, you’ve packed your bag, you’re ready to drink, but where are you going to stay?
There are arguments for all-inclusive hotels, as the food produced will have a better packaging to product ratio, but also staying in self-catered accommodation means you have greater control over how much food you prepare and where that food has come from. Depending where you are, it may be difficult to buy plastic free or low packaging items, in which case it may actually be friendlier to buy from street vendors (using your own container) or from restaurants who will buy their products in bulk. This comes into your research, read travel blogs or look into local supermarkets and consider what will be the best choice for your holiday.
Happy holidays, and don’t throw your straws in the sea please.
Over and out,
P.S. the easiest way to reduce the impact of your travel is to consider how you are travelling. Consider if it is possible to get a train or boat rather than plane, or bus rather than drive, and be careful when making decisions of destinations; sometimes family or work commitments require flying, but there are so many amazing places to visit in the world which you can get to without flying.