Well to begin with, no less than 8% of the global carbon emissions derive from traveling and tourism. Secondly, a recent global study showed that no less than 85% of tourists want to travel more sustainably. If that is you, then you should definitely read on.
Now, if we take a closer look at these 8%, we can divide the emissions into 8 categories:
10% Food & Beverage
6% Construction & Mining
And by doing so, we will even get more unique experiences. Because this category covers both souvenirs, low end as well as high end fashion, and all the gear and equipment we buy just to do a bit of sport or activities while being away from home.
Below, we have tried to explain the problem with our current consumption patterns and at the same time offer our advice on how we can easily change. Because we need more sustainable ways for this planet, something that is more supportive for the local communities and maybe even more memorable for ourselves in the end.
I’ll be the first to admit it. At home I have drawers full of small things like magnets, keychains, and all kinds of crap from trips throughout the years. I know it’s silly, but there is something nice about saving small symbolic items to remind you of a trip.
But make no mistake, in most cases these small things are nothing but junk. So I’ve decided to stop this purchasing habit. Most of these types of products have been mass produced in other countries by low paid and underage workers, before being shipped halfway across the globe to end up in this particular souvenir shop.
Yes, the shop owners earn a bit from your purchase, so in that sense you support the local economy. But the rest is earned by ruthless production owners and the middle men. And how much thought and effort do you think has gone into reducing the carbon footprint?
The short advice is simply not to buy such items. Save your money instead and spend a bit extra on a good meal at a local restaurant. Do you really need more stuff like this? Honestly, doesn’t it just take up space in a closet anyways?
If it is still important to bring home a physical symbol of your trip, try to find something you would actually use. That way every time you use it, you’ll be reminded of your trip.
Keep just a few simple treasures
For instance, I once bought a beautiful oyster knife in the southern French town of Séte that means something special to me. I love oysters and have used my oyster knife many times since. Actually, every time I use it I’m reminded of that vacation and that it was there that my girlfriend tried oysters for the very first time.
Another exception is a set of beautiful chopsticks bought in Tokyo, which reminds me of this special trip every time they are used.
My examples would probably all be about food, so this was just to name a few… I think you get the picture.
Vacation shopping is great and I’m definitely not gonna advise you to stop this completely. I think it’s a good excuse to go explore cities and get some time away from the beach, the mountains, or the usual tourist attractions. That is why I always leave a bit of room for a new piece of clothing when I pack for a trip.
But sadly, most clothes are produced in non-sustainable ways and by underpaid workers. And very rarely does the local economy get a piece of the pie. I wish I could simply tell you that the more expensive fashion clothes are, the better they are for the planet as well as the local economy. But sadly that’s not possible.
First, I’ll advise you to fight the temptation of the large international chain stores. Unless it’s to use their air conditioner to cool down a bit.
Do you really want to spend your valuable time in an H&M, Zara or Mango that you could have gone to back home? Wouldn’t it be much cooler, if you returned with a beautiful dress that was both unique and locally produced?
In other words, see if you can find a small local brand. In most cases small local brands have given much more thought to the environment in their production. Furthermore, you’re supporting the local economy with your money.
We have probably all been there: You are on vacation and you really want to go explore more remote and natural beaches away from the overcrowded strip near your hotel. But these types of beaches don't have any facilities. So on your way you stop at a souvenir shop to buy a cheap beach umbrella, a couple of towels and maybe a bit of entertainment for the kids. But it doesn’t feel right, because none of the gear you have bought is worth anything. And you already know you’re gonna leave it behind when it’s time to head home.
As a company whose entire business is to rent out vacation gear, we would say: Rent the gear instead.
But since we have only just started, how good is that advice? So far, we can only be found in Mallorca and Denmark. But who knows? That might be your destination this summer…
Until you can find Easygoing in more locations (we’re working hard on that), our best advice is to prioritize what is most important and then invest in good quality gear that is worth bringing back.
True, it might mean that you can’t do everything you want to do. But at least you will have some proper gear for your top priority activity, which makes the entire experience so much better.
Buy something you’ll actually put to use back home. Not just some useless symbolic figure.
Skip the big international chain stores. Instead buy something unique from a local brand to support the local economy.
Gear & Equipment
Avoid the cheap stuff from the nearest souvenir shop. Prioritize your wishes instead and buy quality gear.
- Jakob Gaard, Founder