Easiest Sustainable Travel Tips

Easiest Sustainable Travel Tips

This page contains affiliate links to products and tours that I have used for my own travels, purchased & enjoyed. Clicking these links does not cost you anything, however doing so will support Blue Eyed Compass and allow the site to continue.  THANK YOU!

Ready for the top 12 EASIEST sustainable travel tips?

        We’ve all heard the term of sustainability, and we’ve all seen the images of the burning Amazon rainforests, plastic-filled oceans and abuse towards animal videos.

        The turning point in all of this comes from your acknowledgment that it exists to actively doing something about it.

        There is a sliding scale for sustainable travel, and I don’t expect anyone to ‘cold turkey’ change their lifestyle. So to start I’ve put together my easiest and most useful tips and tricks for you. These will help you on your path to making a difference in the world.

Top 12 EASIEST Sustainable Travel Tips & Tricks

(1) Research!

This is so so simple to do. You don’t need to research every small detail about the destination, but you can easily research:

  • Which hotels have sustainable policies
  • How to get from the airport to your lodging using public transportation
  • The best local eateries
  • If the destination isn’t vegetarian-friendly or readily acceptable of your preferred diet needs (so you know you need to pack some healthy snacks)

By doing research, you are ensuring that when you arrive you are prepared and not resorting to less sustainable methods. Because if you’re jetlagged, you’ll be more likely to go the lazier route, which trust me, is rarely a fun, or affordable option.

(2) Don’t Litter

I don’t think this needs a further explanation, other than don’t be that a**hole who lazily let’s go of their garbage when walking around. Feel free to go one step further and pick up garbage if you see it to bring to a waste bin.

(3) Be Prepared

Always carry with you a reusable water bottle & cloth bags with you. This way you won’t need to purchase plastic water bottles or use the plastic bags so many vendors use worldwide.

(4) Avoid purchasing or eating unique species of animals

For example: crocodile handbags, kangaroo steaks.

While it may sound cool, most of the time these ‘local delicacies’ are born out of tourism and aren’t actually foods that locals are eating. And you never know (1) what conditions the animals are raised in for consumption and/or (2) if the hunting of these creatures is leading to extinction.

(5) Eat Locally

While Subways and McDonald’s can be quite convenient for travelers, they are also major polluters. By eating locally, you’ll be enjoying food that is much fresher and have an authentic travel experience, all while helping the environment and the local economy.

Did you know that sustainable travel is more than carrying a reusable water bottle? Learn what sustainable travel is here]

(6) Purchase Locally

This can mean purchasing local groceries at farmers markets or souvenirs that are handmade by locals. By doing this you’re supporting the local economy and avoiding mass-produced, poorly managed exports that are bad for the environment.

(7) Take Public Transportation

Public transportation is great because as a traveler you can learn about the destination even more. It’s also a challenge that every traveler should experience. You can learn a lot about a place by its public transportation system. Bonus is that it saves you a ton of money. 

You can also WALK! Not only is this a stellar way to keep in shape while traveling, walking helps eliminate transportation carbon emissions. Plus you’ll see so much more of your destination than you would from a car.

(8) Ask Questions

A wonderful aspect of traveling is learning something new. Whether it be about the destinations history or a local custom, like how to order at a coffee shop. Being inquisitive shows that you are respecting the place you are visiting.

*Another great way you can ask questions is asking your hotel staff what their plastic use, water, and food waste policies are. Being a curious traveler at the very least plants the seeds of these issues, which can provoke change. I’ll often leave these questions in my end of stay review or surveys.

(9) Offest your Flights Carbon Emissions

For every plane, you board there are carbon emissions that coincide with your flight. You can cheaply and proactively offset your carbon emissions to reputable groups that use the funds to help the environment in other ways. You can check my favorite places to do this here.

(10) Lose the Weight

I don’t mean your body weight, you’re beautiful just the way you are 🙂 What I mean is pack less. Packing less lightens the load on airplanes and energy in taxis (if you take one) which leads to lower fuel usage. Plus you’ll save money on luggage fees and won’t need to strain yourself lugging around heavy suitcases.

 

(11) Connect with Locals through Experiences & Excursions

There are so many fun excursions you can do and what better way to do them than with a local who knows the hidden gems of your destination and can answer any of your questions. You’re also most likely helping support them by giving the money directly back to them. You find great ideas with Walks and AirBnb Experiences.

 

(12) Raise the Bar

Hold yourself to a higher standard and be the most respectable version of yourself when you travel. I say this as an American, but multiple times I have had people from other countries quietly ask me if all Americans are the same; using not-so-great words like pompous and arrogant… and if we all wear cowboy hats and eat cheeseburgers every day.

Our international image is not the best, unfortunately, but you can be the person who changes someone’s negative preformed ideas to positive remembrances based on the way you carry yourself and how you respect the place and people you are visiting.

 

You can find more easy to do sustainable travel tips and travel guides here OR subscribe below to receive a monthly newsletter with travel updates!

Laura of Blue Eyed Compass, a Sustainable Travel Blog

Hi!  I’m Laura, a sustainable travel blogger & photographer, sharing real and honest information about travelling & how to do so sustainably

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What is Sustainable Travel

What is Sustainable Travel

This page contains affiliate links to products and tours that I have used for my own travels, purchased & enjoyed. Clicking these links does not cost you anything, however doing so will support Blue Eyed Compass and allow the site to continue.  THANK YOU!

        There is no better feeling than touching down in a new exotic location for a well-deserved vacation. I thrive off of that feeling of exploring a new place. And after many travel adventures that blissful feeling slowly fades away when considering the damaging mark, I may leave behind after all of my fun.

        This negativity doesn’t have to be the case though. Impactful, positive change is possible on an individual level, and it’s possible through sustainable travel.

Included in this post is:

  • The breakdown of popular environmental buzzwords
  • A description of what sustainable travel is
  • What sustainable travel is NOT
  • Why sustainable travel is important and
  • The benefits of sustainable travel

        There are a lot of buzzwords surrounding sustainable travel – climate change, environmentalism, green living – it can be difficult to understand what they all mean and how they play a part in our travels.

        So, what does sustainable travel mean?

        Well, it can mean many different things for many different people (sorry, you won’t find one singular clear answer here- but you will find a ton of easy to digest information)

I would like to start by thanking you for choosing to help make an even better and healthier planet. Even just by showing interest and reading this article is a wonderful start. Change doesn’t happen overnight, but if we make small adjustments and pursue personal growth then we can have an impact on an individual scale.

So, let’s get to it!

What is sustainable travel?

        As stated previously, sustainable travel has many names connotated around the subject. However, the basic premise of what sustainable travel means is to leave behind a positive impact, smaller energy footprint and influence progressive change before, during and after you travels in the environment, culture and location of your travels.

        Yowzahs, that’s a mouthful.

        And this mouthful is because sustainable travel doesn’t mean just one ‘thing’. It doesn’t fit into one definitive definition. It means something different to everyone. So I’ll do my best to break it down for you.

        We live during a time where many of the determining factors of our lives reside on a sliding scale; our sexuality, religion, political views, so it makes sense that our environmentalism and sustainable travels live on a sliding scale as well.

        Our focus for sustainable travel is on long term perseverance, avoiding harm, reducing our negative environmental impacts and utilizing replenishing resources.

UNWTO defines sustainable travel as “Tourism that takes full account of its current and future economic, social and environmental impacts, addressing the needs of visitors, the industry, the environment and host communities”

Terms you may recognize:

SUSTAINABLE

ECO-CONSCIOUS

ENVIRONMENTALISM

GREEN TRAVEL

Aren’t these terms all the same?

No!

        Collectively they are similar, but side by side they are different. The four terms you may see most often are:

  • Green Travel: green travel means focusing your travel efforts on ways to leave as minimal a carbon footprint as possible.

Example– walking instead of taking a taxi.

  • Responsible Travel: responsible travel means holding yourself and others accountable to respecting locals, destinations and the environment when traveling.

Example– not defacing historical landmarks by scratching your initials in.

  • Eco-Conscious Travel: eco-conscious travel means making economically conscious choices for the environment. It’s comparable to green travel.

Example– purchasing locally made souvenirs instead of something from a souvenir shop

  • Sustainable Travel: sustainable travel embodies all of the above terms and more while traveling in a way that doesn’t take away from the destination.

Consider sustainable travel as three passageways coming together:

  1. The Environmental Pillar: the Environmental pillar focuses on nature & wildlife we impact while traveling. It includes things such as our carbon footprint, water usage, waste (plastic and others) and respecting & maintaining natural habitats of wildlife.
  2. The Social Pillar: The Social pillar focuses on our impact to local people & their cultural communities. As travelers this means supporting locally owned businesses, NGOs and charities, and researching to make sure that wages are fair and work environments are safe.
  3. The Economic Pillar: The Economic pillar focuses on travelers spending money & supporting businesses during their trips for positive outcomes. By supporting locally run hotels, tours and restaurants we can uplift the local economy.

In short, sustainable travel is valuing mother nature, history, culture and respect above our own desires. It’s not just doing good, but also helping to educate others.

What sustainable travel is NOT:

        People tend to feel that sustainable travel means having to sacrifice parts of a vacation or their enjoyment. Or that it implies everyone should stay home and never travel. Neither of these are the case at all.

        Many destinations rely heavily on tourism cash flow. In fact, 1 in 12 jobs are based on tourism WORLDWIDE! And staying put at home only blocks personal growth and cultural understanding.

        Sustainable travel is not about limiting your vacation or trip to accommodate sustainable tactics, it’s about adding greater value. To you and those around you.

Many are quick to point fingers of blame at social media ‘influencers’ and blame them for overtourism (learn what Over Tourism means). And while some ‘influencers’ may need to absorb a lesson about respect and self-control, much of this issue is solely ignorance – ignorance means a lack of knowledge or understanding – they lack the know-how of not walking through unpaved areas, or climbing on roofs for that perfect shot.

Don’t be quick to place blame, instead be swift to help educate.

Unfortunately, there is a strong mindset that many feel, which I’ll call ‘just because I can/want to, I will’ (or I deserve to) 

  • Just because I’m able to flit from one destination to the next, means I will do so (at the expense of flight carbon emissions)
  • Just because I want to eat meat from the menu, I will (and not concern myself with it’s potential to endanger species and deforestation)
  • Just because I have the money to dish out, I will spend it wherever I feel is most convenient (instead of researching a more ethical option)

        Sustainable travel is not a poor man’s way of traveling, it can be whatever you want it to be.

        I’ve enjoyed traveling more luxuriously in nice resort hotels, and I sought out ones that focus on sustainable lodging tactics.

        I’ve treated myself to meals out at fancy local restaurants, and I researched ones that cook with their own fresh and local ingredients.

You don’t need to choose between one or the other.

Why is sustainable travel important?

        Or what I like to say, why should you give a crap about it?

        Sustainable travel is important because planet earth only has a finite amount of resources. As a species, humans have become accustomed to convenience. And this convenience has led to microplastics being found at the depths of our oceans, deforestation of one of a kind ecological systems (like the Amazon), air pollution and more.

        We’ll be leaving our homes in an unrecognizable planet for future generations

Find more of my best sustainable travel resources here!

        Does tourism change a place? Yes. But that is inevitable. If a location is not a sought-out destination yet, it most likely will be at some point no matter what sustainable travel choices we make. It’s up to us to ‘vote’ on how those destinations are built up with our spending habits.

        With an uptick in visitors, comes with it new hotels, tour buses, restaurants catered to the tourists, and much more.

        Most travels are not sustainable; airfare releases carbon emissions, all-inclusive resorts are built on natural habitats, money is the main focus not the longevity of the destination.

        Yet, if we choose to only stay at local residences (if you haven’t checked our AirBnb yet, here’s a discount code for you!), or hotels that focus on sustainable efforts, and only eat at local establishments, then we are voting in support of those ethical practices.

        Like I stated earlier, tourism can provide an annual living for many. So while it can bring with it a lot of destruction, tourism also has the capability to bring a lot of wonderful things as well.

Become a stellar sustainable traveler by following these TOP 12 Sustainable Travel Tips!

What are the benefits of sustainable tourism?

        What I love most about sustainable travel is that you can see the ripple effect of ethically spending your money.  Plus there are so many fun, plastic-free, gadgets that you get to tote around!

        One of the best benefits of sustainable travel is the understanding that you ARE making a difference. Your small steps to travel improvements are seen by those around you, even if you don’t notice it.

        We are gifted with the opportunity and options to protect the planet. So instead of acting without concern, let’s travel with purpose and enjoyment.

Heading for a LONG flight soon?

Check out these carry on items to ensure a comfortable flight

Laura of Blue Eyed Compass, a Sustainable Travel Blog

Hi!  I’m Laura, a sustainable travel blogger & photographer, sharing real and honest information about travelling & how to do so sustainably

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The Best Carry On Essentials

The Best Carry On Essentials

This page contains affiliate links to products and tours that I have used for my own travels, purchased & enjoyed. Clicking these links does not cost you anything, however doing so will support Blue Eyed Compass and allow the site to continue.  THANK YOU!

        Mastering air travel is one of the best feelings a traveler can have, and can be a difficult task even for the most avid traveler. We want to feel comfortable (especially if on a long haul flight) and also not feel weighed down by bringing too much and feeling squished in our seats.

        After years of trial and error I have finally built out a standard Carry On Essentials pack and checklist. Successfully packing just the correct amount and quality of items into my carry on purse or backpack, while also maintaining a sustainably positive impact.

        My carry on essentials include a mix of ‘things to do’ and comfort items – this way there is a provided distraction from the uncomfortable airplane seat and a feeling of ease knowing I’m treating my body with my health in mind. Every item on here has been tested by me or a close friend whose opinion I trust, and many are good for your health and the environment.

Carry On Essentials

For the Sustainable & Savvy Traveler

This page contains affiliate links to products and tours that I have used for my own travels, purchased & enjoyed. Clicking these links does not cost you anything, however doing so will support Blue Eyed Compass and allow the site to continue.  THANK YOU!

Toiletries

These toiletries are a wonderful combination of basic needs, a well maintained beauty routine, and a spa-like experience – because you might as well make your flight as conveniently fun as possible… without having to hire a massage therapist as your seat neighbor.

Chapstick / Lip Balm

Airplanes are notorious for making our skin dry. Think about it – hundreds of bodies are squished into a tiny space and the air is recycled over and over again to keep it breathable for those on board. A basic need for your toiletries bag should be chapstick.

Not all lip balms are created equal, and while I am still searching for THE perfect combination of quality versus sustainable (sustainable ownership and ingredients), I would suggest trying these out.

Facial Cleanser Wipes

It’s important to not wear makeup while flying. Having a fresh face prevents clogged pores, so start fresh when you board with these compostable face cleansing wipes by the brand Yes To..

SPF moisturizer

Sun exposure can be much greater when flying, so it’s important to keep your skin protected and prevent aging. Many make ups have some spf in them, but I always think it’s best to have a clean face, aka NO MAKEUP, when flying. I really enjoy Mario Badescu’s spf moisturizer, as it protects my skin, while moisturizing and doesn’t clog my pores (my skin leans towards an oily complexion). Plus! It comes in a travel compliant size.

*I have reached out to Mario Badescu about using less plastic for their containers. You can help sway opinions too as a valued customer to brands like this. Email them here!

Facial Spray

It’s good to refresh the moisture your face receives during a flight, so I often use one of these facial sprays from Mario Badescu every hour or two

Aloe, Cucumber and Rosewater Facial Sprayhttps://www.mariobadescu.com/product/facial-spray-trio-travel-edition

Jade Roller

When jade rollers first came out there was a mad rush for everyone to purchase one. While the trendy rush has died down, the value in using one hasn’t diminished. Using a jade roller while flying is great for allowing skincare products to absorb into your skin and it helps to eliminate puffiness (when your skin dries, your body tries to retain water, so it bloats). It’s like giving yourself a mini spa treatment and massage.

Lotion in Resuable containers

If your face needs moisture, so do your hands. Call me crazy, but I hate having dry, cracked hands, so I always try to bring lotion with me for flights. While there are small plastic lotions you can buy, I would suggest packing your preferred brand in a reusable container, like these silicone ones!

Lavender Oil

If you have anxiety or stress while traveling and/or difficulty trying to get some rest while flying, I would highly suggest utilizing the lulling power of lavender oil. Not only does lavender calm the nerves, it is a proven sleep aid (I use it at home regularly to calm down before sleeping).

*DoTerra is a stellar essential oil brand that Dr. Mariza Snyder recommends. Dr. Mariza wrote the book The Essential Oils Hormone Solution and she also recommends this brand for their sustainable efforts and quality of oils.

Deodorant

If you think you won’t smell after a flight you need to check yo’self. I’ll give you a statistic of which I’ve done my own personal research – 100% of the people flying on a plane will smell of body odor upon their exit of said plane. So packing deodorant in your carry on bag is a necessity.

And while we’ve all become accustomed to the major brands scents, many of those name brands are actually leading causes to breast cancer, so using a natural, aluminum free brand is vitally important.

I’m in the process of testing out multiple different brands, but so far have LOVED Lavanilla’s (especially their passion fruit scent, so unique!) It lasts for hours, unlike a few of the other all natural brands, and is conveniently sized for ease of traveling.

Here are a few other brands you could try out that I’ve heard great things about:

Corpus Third Rose – vegan, natural, no coconut (some people are allergic to coconut based deodorants) if you use this link you’ll receive $5 off your first order!

-Tarte’s Clean Queen Natural Deodorant

-Ursa Major Hoppin’ Fresh Deodorant

Comb

Keep your mane looking classy and comb it out using one of these shower combs. Just be sure not to toss your loose hairs on your neighbor.

Toothbrush & Paste

While mints are great for in between meals, if you’re on an overnight flight its a good idea to keep up your normal routine as much as possible, such as brushing your teeth. I really like the sustainable brand, Dirt Don’t Hurt Me, that also happens to be female owned AND in San Diego (hitting all of my happy points for supporting local businesses)

 

A totally compostable toothbrush (minus the bristles) and the tooth powder lasts forever and no TSA issue with liquids.

Blossom Cup

This one is for the ladies. Even if I’m not on my period, I always pack my blossom cup with me … because you never know. Just like you would pack extra tampons, but this is totally sustainable! Blossom Cups are awesome and while it takes a hot second to adjust they are way better for convenience overall.

Mini perfume

Step off your flight feeling fresh & frisky with some light perfume that you can spray as your leave the plane.

Hair clips

I use a basic brand of hair clips from Sally Beauty Salon, which I cannot find online. I love the claw clips I use, and as someone with thick, long hair, these hold my hair back no problem.

Hand sanitizer

Did you know your tray table is the most bacteria filled space in your airplane area?

Use hand sanitizer to prevent picking up anything icky from your seat.

Find more of my best sustainable travel resources here!

Electronics

Laptop (& Charger of course)

This is the exact Asus laptop that I own and I love it. I sought out a laptop that was light weight (for travel), could handle a lot of programs running at once, and would have excellent screen quality for photo editing. This laptop met all of those needs. And Yes, I ordered it on Amazon so I didn’t want a store clerk to try to sell me what he needs to get off of the sales floor.

For each flight, I try to have a course downloaded, some work to complete or photos to edit. So, find what would work best for you without having internet access.

Camera Gear & Cushioned Case

I always pack my camera gear with me as a part of my carry on because I don’t trust airline employees not to toss my bag to destruction (witnessing someone pull a bag so hard on a baggage conveyor until the bag tore into pieces was convincing enough).

I use the Sony a7 series mirrorless camera and I love it! I love the Sony brand for multiple reasons and will eventually put together a blog post with all of the reasons why, but just know that it’s great for both beginners and advanced photographers.

I also always pack my camera and lenses in this stellar shockproof padded case. Not only does it make it easy for me to see what I’m grabbing, but I feel comfortable knowing that it’s padded for protection.

Headphones

 Headphones are best chosen based on your personal preference – if you want the long string, in your ear style, or over the ear style like these Bose headphones. I’ve always enjoyed the over the ear type of headphones, and am in love with this cute color. Plus they last for awhile as opposed to those string ones (which are also easily lost).

Extra Charger/s

An extra charger should be a part of your regularly packed items regardless, but having one in your carry on is important if you need your phone fully charged as soon as you deplane.

The Mophie external charger is great for a smaller charger and fits in most purses, while this solar powered charger is perfect for many fitting inside of larger bags and is sustainable (solar!).

Travel Adapter

I’ve had my fair share of travel adapters, and I love the compactness & ease of use with the Castris Universal Adapter.

Plus you can use this to charge your laptop in a car with a cigarette lighter charger if you have a USB cord.

Entertainment

Movies & TV Shows downloaded

This isn’t exactly an item so much as something that is really smart to have saved onto your laptop

Sudoku or Puzzle Book

Having a small puzzle book is great for those moments where you don’t have the mindset to sit and read and can’t use your laptop. I love sudoku and this travel sized sudoku book.

Lightweight Book

Keeping our travel items on the lighter side, aim for smaller paperback books

Interested in learning more about Sustainable travel? Check these out

Comfort

Change of COMFORTABLE Clothes

I don’t understand how anyone can dress in professional attire when flying. At the very least you can dress nice for the airport and change on the plane.

Most likely your outfit will not help you be upgraded to first or business class. Those upgrades are reserved for those status holding flyers.

I have officially found the most comfortable outfit to wear on a plane – this cotton jumpsuit. I cannot recommend this jumpsuit enough. You can style it to look cute, and feel like you’re wearing pajamas. I have it in two colors and have worn it on my past few flights, and will probably continue to do so.

Foot Rest

This is THE best travel related purchase I have ever made (next to this jumpsuit), especially for overnight travel. If you have short legs and a red eye flight having a foot rest comes in clutch. It allows more comfortable rest and prevents lower back pain.

Extra Socks

Just as your skin bloats to retain moisture while flying, your legs will bloat from lack of movement and the air pressure, so compression socks are key for preventing blood clots and avoiding swollen ankles when you land.

Even if your flight isn’t too long, I would suggest packing a pair of warm socks for the flight. For every flight I take I always put on wool socks to keep my tootsies nice and warm. And please don’t be that person that puts their barefoot on the chair in front of them! Just wear socks.

Slide on Sandals

If you’re like me, and you stand up every 2-3 hours on a flight to move around. If you wear sneakers or boots you’ll have to gear back up each time you stand up. Which is why I love these sandals – you can easily slide into them. Plus they’re cute and comfortable for everyday wear.

*These aren’t the exact sandals that I have, as they don’t carry them anymore but I like this Dolce Vita brand. There sandals have always been comfortable for me.

Extra Undies

 Do I need to explain this? Change your undies after a few hours. Hello hygiene.

Eye Mask & Earplugs

These bad boys are always in my carry on bag because you never know if you’ll need them at your destination. What’s great about this eye mask is that it’s contoured so they won’t squish your eyes or lashes, and they come with ear plugs.

Travel Pillow

I’ve had my travel pillow for years & can’t find it online, but if I needed to purchase a new one, I’d go with this- its versatility means you could use it as a mini body pillow for when you arrive

Comfy Scarf

Airplanes range in cabin temperature, so it’s best to prepare for this by wearing a cozy scarf. If it’s large enough it can function as a blanket or bunched up pillow. And if it’s too hot on the plane, you can easily store it in the overhead bins.

Reusable & Collapsible Mug

I love these collapsible silicone to go mugs. They’re small enough to fit in my purse and are super easy to clean, so when I finish my drink I can quickly rinse it out and fold it back up.

Reusable Water Bottle

Most airports now have water bottle filling stations, so pack an empty reusable water bottle and fill it up once you’re through security. Not only will this help you from spending money for water bottles at the airport, but you’ll also be participating in the number one way to reduce single use plastics!

(Because you won’t need to use the dang plastic cups airlines give out for their beverages. I’ve never had an issue asking a flight attendant to fill up my water bottle when I ask during those beverage carts run throughs.)

The bottle linked is a pricier water bottle and if you are prone to losing things maybe purchase yourself a less expensive one. However, I’ve had friends use this water bottle brand and love it. Larq uses UV light to clean any water inside of it of 99.9% of any chemicals or bacteria.

Cup Holder

If you’re like my boo, you have a lot going on at your tray table – laptop, headphones, books, hot coffee, etc. These cup holders are fantastic for creating a more convenient space without the potential of spilling hot coffee on all over your items. Since we’ve purchased ours they’ve upgraded the item to be able to support small devices for screen watching too!

Reusable Tote Bag

Pack one to two cloth bags into your carry on bag. You never know when you might make a purchase while wandering through airports. I almost always use these for food that I pack with me or buy at airports instead of using a dreaded plastic bag.

Snacks & Meals

If you’re looking to save yourself some money while traveling then pack some of your own food. Airports are known for having pricier than average food options.

And while sometimes it’s unavoidable to purchase food at an airport (ever experienced 30 hours of flying with layovers at random times of the day? Sometimes to survive those crazy travel days you need to treat yo’self to some yummy goodies.)

Here are a few items I typically pack for myself and for Marcus:

  • vegan protein bars; Lara bars
  • fruit (if not international)
  • pb&j sandwich
  • subway sandwich
  • dried fruit
  • pretzels
  • peanut butter stuffed dates covered in dark chocolate (homemade)
  • dark chocolate

Medical

I have a small tupperware container where I pack different medicines for my trips. Keeping these with you on the flight is convenient in case you suddenly feel a migraine coming on or the start of a cold.

  • ibuprofen; I’m not a huge fan of taking medications (unless I’m crazy sick) but you never know when a bug will perk up or a migraine may hit)
  • dayquil
  • melatonin; A great sleep aid for those who can benefit from it. I personally can’t use Melatonin as it gives me vivid dreams that I cannot wake up from.
  • traveler’s probiotic; since I can’t bring kombucha on planes, I pack a traveler’s probiotic. I pack one to take every other day during my travels. And bonus points because this brand comes in a glass bottle!
  • Visine
  • band aids

Misc & Good to Have’s

  • Reusable Tote Bag
  • Pen & pencil
  • Business cards – You never know who you’ll meet while traveling
  • Passport – Duh… haha
  • Screenshots of your reservation info for flights, transport & hotel/lodging

Breath Mints

Find a mint brand that you like and keep some in your toiletries bag. Your seat neighbor will be happy they aren’t sitting next to anyone too smelly (more anti-stank items are below haha)

Blue Light Glasses

These are the blue light prevention glasses that I have and I love them. I’ll be honest, I initially purchased three different pairs from different companies so that I could see how they looked on my face, and these were my absolute favorite.

Bonus- Amber Eyewear comes with a nice sturdy case and cleaning pad for their glasses. 

Bonus #2- If you have an HSA, these glasses can be reimbursed through it!

*They had some plastic packaging that I emailed their customer support about. Their response was quick and I was told they are currently working on transitioning from plastic. If you purchase glasses from them and see they use plastic, email them. The more valued customers who raise their voice on sustainable efforts will make an impact on their corporate decision making.

This page contains affiliate links to products and tours that I have used for my own travels, purchased & enjoyed. Clicking these links does not cost you anything, however doing so will support Blue Eyed Compass and allow the site to continue.  THANK YOU!

Laura of Blue Eyed Compass, a Sustainable Travel Blog

Hi!  I’m Laura, a sustainable travel blogger & photographer, sharing real and honest information about travelling & how to do so sustainably

Follow Along!

Start your own blog today!

Set up your blog today by using my discount code for Bluehost – Click the image to get started.

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Fish Consumption in Japan

Fish Consumption in Japan

A discussion on the fish consumption rates in Japan. How much is too much & can our oceans recover?

        “I wonder how much seafood Japan consumes?” A question I continually asked myself while visiting Tokyo, Japan in November 2018 (this was also my first visit to Asia).

        Can the blame of certain fish species population depletions be placed solely on Japan?  Do the Japanese over consume seafood? It’s said that one out of every ten fish is consumed in Japan, which rings true as the worldwide view of the Japanese diet is based around its affinity to create incredibly delicious sushi.  So with an amazingly popular dish and a unique culture that millions of visitors want to experience each year, why should we care if there may be an overconsumption of seafood in Japan?

        Seafood is a top provider of protein for diets around the globe.  As more and more people turn away from red meats heart health problems, seafood is seen as a healthy conscious choice.  The fishing industry provides jobs for millions of people around the world, as in over 200 million jobs. This means that almost 3% of the entire world’s population is affected by the fishing industry.

        For decades fishing seemed like an endless opportunity in our oceans, yet overconsumption and unregulated fishing practices have pushed many species to the brink of extinction.  Most notably, the torpedo shaped bluefin tuna, which Japan is the largest consumer of, is a highly sought after endangered species. Oddly enough, we shake our fingers at poachers of endangered rhino species and sign petitions to end dog meat trades, yet are comfortable ordering a plate of sushi that offers an endangered fish.  Please keep in mind, the first two are terrible, this statement is merely aiming at opening your perspective in a new way and in no way trying to place negative opinions on those who consumer fish or undervalue the atrocity of other species killings and abuse.

So, how much is too much fish consumption for Japan?

        Japan is one of the dominant importers of seafood.  Japan’s fishing industry is focused on feeding Japan, with 90% of its caught seafood consumed domestically, and importing the remainder from the United States and South America.  Due to their high consumption of seafood, they are one of a few countries who look to sustainably source their fish, however it’s an uphill battle. It was only in 2017 that agreements were haphazardly agreed upon to structure the fishing of the most popular fish sold worldwide, the bluefin tuna.  

[The population of tuna has been depleted by about 97% due to overfishing and has become a billion dollar industry.  In fact, each year there is a New Years tuna auction in Tokyo. This year, 2019, the winning bidder won with a record high $3.1 million!  Talk about a supply and demand market that is a perfect example for economics professors to use in their lecture halls.]

            Japan is now highly engaged in improvements with plans to rebuild the Pacific bluefin stocks, with a target to regain up to 20% of historic levels by 2034.  Their Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry & Fisheries has said that fish consumption is down from 2001’s high of 40.7kg to 24.6kg consumed per person each year.  (Considering part of this could be due to Japan’s younger generation now having access to other options such as beef and poultry.)

            With the help of the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC), fisheries now have access to evaluations and strategies to implement more sustainable tactics.  It is clear there is a need to conserve the ocean’s ecosystem and maintain a healthy balance from low lying plankton to large predators, and also preserve the jobs of millions.  Greenpeace compares this all to ‘simple housekeeping’ that I feel needs quite a bit of regulation and accountability. Luckily there is the Sustainable Fisheries Partnership who has the T75 goal, where 75 % of all fishing will be done sustainably by the end of 2020 (fisheries must be certified by the MSC).

              For a typical consumer it feels overwhelming to consider the ramifications of the interests of business owners overpowering the needs of our environment.  You can help make a difference by using your money as your ‘vote’.

      • Only purchase sustainable seafood from brands who only sell seafood with a certified MSC blue label.  This is currently the most trustworthy and widely known label for sustainable seafood
      • Support restaurants that are MSC certified; even asking if they provide MSC certified sustainable seafood will help.  Think about it this way- if enough people ask a restaurant if they sell sustainably certified seafood then they will look into, and hopefully, transition to it.

                The question of whether Japan consumers too much fish is a difficult one to properly answer, especially because I don’t believe we fully understand the impacts of the oceans shifting biodiversity.  The actions needed to be taken should be based around how we fish around the world, the retail and food services industries seafood choices and higher consumer standards.

          [If you’re planning a trip to Japan, then be sure to check these posts about Japanese culture & my First Timers Guide to Tokyo]

            Citations:

            IWC “The IWC is the global body charged with the conservation of whales and the management of whaling.  The IWC currently has 89 member governments from countries all over the world.

            The Commission’s role has expanded since its establishment in 1946.  In addition to regulation of whaling, today’s IWC works to address a wide range of conservation issues including bycatch and entanglement, ocean noise, pollution and debris, collision between whales and ships, and sustainable whale watching.”

             

            Organizations you can support to help with ocean conservation:

            -WWF

            -Greenpeace

            -Marine Stewardship Council

            -Sustainable Fishering Partnership

              Laura of Blue Eyed Compass, a Sustainable Travel Blog

              Hi!  I’m Laura, a sustainable travel blogger & photographer, sharing real and honest information about travelling & how to do so sustainably

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              23 Ways to Help Prevent Overtourism

              23 Ways to Help Prevent Overtourism

              Welcome to the second part of Blue Eyed Compass’s Over Tourism series discussing what you can do to prevent over tourism!  The previous post discussed what over tourism is, and its cause and effect on residents, visitors and the place itself.  It can be easier to discuss what the issue is, yet awareness is only half of the battle. It’s important to know ways that you can enjoy your well deserved travels while also creating a positive impact on the tourism industry.

              Here are ways that our governments and ourselves can help to prevent over tourism from creating a worse situation:

              Ways that governments can help prevent over tourism

              (1) Accurately tally & report tourism numbers based on type of visitors; for example cruise ship attendees, resort guests, backpackers, etc.  Having accurate numbers will help determine what future actions need to be implemented

              (2) Edit the ‘perception gap’ of destination management

              Geez, I’m proud of myself for using ‘big’ words (haha), perception gap in terms of over tourism means the gap of governments concern for the quality of their destinations → over their desire for more revenue from the industry

              Governments often think about where the money comes from in tourism, like developers, infrastructure, agencies, etc. instead of remembering that the ultimate tourism product is the actual place itself which ties into the next point:  Tweaking their outlook from more tourism is better, to better tourism is better could be very helpful.

              (3) Use holistic management models.

              Implement regulations that effectively impact the environment, economic, social and cultural issues.  After doing some research, it’s noticeable that irresponsible business practices lead to benefits that are too selective, which then doesn’t motivate anyone to protect things, which creates difficult obstacles for those who do wish to protect places based on legal, political and/or financial problems

              Examples of destinations tourism goals:

              San Diego: San Diego put into place a 20+ year plan in 2017 called ‘Experience San Diego Destination 2040’.  Their plan is to raise $1.3 billion in its first five years based on an increase in hotels tax rates.

              Is this plan good? YES! Because the funding goes back into the city to repair roads, work on infrastructure, etc

               

              Peru: Promperu, the agency of the Ministry of Foreign Trade and Tourism Specialized Technical Agency, predicted a 43% growth of inbound tourism in 2016

              China: in 2015, the Chinese people took 100 million outbound trips, and are predicted to take 160 million outbound trips in 2020.  This makes China the world’s largest outbound tourism market

               

              I had difficulty finding specifics for many locations on ways that this tourism would benefit the destinations and/or the residents there (if you are able to find any distinct details please share!  I would love to know more)

              (4) Governments can include the residents & caretakers of the place in their conversations

              The locals see the impacts on a place first hand and understand best how to support it.  Bridging the gap between these two is vital for the elimination of over tourism.

              (5) Improve visitor management by regulating tourism

              Examples of this are already being done in these places:

              • Gorilla tracking in Uganda, Africa; visitors are required to pay for an expensive permit to do so, which limits the number of people going into the forest to see gorillas
              • Havasupai Falls in Arizona, USA requires hikers and campers to obtain a limited number of permits.
              • Japan is enforcing new regulations on AirBnbs once the 2020 Olympics are over so they can ensure certain requirements are met, and therefore limit the amount of vacation rentals
              • Iceland AirBnbs are now limited to being in use for only 90 days per year
              • The Azores have limited number of hotel rooms available & are working towards becoming a certified as a ‘sustainable tourism region’

              (5) Raise prices (cautiously)

              • Bhutan’s solution to maintaining their culture is to require visitors to pay $200-$250/day just to be in the country & requires you book your trip through a government accredited travel agency
              • It’s imperative to raise prices cautiously because if prices increase too much and only the very wealthy can afford them, then the culture, history & nature of a place can become the private property of the wealthy & they’ll be the only ones concerned with protecting it
              • *consider this tactic this way: Apple iPhones are expensive, but those who really want it will pay for it, I believe the same could be possible for high tourism cities

              (6) Disperse visitors & spread their visitation over time by coordinating with a nearby city to spread economic benefits

              The Alhambra & Grenada, Spain currently do this by having timed tickets for the palace, so that visitors can spend time enjoying the city

              (7) Limit the number of visitors to a place

              (8) Have timed ticket admission

              (9) Favor longer stays over day trippers

              (10) Ban tour buses OR design a certain number of routes that run on a lottery of directions to prevent bottlenecking traffic

              (11) Channel people into spaces that are designed to be trafficked (this could be great for outdoor spaces)

              Ways that WE can help prevent over tourism

              (12) Visit unique places that are off the beaten path

              While major destinations may be overrun, remember there is beauty & diversity at the ‘under the radar’ places.  The world is stil a big place filled with natural wonders. Here are a few places I would suggest:

              • Norway
              • The Azores
              • Kennet Canals, England
              • South Wales, Australia
              • Slovenia, Ljubliana
              • Sierra Gorda, Mexico

              (13) Go outside of the major cities

              There are less people there & those small towns may very well welcome you with open arms, plus you’ll have a more realistic experience on what daily life looks like there

              (14) Travel during the ‘off’ season, aka ‘shoulder season’

              • Doing so will allow you avoid inflated prices, long queues & herding crowds
              • I would suggest aiming to visit right before or after peak season

              (15) Be respectful & check your entitlement

              Yes, this may mean changing your attitude, however having a little respect to the people & place goes a long way for those who are living in a famous destination and are frustrated with tourists impolite & self entitled attitudes.  And if you see this behavior in your fellow travelers, speak up. Often times we may not notice when we need to check out entitlement at the door

              (16) Open your eyes

              Instead of going on a vacation to turn away from the stresses of your life at home, and then also looking away while traveling, open your eyes to what you are seeing & be present.  Take note of what people are doing, is it respectful? Ask yourself, “Can I do better?”

              Think about it this way, if you were being paid to stay in a nice resort, eating for free & having concierges look after your every need, you would most likely spread wonderful words about it to everyone you meet

              The idea behind this tactic is simple marketing, and it’s of course fine.  However, as a reader & possibly as a traveler, make your own conclusion about a place & try not to base your travels on the word of those being paid to say good things

              This could lead to becoming an ethical travel writer – so many travelers are PAID to write about a destination by the same place that they are visiting, so their perspective can be skewed.

              (17) Avoid geo-tagging and adding your location to social media in fragile environments

              As much we want to share the hidden beauty of a place, oftentimes it’s become that beautiful because of the lack of human interaction.  Leave a little mystery to your audience.

              (18) Come prepared

              • Ask yourself why you want to visit a destination – is it because you want to truly experience the place, or are you looking to take a great picture that you saw some Instagrammers shoot pictures at?
              • Prevent the creation of further waste – find responsible local restaurants ahead of time, bring your own reusable water bottle & cloth bags for shopping, and even pick up trash you see on the ground if you can.  With large crowds come lots of trash, so limit how much waste you create

              Leave No Trace! is a set of principles for those venturing outdoors.  You can see their list of principles here.

              (19) Worry less about that perfect picture

              Many travelers will ignore roped off areas or boundaries to be able to capture themselves in a perfect picture.  However, those boundaries are these for you protection & for the environments Imagine if all 2 million tourists visiting Iceland every year walked over the roped off areas of their fragile land (which has been happening much more frequently), the reasons everyone began visiting Iceland – for its beautiful nature -will become mud pits from everyone’s shoes.

              (20) Focus on Quality over Quantity

              This is behavioral and based on what you, as a traveler, prefer – is it true travel experiences or snap & run selfie stick vacations?  Is it better to save yourself money on a cheap fast food dinner, or spend more on a fine dining experience?

              (21) Local local local

              • Eat local produce
              • Stay at a local guest house or a hotel with eco-friendly missions & recycling programs

              (22) Share with others their environmental impact while traveling

              Many aren’t aware of the issues at hand and the fragility of the destinations they visit.  I only stopped using single use plastic last year, and the friends I’ve seen pay to pet baby tigers only now know it’s horrible after I’ve told them how the animals are treated.  Sharing your experience & know how can help to create a larger community, and you never know what you can learn from others.

              (23) Continue traveling!

              This list of tips is meant to broaden your knowledge & provide insight into the travelers world.  Of course you should continue to travel, but now you are prepared to do so responsibly, so travel & enjoy!

                      We all should rethink how we develop tourism and how we travel.  We cannot possibly fit an infinite number of people into finite spaces. And while there is no sole solution, there isn’t a  sole cause either. The more the tourism industry refines itself for each destination, the more people will feel comfortable coming to visit.  And just like we shouldn’t consume mass produced processed foods, we shouldn’t be mindlessly travelers. So, what do you think? Do you think over tourism is even an issue?  If so, do you have any additional tips or tricks to help protect the world?

              Interested in learning more about Overtourism?

              Here are a few resources for you to explore!

              *Be sure to read about what Overtourism is HERE

              *Overbooked by Elizabeth Becker

              *Crowded Out

              *EarthCheck – A group that created scientific benchmarking for destinations to follow in order to be considered sustainable.  This link has tons of different topics & resources to dive into

              *Sustainable Destinations Top 100 list, 2018

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