How was your holiday at the end of 2016? I’m pretty much sure each of you has your own way to spend those days. I started mine earlier actually, second week on December. I was staying in Sydney for 8 days spent with my best friend. Well, I didn’t really prepare for the itinerary, luckily she did – Thanks Rin! – because she is, every destination just fit on me very well. The next day right after I arrived, we went to Jervis bay with the other girls, it was a road trip, I was so excited! On our way back to Sydney, we stop for ice coffee at Berry, a small cute town in New South Wales. The rest, taking a coastal walk from Cogee to Bondi, visiting city parks, sustainable products hunting at Newtown, bay hoping, visiting many other places & having activities I was happy about.
Take a break from your routines will energize yourself, but somehow holiday activities not significantly different with your daily activities regarding the amount of waste we generate, the carbon footprints that we leave and any other environmental impacts we made. I didn’t mean to make you feel disruptive by these kind of things, but let’s begin this super light topic.
More activities, more impacts. For instance, when we go to places for new traveling experiences, then we must be eat some food, buy things, use toilet papers, straws, disposable cups, and more things which are disposable or single use and more. All in all, we can still do those common things easily with smaller unwanted impacts. Here we can put some sustainable efforts in our holiday planning – from each part: economy, social, and environment. I tried to list them down by capturing some story from my own.
Plan your budget, save your savings
Always! This is highly recommended. You can plan it first, how many times you could buy your meals each day, the affordable price you want, what transportation you choose, what things you need to buy – I said need, and what kind of activities to spend more money on. My last experience, I counted everything before, so I wouldn’t run out of money in the middle of my trip, this also kept me to be more selective on buying and consuming things, and eventually it kept my savings spent on the track.
Buy local and wisely
As you plan your budget for the trip, you’ll know what to buy and what not to. Here, if you want to buy things, yes, buy locals. It is uniquely from its place, low carbon footprints – because they don’t ship that far, and it is commonly quite cheap. I found one stop shop of Eco-lifestyle products in Newtown and bought organic soaps and compostable sponge as I really need them, I was sooo overwhelm there! I personally don’t think that you should buy some souvenirs for everyone in your hometown; just pick some for the closest ones and who actually really need those stuffs. First you can save your money, second you’ll reduce your waste after.
Choose outdoor or and pay less activities
If you travel to a new place, spend several days and manage some activities, choose outdoor ones! First two days, we took a road trip to Jervis Bay, enjoying the view provided by the nature – never got wrong, visiting small cities and super cool University of Wollongong. The rest, I chose National Park, there are a lot to do in Australia, like I did only in Sydney Harbour National Park, hoping to Watson Bay, walked the easy track to find the historical Hornby Lighthouse and its magical views. I also spent most of the time in city, visiting National Library, going to the oldest part in Sydney The Rocks, exploring Newton, Cooge – Bondi coastal walk, morning run in Sydney Park, Bondi beach sightseeing or even just having coffee or hot chocolate in small cafes. A lot to do, many things I got. Firstly, it is relaxing and refreshing to get outside. Second, many ideas you could find as activities like I told you a glimpse about my previous trip. I think some places have free entry – and it was, to that kind of places, or only pay less you can enjoy the places!
Do what makes you happy
Obviously everyone’s aim by having a holiday! Let yourself think which holiday activities that makes you feel happy and relax. Choose interesting activities, not too much or packed each day, slow holiday, and have enough rest for the next day. I believe you’ll feel fresher after the holiday – not get tired or even sick. I told you previously, I did most of my activities outdoor and felt so good about it. Morning run at city park already made my day.
Stay or go with someone who lives there
What motivates me to travel is living the new experiences, new places, and its cultures. Get to know places better, the richer I feel. If you have any colleagues, close friend or even just contacting someone from trusted haiehtraveling social media to have you there, it will be very nice! They may find us several different places than others visits, they could explain us its culture, they could get us local meals – with the best taste of it, bring us to place to buy things cheaper and in good quality and any other unexpected activities. Anyways, I asked her to bring me several specific places and she made it! I really wanted to buy things in organics shop, check their local bulk shop, visited sustainability center even it was a rainy day and we walked a lot, it was very kind of her. I would very recommend this especially to anyone who seeks for new and unique experiences.
Bring your own bag
Talked about shopping in your trip, you can ignore plastic bag when you buy things! And it is just because you bring your own reusable bag everywhere. I kept my shopping bag light and the foldable one, put in my carry-on or sling bag and unfolded it into its exact size whenever I need it. When I got back to the place I stayed, put stuff I bought in my luggage or travel bag and fold it again, then I bring it again for the next day! Isn’t that hard right?
Bring your own bottle everywhere
It is exactly the same thing to your reusable bag; bring your own water bottle everywhere! First you can bring your water everywhere, fill it whit tap water if any – because other countries provides it, second you can buy ice coffee filled up in yours to leave single use. With this effort you can reduce paper cups or plastic bottle waste!
Bring your own food container and reusable straw
A single use straw may look small and easy stuff, but then it’s still single use plastic and somehow goes to the environment which causing bad impacts. They are often found in the sea as marine debris and kill its creatures. We can help by bring our own reusable straw everywhere, mine is stainless-steel one. I didn’t need to ask for straw in restaurants or cafes and luckily they allowed me to got my straw washed after. What a nice little step to help.
Use public transports
While your staying in another city, you must be need to mobilize. Use public ones! It is obviously cheaper, more challenging, more local and lower carbon footprints. I frequently used the bus actually, there in Sydney they have transport integrated card, named OPAL, which I could re-buy the credits repetitively anywhere – in small stores, supermarket and more. I said it is integrated because in my experience I could use it for bus, train, tram or light rail and even ferry for bay hoping in Sydney Harbour National Park! You know what? I spent only around 5o AUSD for 8 days! Comparing to spend my money on phone credits, it would be similar in spending but less in benefit – Yes, I decided to use only Wi-Fi connections. I think it was a good deal for a tourist who was seeking for places each day. I really enjoyed the city and felt like truly live in even it was just a holiday trip.
Trash in the right bins
I guess separated bins are common in some cities or countries, as I saw there in each house, they divide it into recyclable waste in a yellow bin, general waste in red bin, and as an option they also have a green one for garden organic. When I was staying in Sydney, I realized that I was fully responsible to put my own waste in to the right one; well we are so helpful if we do so. They build some efforts to be a sustainable city so I should support it in a way, as these things were around my holiday.
Those are some little steps to have a happier sustainable holiday; I could say that every point is actually interconnected. That is why I called it sustainable and you really free to add any other efforts on your own. Shall we start again soon? Absolutely, yes!
This is how I recalled my last trip experiences in Australia. I guess a bit different from the other traveling stories, but I hope it’s still interesting.