How to become a responsible traveller

Last year, the UN General Assembly declared 2017 as the International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development; and since then there has been much more emphasis on Responsible Tourism. We all share this beautiful world that we live in and it is important that we treat it with care especially when travelling. Some are more fortunate than others to live in developed areas where the culture of travel is not as sustainable as it should be. Responsible travel is now high on the agenda and hopefully this will give you a few ideas as to how you can become a responsible traveller.

 

Tourism is today the 3rd largest export industry in the world after chemicals and fuels. It brings hope, prosperity and understanding to so many lives and livelihoods all over the world. In 2016 alone, 1235 million travellers crossed international borders in one single year. By 2030, this 1.2 billion will become 1.8 billion.

A lot of the time, we don’t really think about the places that we are visiting and how it might affect them. It is therefore important that we change attitudes and behaviours to have minimum effect on the environment.

Use a Water-to-Go bottle

With millions of tourists and travellers exploring ever more exotic destinations every year, having access to safe drinking water is an absolute necessity. Unfortunately, when we travel we are forced to buy bottled water when there is not a safe alternative. Single-use water bottles are having a devastating impact on our planet with the latest report indicating that plastic waste could outnumber fish in the ocean by the year 2050. This is possibly the worst problem that has occurred from travel and is something that has to be addressed.

The team at Water-to-Go have been battling this problem right from our inception in 2010 and through painstaking research, we have created a sustainable and responsible alternative to the single-use plastic water bottle. The Water-to-Go bottle filters out over 99.9% of all the bad things in water that can make you ill. These include bacteria, viruses, parasites, lead, chlorine and water borne cysts from any non-saltwater source. That means you can fill up from questionable tap water, mountain streams, canals or puddles and still be able to drink healthy, safe water without ever having to buy bottled water making it the ideal travel companion. The cost of the filtered water works out at just 5 pence a litre, so you will be saving a small fortune in not having to buy expensive bottled water.

We want to raise awareness about the issues of plastic pollution but to also highlight that there is a solution. To illustrate this, 1 Water-to-Go 75cl filter is the equivalent of using 400 plastic bottles. Water-to-Go is a sustainable solution to plastic pollution and is the embodiment of sustainable and responsible tourism. 

Pack light

If you are packing a Water-to-Go bottle, you are already packing light and saving weight. Think twice about how much you are packing and decide whether you actually NEED it. It will be so much easier for you when you are travelling as you won’t have so much to lug about and it means you have space to bring something home. Furthermore, a lot of this stuff may end up becoming waste meaning that will have an effect on the environment.

Lower your carbon footprint

Leaving less of an effect on the environment will mean that you will automatically lower your carbon footprint when you are travelling. The easiest way to do this is reducing your waste. For example, try to take eco-friendly sunscreens and deodorants. When shopping, say no to plastic bags and put your items in your backpack or in a reusable bag. A Water-to-Go bottle will also mean that you are lowering your carbon footprint and reducing your plastic waste.

Respect the culture of a community

If you are already lowering your carbon footprint and reducing your waste, you are already respecting the area that you are visiting. However, it is also important when travelling to learn about the culture, flora, fauna of a community. This will allow you to experience the real essence of the place you visit and you will appreciate the diverse world we live in. A holiday you will remember will take you out of your comfort zone and educate you about different lifestyles. When travelling you should adapt to the local way of life and not the other way round. A good way to do this is with an eco-friendly travel company such as Steppes or Wild Frontiers who have links all over the world. You may be surprised about what you discover if you do this and how much of a better person you become. For a start, a new language will make you a more well-rounded person, more respected in business and very appealing to employers.

Go local

To respect the local community, the least you can do is eat locally produced food. This, in turn, will have an impact on the local economy and the living standard of the local people. The world would be a boring place if we constantly ate McDonalds or KFC. Don’t buy from chains or multinational companies as this will only benefit only a few. Going local also helps reduce the environmental impact of travel while at the same time helping the local community create a better life for themselves.

Give back to the community

Going local with regards to food and resources is great but sometimes that isn’t enough for families in underprivileged areas to get by. A great thing that we can do is take part in charity work and give back to the community. If you are travelling with the eco-friendly travel companies mentioned earlier, they are just a few that work with charitable causes that do life-changing work in neglected communities. As a tourist, it may sound silly but buying souvenirs at full price could help that person no end. It is important that resources go straight back into the communities and an easy way is giving it straight to the people who need it most.

We are naively unaware about the consequences of our actions especially when travelling and in this current climate, it is important that we educate others about responsible travel. As this has highlighted, there are some easy ways to become a more responsible traveller which in turn will make us better people and make a better planet. Becoming a responsible traveller and choosing to bring this attitude as a tourist means travelling in a way that’s ethical and pays a lot of respect to the local people, culture, environment and economy by bringing a positive impact on the community. 

We have to build a better future for people, planet, peace and prosperity.
You can be the change you want to see in the world.
You can be an ambassador for a better future.

Bottled water VS Water-to-Go

Is it Hocus Pocus, let us know what you think?

It’s the world’s bestselling soft drink – more people buy bottled water than fruit juice or fizzy drinks. Bottled water can cost between 500 to 1000 times more than tap water. So why do we think it is so much better than tap water? So, is it healthier? And does it taste better?

Perceived benefits of bottled water

People buy bottled water simply because it is marketed as being “better” than tap water making it better for you. Furthermore, it is the most convenient way (when you are out and about) to get water and stay hydrated. In one study, convenience, taste, and health risks were influential factors for participants when deciding whether to buy a bottle of water or not.

The real story

It certainly has a hefty carbon footprint – with some reports estimating around 82.8g of CO2 for a half-litre bottle – not insignificant when everyone’s drinking it. Furthermore, the manufacture of plastic, as well as its destruction by incineration, pollutes air, land and water and exposes workers to toxic chemicals. The worst problem with bottled water is that the plastic it is made from either does not biodegrade or takes hundreds of years. It just sits and accumulates in landfills or pollutes the environment and the oceans.

So is it really so much better that it’s worth both paying for and harming the planet? 

There is no evidence that bottled water is better for you; in fact it may be less safe than tap water. Two-thirds of water from the tap comes from surface water (reservoirs, lakes, rivers) and the rest from ground water (underground geological formations that store rainwater). For some reason, we don’t trust tap water because it is free and therefore assume there is something wrong with it. However, researchers found bottled water is subject to far less stringent safety tests than tap water and is much more likely to be contaminated or become a source of infection.

People have gained access to water, but huge inequalities remain.

A new report by the World Health Organisation/Unicef points out that since 1990, 2.6 billion people have gained access to an “improved” drinking water source, one that is designed to protect against contamination. But in 2015, 663 million people still drank water from unprotected sources.  In 41 countries, a fifth of people drink water from a source that is not protected from contamination

Inevitably, there are still issues still prevalent with tap water all over the world: chlorine which is added as a disinfectant; insecticides and herbicides which can wash into rivers and lakes and seep into groundwater. Arsenic, which occurs naturally in rocks and soil, linked to increased risk of cancer; and lead, a harmful neurotoxin can be deposited into drinking water as a result of old, corroded metal pipelines.
So whilst tap water may be better than bottled water, it is still not the best option when you are travelling. You may not have access to taps and would rather not use single-use plastic bottles. Surely there is a solution to all these problems and a way to access safe, clean water wherever you are without harming the environment? This is where Water-to-Go comes in.

Use Water-to-Go and together we can change the world, one bottle, one person at a time.

Unlike bottled water, Water-to-Go eradicates all the harmful substances tap water contains whether it be chlorine or any other. Not just that, Water-to-Go eliminates over 99.9% of ALL microbiological contaminants including viruses, bacteria, chemicals and heavy metals such as lead from any non-salt water source.

It is perfect for everyday use, travelling, backpacking, outdoors, holidays, and sports. You can fill up and drink from taps, rivers, streams and standpipes to name just a few. The filter will even eliminate the smell and taste of the water.

Water-to-Go bottles are environmentally friendly reusable alternatives to single-use plastic bottles meaning you won’t need to keep buying a continuous supply of water bottles when travelling. Use Water-to-Go and you will be protecting your health, your finances and most importantly our planet from plastic pollution.

Use Water-to-Go, and together we can change the world, one bottle, one person at a time.

Prince Charles addresses plastic pollution problem

There has been a lot of recent awareness campaigns particularly in the British media regarding ocean pollution and this week, Prince Charles has added to this campaign and called for urgent action to be taken.

At the ‘Our Ocean’ conference in Malta this week, Prince Charles addressed the shocking statistics that we are all too familiar with and the changes that have to be made to save our oceans, and indeed the planet, from plastic pollution.

He stated that “the 8 million tonnes of plastic that enter the sea every year, through our own doing, is now almost ubiquitous…Wherever you swim there are particles of plastic near you, and we are very close to reaching the point when whatever wild caught fish you eat, will contain plastic.”

Prince Charles is clearly, and has been, incredibly passionate about this issue along with the conservation of our rainforests and drew attention to the sustainable solution to this problem. “Faced with such damaging effects on the ocean from plastic waste, from the throw-away convenience lifestyles of many around the world. It is utterly crucial that we transition to a circular economy…[that] allows plastic along with many other substances to be recovered, recycled and reused instead of…thrown away.”

He went on to highlight that, “this economic approach has to be a critical part of establishing a more harmonious relationship between humankind and the ocean that sustains us all.”

This was broadcast live on Sky’s pop up channel, Sky Ocean Rescue, who have been pioneers of the recent campaign to make people in the UK and around the world more aware about the amount of plastic that is contaminating our oceans. Through this initiative, they explored the different ways people can help to make a difference and inspiring them to take action in order to protect the planetIn this way, the British public were encouraged to become #OceanHeroes.

Sky also announced this week that it would remove all single-use plastic products from its operations and supply chains by 2020. The company will also invest £25m in a fund for startups and other businesses working on technology to solve the plastic problem. Hopefully, this will set the trend for other businesses and organisations to support these initiatives and do their bit to stop plastic polluting our oceans.

Slowly but surely, awareness about the plastic pollution problem is being circulated across the globe and is now high on the agenda. This is the first step to make people aware that this problem is not going to just sort itself out so initiatives in different parts of the world are being put in place to make this happen.

At the conference, the EU also announced plans to devote more than €550m to protecting the health of oceans, with more than 30 initiatives including efforts to combat piracy and illegal fishing, a satellite monitoring system, and a new plastics strategy for the bloc.

Other high profile commentators and experts have also shown their support for these initiatives amidst the severity of this problem. David Attenborough, for one, expressed his shock and heartbreak at the devastation plastic pollution has caused to marine animals and birds, with particular reference to a mother albatross feeding her chicks plastic mistaking it for food.

With the concern for the oceans also high on our agenda, Water-to-Go are pleased to be supporting Incredible Oceans at the World Travel Market in November. This will be a fantastic opportunity for us to reach out to travellers, travel companies and businesses who are looking for sustainable travel solutions for them and their clients as there is increased concern about the amount of plastic we consume.

Find out more about there event on their website: http://london.wtm.com/

It is vital that we stop certain behaviours in using single-use plastic and find sustainable solutions to save our planet. Water-to-Go is one of those solutions.

Keep up to date with the Water-to-Go journey on our website and on social media (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn).