How to Travel Sustainably: 6 Tips with Travel Expert Rachel Risen.

Rachel in Uzbekistan

Rachel in Uzbekistan

So it’s Spring Break + there is a LOT of travel happening. And BABES it’s also EcoApril!!! If you’re not familiar, April is eco / earth awareness month. It’s basically like Christmas for us ecobabes.

So. Because I am not a travel expert by any means + my good friend Rachel Risen IS, I wanted to bring her onto ecobabe to share her best sustainable travel tips. And when I say that Rachel’s an expert… this babe has been to the end of the world + back. She’s traveled to places I had no idea even existed. She’s very lucky to have such incredible experiences under her belt + she knows it. She’s also gained an oversized luggage of knowledge about travel + what works the best. Especially when it comes to preserving the planet, to balance out those emissions while going wheels up. So take some notes + enjoy her words of wisdom. When it comes to travel, I really wouldn’t trust anyone else.

Take it away, Rach!!

Rachel in Cappadocia, Turkey

Rachel in Cappadocia, Turkey

Travel for me is like a cleansing of the soul.  I love learning about other cultures + about the planet. And most importantly:

Travel forces me to learn about myself.

Travel humbles you.  Judgments you have on any given place are usually shifted when you visit a new country, because like people, no place + no person can be defined by an opinion.  Each adventure we take is unique to us + that particular time in our lives. My first trip to Paris was with my boyfriend (now husband) + we were fresh in love!  The Eiffel Tower will never sparkle as bright as it did that first night.  Travel affords us these magical moments in time.  The world is a truly beautiful place. Even though we may all see it through different lenses, it is our job to take care of it. I intellectually understood global warming, but it wasn’t until I was sitting on a lake, in New Zealand, staring at The Tasman Glacier that I realized how serious it is.  The fact that this lake wasn’t here 15 years ago, and that this beautiful place could be gone in 40… made me really sad.  This year I’ve made it a goal to be a more conscious traveler.  You can too. 

Rachel in Scilly Isles, England

Rachel in Scilly Isles, England

I hope as you prepare for your spring + summer adventures, you’ll consider some of these tips + eco-friendly travel buys:

shop reef-friendly spf.

WHY: Did you know that certain chemicals in sunscreens have been suspected to cause bleaching to coral reefs??  Hawaii has gone as far to ban certain sunscreens because of this very thing.  

WHAT: Pick up a reef friendly sunscreen.

MY PICK: Sun Bum! Created by a group of friends that wanted to create a product that had no synthetic materials. It’s good for you + for the sea.

bring your own water bottle.

WHY:  Here are some fun facts I found from the Healthy Human Blog:

✖️Out of everything we put in our recycle bins at home, approximately 50 percent of it is never recycled.

✖️Plastic constitutes 90 percent of all of the trash floating on the ocean’s surface. This means there are 46,000 pieces of plastic trash per square mile of ocean.

✖️It takes up to 1,000 years for every single bottle of water to decompose. Moreover, each bottle leaks harmful chemicals into our environment along the way as it decomposes.

WHAT:  At most airports now, you can refill your water bottle at fresh drinking stations located after security! This way, you don’t have to spend $5 on a bottle of water before you board — save it for a margarita instead!!

MY PICK: Life Straw! Has a built-in water filter that eliminates almost 100 percent of waterborne bacteria.  And for every bottle bought from Life Straw, a child in a developing country is provided safe drinking water for an entire year.  WOW! *This is a no brainer buy in my opinion.

Rachel in Oman with her Pashmina

Rachel in Oman with her Pashmina

pack an eco-friendly pashmina.

WHY: When you buy clothing labelled under the Fair Trade Act, you have reassurance that the manufacturing process did not involve any sweatshops + that the working conditions of employees were safe. This helps you support human rights, while also protecting the environment.

WHAT:  If you’re like me + always cold when you travel, you definitely need a cozy blanket of sorts to keep you comfortable.  I love using a big scarf that can look cute, but can double as a blanket as soon as that cold airplane air comes on.  It’s a two-in-one situation. Who likes airplane blankets anyway? By bringing your own, you’ll spare the wash of that airline blanket + all of its accompanying plastic packaging.  You’ll also support the Fair Trade Act. That’s a lot of good stuff!

 MY PICK: Bloom and Give! Dedicated to the education of young girls everywhere. With every scarf purchased, 10% goes directly to a girl’s education program. In a developing world, education is the best way for a young girl to escape the vicious cycle of childhood marriage, pre-teen pregnancy + domestic abuse. When she goes to school, she lives a healthier life, earns more + makes her community stronger.

stow your own straws.

WHY: Plastics end up in the sea people!!! They hurt animals we love. What more reason do we need??  Seriously, just watch this video of a straw stuck up a turtle’s nose + you’ll think twice every time you opt for a disposable straw. That straw you used for only 10 minutes will be living on this earth way longer then you will be. Nobody in the ocean is, ‘Cooo coo cachoing’ over our obsession with single-use plastics.

WHAT: Either decide to not use straws at all, or bring your own.

MY PICK  Bambaw Bamboo Straws! They come in this nifty little bag that can easily go in your beach bag for all those Pina Coladas you’ll be drinking. Good news: if you lose one they are completely biodegradable! It’s a win/win for you + the turtles.

Rachel in Oman

Rachel in Oman

carry a canvas bag.

WHY: Do you want another fun fact about plastic? Okay fine. 100,000 marine animals are killed by plastic bags annually. Sorry Nemo.

WHAT: Roll up a canvas bag and pack it in your suitcase.  It can be used as a beach bag and a shopping bag. Tourists are known for being more wasteful than locals.  Prove them wrong!

 MY PICK: Feed Bags! There are so many different options. What’s amazing about buying a bag from Feed? Their goal to make sure children don’t go hungry! In fact, printed on each bag is the number of school meals you’ve provided with your purchase. You’re saving the environment + feeding children.

support local.

WHY: As hippie as this sounds, when I leave a place I am grateful for the experiences it gave me + I want to leave knowing I gave that place something back.  This in my opinion, is the best way to do just that:

WHAT: Make it a point to support local artists, farmers, restaurants + non-profits when you travel. For instance, in Cape Town, we visited a Cheetah sanctuary. In Uzbekistan, we bought tiles for our bathroom from a local artisan.  In The Scilly Isles, we bought our morning eggs from a local farmer.  It feels good to support local, no matter where you are in the world.


Rachel in Namibia

Rachel in Namibia

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+ + Rachel is also a certified life coach. And a damn good one. For a little life inspo, go here for her blog.

+ + For 5 easy ways to be an ecobabe in your everyday life, go here.