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Travel Tips For Conscious Jet Setters

April 16, 2018

Unless you’ve been holed up in a remote ashram for the last year or so, you'll have noticed that it’s never been more crucial to lead a more sustainable life. But, between lowering our carbon footprint, understanding where our clothes genuinely come from and trying to eliminate plastic from our everyday lives, it’s hard to know where to start.

For frequent flyers who would like to travel more consciously there are a few easy places to begin. From supporting local artisans to asking the right questions, Compare Retreats' Dervla Louli provides a few tips on how to travel ‘well’ in every sense of the word.

Book Into a Green Boutique 

Sometimes nothing can beat the reliable comfort of a large five-star hotel chain, but if you’re looking for character and a truly local experience, check into an independent boutique hotel. Individually-owned luxury hotels like the ones in the Relais & Châteaux collection often incorporate locally-sourced materials, work by local artisans, and organic food farmed in the region into their properties. Local-level tourism ensures that your money is staying in the country you’re going to and supporting people who need it the most. To go one step further, ask the hotel a few questions before you book to check how ‘green’ it is. Queries about the percentage of local people employed, contribution to the local community and plastic-reduction initiatives are useful in guiding your decision to stay.

Read more: London Hotels to Bed Down in This Spring

Research Before You Fly

I was about to hop on a plane to Burma for Easter to tick the Bagan hot-air balloons off my bucket list. I casually mentioned it to a friend who reminded me of the humanitarian crisis happening in the country… a quick Google later and I was knee-deep in articles discussing the Myanmar government's involvement in the mass genocide in the Rakhine State. Every visitor has to pay the government to gain entry into Burma, and I didn’t want to support them – so swapped hot-air balloons for scuba diving and booked a trip elsewhere. The internet has made it easy to access information so do some due diligence before you fly.

Shop Locally

My favourite part of travelling (second to exploring) is hunting for goods by top local designers and artisans and discovering take-home treasures in markets and bazaars. I usually WhatsApp fashion friends for tips, and LUXE City Guides are great for shopping intel: a longtime champion of indie retail, they’ll tell you the names you need to know, and the best spots to shop before you go.

Try to avoid going into large shopping malls or chain stores that you can find anywhere in the world and check out little boutiques and handmade goods; by investing your money locally, you’re supporting people and businesses who need it most. Stock up on batik fabric in Bali, leather sandals in Capri, 100% Egyptian cotton in Cairo, jewels in India, Waterford Crystal in Ireland, Boucherouite carpets in Morocco, vintage jewellery in Paris… and so on. Should Australia, Africa and South America be on your radar for an upcoming trip, be sure to take an extra suitcase for all of your fashion finds.

Read more: 8 Top Shops in Istanbul's Grand Bazaar

Bring Your Own Water Bottle and Wash Bag

The stigma surrounding plastic bags, bottles, coffee-cup lids, and straws is growing at a rapid pace, and it’s never been more unfashionable to be seen toting a plastic water bottle. Insiders sip on Swell’s insulated stainless steel water bottles in a variety of colours and patterns. My favourite is the rose gold version that elevates the humble water bottle up a notch; my husband and brother both like the carbon black. Make sure it’s empty when you go through security and fill it up at a water station before you board your flight. I also ignore the Ziplock bags handed out at security and put my own wash bag on a tray – 99% of the time it goes through without any problem as long as everything inside is less than 100ml.

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