How to be an Eco Traveler
You are planning to travel to Bali. Hand on your heart, who doesn't love Bali? It is a lush green paradise with endless options for adventure. It is an island where you can truly immerse yourself in the local culture and have an authentic experience.
Have you ever stopped and considered how to make your travels more sustainable?
Every year millions of travelers visit Bali and leave their marks behind. While over 5.5 million tourists reached Bali in 2017, the number of travelers in 2018 increased to 6.5 million. Due to this sudden increase and the obvious impact it has on the environment, there are more conscious practices that need to be put into action. Traveling sustainably means leaving a positive impact on the environment and the locals.
The good news is that being an eco-conscious traveler is actually much easier than you may think and it all starts with awareness. Let us be your eco-style guide and help you cut down your environmental impact.
Reality vs. Sustainability
Living a sustainable lifestyle has been promoted for a few decades now, and you can check our guide to a sustainable closet here. The good news is the eco-lifestyle is becoming trendy and society is starting to pay closer attention to ethical practices. Unfortunately, for most travelers, the only way to reach the 'Island of Gods' is by airplane. This mode of transportation causes heavy air pollution.
While this reality is unfortunate, there are things we can be aware of and practice to be better. Here are our eco-friendly travel tips.
Travel eco-conscious and respectfully
Plan your trip to minimize carbon emission.
Become a slow traveler. Consider taking longer yet fewer holidays to go the long haul to a dream-worthy destination. Flying over to the ‘Island of Gods' for a longer time is better for both the environment and yourself. Put your feet up, relax and soak up the beauty of the island.
When searching for a flight, look for airlines with 'green' options. Instead of booking a long haul flight with transfers, try to get a direct one.
Pack light. You are going to a tropical island, you won't need your entire wardrobe. You can check our guide on how to pack less while still looking stylish here. Remember that the heavier your suitcase is, the more fuel is used! Another option is to travel ultra-light, so you can support the local economy by buying things in Bali. With all the cute boutiques and artisan made goods, this is my preferred option!
Pack items that are respectful to local culture and religious traditions. Yes, bring your shorts and tops, but wear them appropriately. You wouldn’t show up in cutoff shorts and a crop top while visiting a church, so why would you do it at a temple? If you dress suitably, locals will treat you with more respect.
Have you booked your place yet? Hold off until you read this. Bali offers a range of eco options from luxurious villas to basic home stays. Whatever you choose, make sure they promote sustainable practices that benefit both the environment and local economy.
Have a villa in mind? Spend a few nights in an eco-villa booked via Villa-Bali.com. Not only will it be a unique place to stay but by far more sustainable than your average resort or hotel. Why?
By booking accommodation with Villa-Bali.com you are doing a favor to the environment. Besides promoting ethical practices, this organization is part of ‘ReforestAction’. For each villa rented, they plant one mangrove tree in the north of Sumatra. This planting process helps protect the rainforest from being destroyed for the palm oil industry. Thumbs up for this sustainable movement. 👍 A great contribution to the sustainable vacation landscape.
Did we mention villas are set in the heart of Bali’s raw natural beauty? Sustainability and luxury can go hand in hand.
Plan ahead, ethically
So you have your flight and accommodation sorted. Now you move onto the details, because they matter. Packing. Here is some functional and beauty advice to fill your mind and suitcase.
1. Learn a few basic words and phrases. It makes interaction with locals easier and more authentic. Try the FREE Duolingo language app for 10-15 minutes a day and show up with the basics down.
2. Stock up on eco-friendly cosmetic products. Products like organic biodegradable shampoo or deodorant, come in bars. Opt for a sunscreen that’s gentle to the environment. Avoid those with harmful ingredients such as oxybenzone, which kills and bleaches coral reefs. Sun Bum is a personal favorite.
3. Say bye to plastic bottles and cotton pads. Amazon offers a microfibre makeup removal cloth which is great for travel! Swing by a local zero-waste store to see what other travel goodies they have that serve both your needs and the environments.
Following the 3 eco-friendly travel tips are a great place to start!
Cutting down on meat and dairy is an essential step towards a better future. The plant-based food industry uses less water and land than traditional farming industries. Going organic, vegan or vegetarian acts eco-consciously towards both the environment and your health. Consumption of local fruits and vegetables gives back to the community and supports local business. In Bali, this is easy and the most delicious option.
Bali is a perfect place to dive into these ethical and sustainable dining practices. Places like Bali Buddha, Eat Clear, Cashew Tree, Alchemy or Sari Organik are a must-visit.
If you are a meat eater, fear not. Same. However, I've been focused on cutting back on my meat intake and when traveling in Bali, there are endless delicious options. I eat clean without even realizing it. Win!
Calling out all shopaholics. Shopping in Bali is awesome. It can be a real sustainable fashion paradise. If you fancy local bags, dresses, jewelry or souvenirs, Bali is the right place to be. Sadly, a large amount of 'Balinese' handmade products were made in China. To make sure your product is Balinese, buy straight from local indigenous artisans. This way you are also giving something back to the island and locals.
When in Canggu, go for a Sunday stroll and visit the Samadi Organic Sunday Market. You will find great local made products. Markets are held every Sunday from 9 am to 2 pm. If you get there in the morning, you can rely on healthy organic breakfast options. The atmosphere is very relaxed with a mix of expats, locals, tourists and kids.
Apart from markets, there are many sustainable product options. Bali is big on bamboo products, which are much more sustainable than cotton. There is plenty of bamboo in Bali. It requires only a little water and grows fast. We only use renewable resources in our products...which now includes bamboo!
Don't miss out on the brand Bambooku for clothes, sheets and towels made from 100% bamboo, the world’s most sustainable crop. This is what we call guilt-free shopping.
Bali announced a ban on single-use plastic in 2019. To start, supermarkets have stopped offering plastic bags. Win! However, as this is a recent ban, you will still see large amounts of single-use plastic being used on a daily basis. So let's aim to be the change we wish to see in the world...
- Bottle. While traveling in a tropical environment, staying hydrated is key. Avoid buying plastic bottles from local stores. Invest in a good quality refillable water bottle, because less plastic is always fantastic. Many restaurants and shops will refill your reusable bottle for free with filtered drinking water.
- Bag. Bring a reusable shopping that is light weight and easy to carry. You never know when you will find a great snack or souvenir to carry home!
- Glass jar. Craving local fruit juice? BYO glass jar. It is easy like that. By following these simple steps, we can make Bali a better place.
Be a sustainable traveler
A sustainable traveler is a person who leaves as little carbon footprint behind as possible and shows respect for the local culture and environment. They ensure that their choice of activities, food and accommodation are as eco-friendly as possible.
Research and choose consciously how to get to a destination, what activities to join, and where to spend your money. Acting eco-consciously is actually not that hard. Where there is a will, there is a way.