Maybe you can’t pay more to help an airline’s carbon offset program, maybe you can’t afford that super awesome ecohotel in Tulum that didn’t tear down a single tree during construction, maybe you can’t buy all the stuff at the organic store next to your hostel.
I feel your pain but i’m also here to tell you that there are ways for you to actually SAVE money while still being a conscious traveler. Sometimes, life gives you that little bit of honey to pour into your liquor.
What honey, you ask? This honey:
1. Couchsurf and Airbnb:
Couchsurfing gets you free accomodation, and the chance to make local friends. If’ you’re not completely comfy with the idea of staying at a stranger’s try Airbnb. Why is this sustainable budget travel? Well, a lot of the times Airbnb is cheaper* than hotels and hostels (obviously so is couchsurfing), and you’re either supporting the local economy or sticking it to necessary consumerism and paying for your host’s kindness with conversation, wine, and possible friendship. YAY!
*Airbnb is also a great alternative for budget travelers who have allergies
2. Carry a reusable water bottle:
Whenever possible* say no to plastic water bottles, which are absolutely crappy for the environment, and mostly come from companies that are, at best, exploiting the country’s resources, and, at worst, responsible for murders within the country…yeah, it’s exactly as awful as it sounds. Buy a reusable water bottle and fill that bad boy all day long with FREE tap water, wohoooo!!!!
*There are some countries in which you most definitely don’t wanna drink tap water. Leah from Went Looking, suggested boiling tap water and cooling it before drinking it, and/or buying portable water filters.
3. Don’t support the exploitation of animals:
I know we all are dying for that pic of us holding an elephant in Thailand by the tusk, but your instagram will survive without it. You know who probably won’t survive? The elephant. Yeah.
While there are legitimate ways to experience your love of animals while you travel (like volunteering at an animal rescue shelter in India), most of the animals seen in tourist attractions are not well-cared for, and are grossly mistreated. Would you give money to someone who kicks dogs? If you would, get off my blog. If you wouldn’t, then please don’t support this while you travel!
Wanna know the best part? You’ll save money by not spending it on this shit, it’s a WIN WIN!!
4. Go to local markets:
Cooking is one of the best ways to save money while traveling, and going to local markets is the best way to get groceries. Not only will you be experiencing an awesome and interesting part of the everyday life of the country you’re visiting, you will also be supporting the local economy (instead of say, giant multinational brands you find at grocery stores), and finding products for cheaper!!
5. Use a menstrual cup:
I have some issues with menstrual cups which I won’t get into, but as far as sustainable, cheap travel goes, it’s the best thing out there. Not only is it an investment that will last you for a looong time, it is also reusable, which means you will be able to save money and symbolically hug mother nature at the same time.
I know, I know, it’s a beautiful thing!
6. Consider different modes of transportation:
I’ll confess something that will make me loose some hipster points: I suck at riding bikes.
However, if you’re not limited by your total inability to coordinate movements, you should think about renting a bike to explore your destination. If you’re like me, walking is an awesome option that will also let you take your time to explore all the details of what’s around you.
Beyond exploring your destination itself, you can also consider different ways to get there: Take a train or a bus instead of a plane if you can, or even consider hoping on a boat and testing the adventurer within you.
7. Get a job while you travel:
Traveling is a privilege, and being able to travel at a pace that allows you to work while you do it is an even bigger one. However, if you’re able to, this is probably the best way to travel consciously, and offset your costs significantly.
Working at a hostel/restaurant/wherever while you travel will help you MAKE money while you travel and, again, experience the culture in a more respectful and profound way. You’ll get to go to local markets, make local friends, use different kinds of transportation, and travel slowly. It’s the perfect plan!
If you’re more concerned about not spending all your savings than about actually making money, consider awesome options like Woofing and Workaway, in which you, once again, give the finger to consumer society and exchange work for food and lodging instead of money *gasp!*
Now that you’ve read this whole list, you might as well hop on over and read about how to travel cheaply around Europe (Yes, it IS possible!)
What are some of the ways in which you travel more consciously? Do you have other tips on how to travel both consciously and cheaply?