No Fixed Home’s Top Tips For Green Travel

Who are we?

Hello, we are Charlotte and David, and we run the travel blog, No Fixed Home. We are passionate about the environment, so it’s really important to us that we travel as green as we can. Seeing how beautiful the world is on our travels makes us feel strongly about protecting it. Read on to find out how our Water-to-Go filter bottles have helped us to achieve this goal, as well as some of our other top eco-friendly travel tips.

Before leaving for our travels, we were based in Brighton, UK, where Charlotte is a librarian and David is a chef. Our adventure started in November 2017 with a month’s stay in Nepal, where we did some trekking and fell in love with the Nepalese people and their delicious food (seriously, the momos are to die for!) Then came three months in beautiful, chaotic and incredible India. We also travelled around Sri Lanka for a month, taking in lush green tea plantations, picture-perfect beaches and wild elephants.

The next leg of our trip has taken us to South East Asia, where after spending six weeks getting to know Thailand, Cambodia captured our hearts. Right now we are in the quiet leafy city of Siem Reap which lies in the shadow of the mighty Angkor Wat. After falling for this beautiful country with its friendly people and yummy food, we decided to rent a flat here for a couple of months.

Our top tips for eco-friendly travel

Looking after this incredible planet is something that we feel very strongly about. We all have a duty to travel responsibly. For us, that means making sure that our travels don’t have a negative impact on the places we visit. Here are just a few of our top tips on how to travel green – or you can check out the full article here.

Just Say No (To Plastic)

Plastic is in the news all the time recently, and we have seen the effects of it first hand on our travels. We are all aware of the impact that unnecessary plastic has on the environment. Some people need plastic straws, and that’s ok. But why not consider alternatives such as metal or bamboo – they take up very little space in your luggage!

We also travel with a handy spork each so we can avoid plastic cutlery. Occasionally the language barrier causes amusing confusion – once we asked for no straw only to get given more straws! It’s easy enough to carry reusable bags and say no to plastic carrier bags as well. While we’re on the topic of plastic…

Bring Your Own Bottle

No, not like that. We mean bring your own water bottle! Consider you are visiting a hot country – you know that you’ll need to stay hydrated and drink at least 2 litres of water a day. But in places where you are not advised to drink the tap water, this can pose a problem. Imagine the mountain of plastic bottles that would be produced by just one person on a two week visit, and you can see how quickly the rubbish would pile up. Instead of buying many single-use plastic bottles, you could buy a refillable one and top up whenever you find safe drinking water. However, just finding safe drinking water can be a challenge in some parts of the world. Fear not – there is a really easy solution!

We love our Water- to-Go bottles with their built-in filters. We can fill them with water from any tap and they make it drinkable. We’ve used them to drink the tap water all over Asia and haven’t had any problems, it’s brilliant. We even filled them from outdoor streams and waterfalls while we were on our trek in Nepal, so we were able to stay hydrated on the long days of hiking without adding any plastic waste to the beautiful mountain scenery. And as well as saving the environment, they also help us save money – it’s a win-win!

In fact, we calculated that our Water-to-Go bottles will save us a whopping £546 EACH over a whole year on the road… that’s a whole lot more cash in the travel fund! Not only that but we’ll have avoided using 1400 plastic bottles.

These Feet Are Made For Walking

One way of leaving a smaller travel footprint? Having smaller feet of course! Just kidding, but actually using your feet is a great way to travel green. We walk A LOT while we’re travelling and it really is the best way of getting to know a place. Being on the ground, soaking up the sights and smells, interacting with the people you meet on the street, its all part of the experience!

Don’t be worried about getting lost, some of the best places we’ve seen are a direct result of just arriving in a place and going for a wander. Just don’t forget to stay hydrated while you’re pounding the pavements – exploring on foot can be hot work!

Bus(t) a Move

Getting public transport in other countries is definitely an experience! We’ve had amazing train journeys, and we’ve had ones which are akin to torture. But we wouldn’t change it for the world. From being tightly packed into a speeding local bus in Sri Lanka’s hill country, holding on for dear life, to sharing food and stories with extended families on long Indian train journeys. These experiences have shaped our journeys and the way we view the countries we’ve visited.

You can learn so much more about a culture by sitting on a bus than you can sealed in an air conditioned taxi any day. And we all know that sharing transport leaves a smaller travel footprint, wherever you are in the world.

Tread Softly

We’re all familiar with the saying “Leave only footprints, take only memories” but it is worth remembering. There is simply no excuse for leaving rubbish, ever. Yes you may be visiting a place where public bins are few and far between, but seriously, just take it with you. It doesn’t matter if there is already lots of rubbish there, don’t add to the problem. Because we take our Water-to-Go bottles everywhere with us, we’re never caught in a situation where we have empty plastic bottles and no way to dispose of them.

Stay on marked paths, try to avoid trampling over plants and do your very best not to leave any trace of your visit.

Some of our best travel moments so far

There have been some amazing and unforgettable moments on our trip so far, and there are bound to be many more. We’re both huge animal lovers, so seeing elephants in the wild has got to be a standout memory. In Udawalawe National Park in Sri Lanka, we were lucky enough to see these beautiful animals in their natural habitat. To see a large male casually stroll right past our jeep, and a family with babies playing in a watering hole was just one of the most incredible things we’ve ever seen – it was quite emotional!

Another highlight was a dawn pilgrimage at the top of Adam’s Peak, also in Sri Lanka – getting up at 2am and walking to the top, before watching the sun come up surrounded by people of many different faiths from all over the world was an incredible experience. Spending Charlotte’s birthday snorkelling in crystal clear waters off the coast of a perfect Thai island, or getting coated from head to toe in colourful paint as part of India’s Holi celebrations… there are almost too many moments to mention!

What does the future hold for us?

Our Water-to-Go bottles may have prevented us from getting any actual bugs on our trip, but the travel bug has seriously got hold of us! We feel like we’ve only just started to scratch the surface of all the incredible places in the world that are waiting to be explored. We’re returning back to the UK in October, as there are jobs, friends and family to get back to. But we have dreams of becoming location independent and finding a way of travelling long term. Just watch this space!

If you want to follow our adventures you can head over to www.nofixedhome.com and subscribe via email. Our website features eco-friendly travel tips, travel inspiration and vegan recipes. We’re also on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, so why not come and say hi!

Water-to-Go in partnership with Oasis Overland

Water-to-Go is excited to announce a new partnership with Oasis Overland. They are an adventure tour company that operate adventure trips from 5 days to 10 months duration in Africa, South America and Asia. Travellers who join them are looking for something a bit different and something off the beaten track.

 

Oasis Overland realise the important role they have to play in ensuring that their trips are run responsibly to maximise the potential benefits to local communities and minimise the negatives. In alignment with their philosophy of responsible tourism, they have decided to partner up with Water-to-Go to ensure that their clients travel responsibly and safely as well as reducing their carbon footprint. Oasis Overland are actively promoting Water-to-Go as essential kit on their tours so that their members have access to safe, clean drinking wherever they are.

 

Water-to-Go is a supporter of Oasis Overland and has supplied Water-to-Go filtration bottles to them, and are proud to extend the association. We are giving their members an exclusive discount on Water-to-Go products and furthermore, Water-to-Go will match that percentage discount as a donation to the charities that they support. Water-to-Go is excited and delighted to support Oasis Overland as a referral partner and its efforts and goals with their charitable projects and hope that together we can make a difference.

 

This partnership will have more far-reaching effects than just to the people who go on their tours. Oasis Overland is committed to working with local operators and service providers and supporting communities with their trade. As such, Water-to-Go will be helping Oasis Overland to support the following projects worldwide:

 

 

Toilet Twinning ~ Travellers on Oasis Overland trips will be aware that they often pass through, and camp in, remote areas where toilet facilities do not exist. 

2.5 billion people across the world don’t have somewhere safe, clean and hygienic to go to the loo. That’s more than a third of the people on the planet. For people in poor communities, a hole in the ground is literally a life saver – protecting women from the risk of attack as they find somewhere private to squat, and shielding children from preventable diarrhoeal diseases.

Oasis Overland have just joined forces with Toilet Twinning to build seven new latrines for communities in Africa. Toilet Twinning raises funds to enable people living in poor communities to have clean water, a decent toilet, and to learn about hygiene – a vital combination that prevents the spread of disease, reduces the number of deaths among children, and brings hope for the future.

 

 

Hupenyu Hutsva Children’s Home in Harare, Zimbabwe –
Oasis Overland have made donations of food, clothing, computers & sports equipment to this home & are involved in ongoing projects. In 2008 we funded the installation of a bore hole to enable the Home to be far more self-sufficient in food production & enabling the children to practise essential horticultural skills. They also paid for gardening tools & seeds.

 

Since 2008, they having been running an event, fondly known by our crew as ‘Kids Week’. Essentially we use our trucks and crew to take all the children out on a day trip and end up with a big party back at the Home. Many of the children rarely leave the compound where they live & the trips have enabled them to see some of the sights their country has to offer. Our last trip was in December 2017, when we took the children to the Imire Game Reserve in our overland trucks, finishing off the event with a big party at the Home-complete with candy floss and Bouncy Castles!  We’re never quite sure who enjoys these trips out the most-the children, staff, or our crew!!!

 

 

David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust, Kenya ~ This trust has played a significant role in the conservation of Kenya’s wildlife and has pioneered strategies to reverse the extinction of the endangered black rhino and provides extensive rehabilitation programs for elephant, and other animal orphans. Projects include de-snaring, mobile veterinary services, animal welfare, water conservation and community outreach. Oasis Overland sponsor an elephant, Kamboyo & three of their trips visit this project.

 

Water-to-Go are delighted to be able to support several charities through our various partners and tour companies. Water-to-Go stands for so much more than just filtering water. We stand for protecting people’s health by giving everyone access to their basic rights of safe, clean drinking water anytime, anywhere; and also protecting the planet by producing an alternative to single-use plastic bottles. We seek to work together with organisations that share our aims and goals and together we can change the world, one bottle, one person at a time.

Support the movement to treat Kilimanjaro Porters fairly with Water-to-Go

Water-to-Go have teamed up with Three Peaks Africa; a responsible travel business that offers expeditions to Tanzania’s highest peaks; Mount Kilimanjaro, Mount Meru and Mount Longido. This is the ultimate adventure challenge brought to you deep from the African Savannah and is a significant milestone on many bucket lists. Three Peaks Africa are currently working on a new crowdfunding project for a real cause that is close to their hearts. They are seeking help and support from many different partners and sponsors so we wanted to raise awareness about this great cause.

On average over 35,000 travellers a year climb Mt. Kilimanjaro, the world’s tallest freestanding mountain. For many, it’s a once in a lifetime experience where they spend months, even years saving, researching the right kit and training for the opportunity to reach the roof of Africa. Once they are back down and at home, they will smile and remember their friends, motivators and biggest supporters on the mountain, the Kilimanjaro porters.  As many of you may know, it takes a whole host of porters and other mountain crew to support the climbing team. The porters carry all of the team’s food, equipment, set up the camps, sing and keep everyone motivated and safe.

In the excitement of preparing and being on the trip, we can sometimes forget that not everyone on the mountain is always as fortunate as us when it comes to health and safety and workers’ rights. In 2018 it is still estimated that 3 out of 4 porters may be paid less than a proper wage, not being fed 3 meals a day and sleeping in inadequate quarters. Based on minimum wage and tipping amounts, on a typical 6 day Kilimanjaro climb, a porter could expect to be paid the equivalent of US $1,090 a year.  That’s just £825 to support their entire family. As a result, there is sometimes huge pressure for them to accept work at less than minimum wage and sub-standard working conditions; just so that they can earn some sort of living.

Three Peaks Africa are committed to supporting ethical and responsible travel initiatives, partnering only with local operators and companies who align with them ethically in ensuring that their practices have a tangible benefit to the local community, economy and environment.

The Kilimanjaro Porters Assistance Project (KPAP) is a not-for-profit based in Tanzania. It is a tiny organisation working on a limited budget that has been working hard to improve porters working standards, and raise awareness to travellers about responsible travel choices.  Their work on the ground has already impacted over 7,000 porters, however there is still a long way to go. Marie Cheng, founder of responsible travel business for Three Peaks Africa, began working closely with KPAP when sourcing local Tanzanian climbing companies to operate her Three Peaks expeditions. She says,

“It was really important to me to run my Three Peaks trips with a responsible and ethical provider. The porters do so much for us, it is only right that they should be treated properly on the mountain”.

Marie Cheng, Founder of responsible travel business at Three Peaks Africa

Three Peaks Africa are now crowdfunding for the Kilimanjaro Porters, to increase the essential funding for KPAP and to increase the awareness of what they are doing to improve porters working standards. The money raised will be spent on the “Clothes Lending Programme” allowing all porters to borrow mountain gear, free of charge as well as on monitoring activities for the “Partner for Responsible Travel Programme” that determines if climbing companies are meeting proper porter treatment standards.  Funding will also go to help reinstate training programmes such as First Aid and Leave No Trace environmental sustainability that will benefit 175 porters.

Porters are Tanzanians who work freelance and often depend on tourism on the mountain for their livelihood.  We have an overwhelming collective responsibility to make sure that they aren’t being exploited.

Three Peaks Africa support this by ensuring that they partner only with local operators in Tanzania who are partners with the Kilimanjaro Porters Assistance Project (KPAP), a Tanzanian not-for-profit organisation who monitor the treatment of porters by sending staff on climbs, conducting porter interviews and meeting regularly with operators to review their treatment practices.  As well as ensuring that operators adhere to the good porter treatment guidelines, KPAP also focus on improving working conditions for porters through a number of initiatives.

Ezekiel, a porter with a KPAP company says “KPAP and the partner companies have worked together to drive improvements in working conditions for us.  It has really helped me and my family. I can now take my kids to school as I was able to save money because I am paid properly”.

To support Three Peaks Africa, KPAP and their commitment to making a big change to the treatment of porters on Kilimanjaro, visit their page and pledge before the 9 August: http://chuffed.org/project/kilimanjaroporters

Any donations of £100 or more also goes into a prize draw to win the opportunity to climb Kilimanjaro in 2019.

With a big focus on responsible travel, Three Peaks Africa are actively encouraging and highlighting the collective responsibility that we as travellers have on local communities and the environment. Water-to-Go are pleased to be working with responsible and sustainable tourism organisations such as Three Peaks Africa who are working to protect the environment and to change lives. By highlighting to their clients the impact that single-use plastic water bottles have on the environment, they hope to do their bit in helping to reduce plastic waste.

Keeping hydrated on the mountain is even more essential for these avid trekkers and it is important that the expedition team has access to clean and safe drinking water.  Using the Water-to-Go filtration system, this eliminates over 99.9% of all microbiological contaminants, including viruses, bacteria, chemicals and heavy metals from any non-salt water source.

By helping Three Peaks Africa to reduce plastic waste with Water-to-Go bottles, Water-to-Go will also support Three Peaks Africa in their crowdfunding campaign.

Water-to-Go are working with The Outdoor Guide

Water-to-Go are delighted to be working with The Outdoor Guide (TOG), a resource set up by Julia Bradbury and sister Gina that aims to bring together information for walks all around the UK. This online platform reflects their love of the Great Outdoors and encourages everyone to discover what the outdoors has to offer. It is also a showroom that puts companies with the same ethos together in one place to inspire families to get out and explore this wonderful world. 

“We are thrilled to have Water-to-Go on The Outdoor Guide and to spread the word of the benefits of reusable bottles. These bottles are great and can be used throughout the world.”

The Outdoor Guide

Julia Bradbury in the Peak District (Credit: The Outdoor Guide)

On TOG you will find fab walks, amazing gear and gadgets along with some recommended places to stay when out walking. Things are happening very quickly at The Outdoor Guide and it is a very exciting time to be working with them. They are working with many different partners to highlight their favourite walks and gadgets to people who love the outdoors. We are privileged to be working with TOG and are pleased to know that Water-to-Go is a valued product within their organisation.

As mentioned, The Outdoor Guide was co-founded by Julia Bradbury, a television presenter and outdoor enthusiast who has dedicated her career to exploring the great outdoors. Julia is continually in the media connected with walks, camping and caravanning, outdoor trends and clothing. Over the last decade, Julia has filmed over 50 walks which feature on The Outdoor Guide and in 2016 / 2017 her two new primetime series on ITV reached an all-time high averaging an audience of around 4 million viewers per episode. 

Julia recently presented Britain’s Favourite Walks: Top 100 on ITV in association with the Ordnance Survey and The Ramblers, which showcased the nation’s best walks, with routes shortlisted from right across the UK, reflecting some of the nation’s most stunning scenery.

There are many different aspects of The Outdoor Guide that gives it a widespread appeal and reach. AccessTOG is the mobility ‘arm’ of The Outdoor Guide run by disabled ambassador Debbie North. TOG is committed to creating a countryside for all through the development of wheel-friendly walks for people with poor or no mobility. AccessTOG is putting together complete wheelchair-friendly packages for wonderful days out in the hills, towns and canals including the perfect pitstops, the perfect accommodation and the perfect cuppa.

Debbie North in the Yorkshire Moors (Credit: The Outdoor Guide)

Debbie uses a 4×4 all-terrain wheelchair called TerrainHopper to access the countryside. She wants to inspire other wheelchair users to get outdoors and feel the excitement of being in the hills and dales, come rain or shine. It is fantastic to see that she stays healthy and hydrated with her new Water-to-Go bottle as well.

 

Whether you are on a TOG walk or just enjoying the great outdoors, you can be sure to stay hydrated on the go with Water-to-Go. You can fill up from mountain streams, lakes and standpipes to name a few and have access to clean, safe drinking water, free of harmful contaminants wherever you are meaning you won’t need to buy any single-use plastic bottles and do your bit for the environment.

We first met Julia and The Outdoor Guide at The Destinations Show back in 2015 and she recommended Water-to-Go as her gadget of the day. Water-to-Go is the perfect way of staying healthy and hydrated when on the go. It is a reusable and refillable bottle with a built-in 3-in-1 technology filter that eliminates over 99.9% of all microbiological contaminants from any non-salt water source so you can have safe, clean drinking water anytime, anywhere. Not only that, Water-to-Go is the perfect alternative to single-use plastic water bottles so by using your own Water-to-Go bottle, you will be protecting your finances, your health, and also the planet from the damage caused by plastic pollution.

Water-to-Go met The Outdoor Guide at 2018 The Destinations Show. From left: Dave Shanks – CEO and Founder of Water-to-Go, Julia Bradbury – co-founder of TOG, and Graham Archer – Marketing Consultant at Water-to-Go

We are looking forward to working with The Outdoor Guide and to seeing this partnership flourish. Together, we want to highlight the best ways to enjoy the outdoors and to discover what the Great British outdoors has to offer. Make sure you check out The Outdoor Guide website for the best walks around the UK, and stay healthy and hydrated whilst doing so with a Water-to-Go bottle.

 

Water-to-Go host the official launch of Mission Yangtze in China

On 23rd June 2018, Water-to-Go hosted the official launch of Ash Dykes’ next expedition, Mission Yangtze, and the Mandarin version of his new book, Mission Possible, in Shanghai. The culmination of several months of gruelling preparation and planning had been leading up to this event for Ash so it was fantastic to be able to celebrate his journey up to this point and what the future aspirations are for this expedition and beyond.

The Water-to-Go ambassador is currently in China to promote and make final preparations for his upcoming expedition, to walk the length of the Yangtze River. It will be his toughest challenge yet – estimating to be 4000 miles and will take at least 1 year to complete. This will be Dykes’ third world first and preparations are in place for it to be considered as an official world record. Once again, Ash will be travelling with his trusted Water-to-Go bottle to stay safe and hydrated wherever he is.

Sustainable travel is an important aspect of Ash’s expeditions which is why the connection with Water-to-Go is so poignant. Water-to-Go is the perfect alternative to single-use plastic bottles and a sustainable solution to the damage caused by single-use plastic. Our unique filters will give you access to safe, clean drinking water from any non-salt water source free of any harmful contaminants meaning you can save money and the protect the planet by not needing to buy bottled water, making it the perfect travel companion.

This has all perfectly coincided with the recent changes in China as they look to tackle the problem of plastic pollution and make the country ‘greener’. China recently issued restrictions on the amount of foreign trash it will accept for processing, banning the import of various scrap metal and chemical waste products. The ban on imported waste is “a symbolic measure for the creation of an ecological civilization in China,” under the leadership of President Xi Jinping. The importance of tackling plastic pollution was one of the key messages British Prime Minister Theresa May delivered to President Xi Jinping during her visit to China back in February and it is now at the top of his agenda.

From left: John Edwards, British Consul-General Shanghai; Ash Dykes; and Dave Shanks, Founder and CEO of Water-to-Go

As a result of this, Ash and Dave Shanks, Founder and CEO of Water-to-Go, had the opportunity to meet John Edwards, the British Consul-General in Shanghai to discuss the wider impact of Ash’s next expedition. Ash’s mission along the Yangtze River is going to have far more reaching implications than first envisaged and could be a huge moment for the adventurer from Old Colwyn.

Ash Dykes with members from Water-to-Go distributor in China, Health & Happiness (Shanghai) Environment Technology Co., Ltd.

Water-to-Go distributor in China, Health & Happiness (Shanghai) Environment Technology Co., Ltd. have been working with Ash over the past month to aid his preparations and to build up support and awareness around this whole campaign. The momentum around Ash’s expedition from across the world, particularly in China, has been staggering with interest coming from leading businesses who are looking to get involved and promote sustainable practices, to outlets who want to get their products on a global platform.

Health and Happiness organised a special launch for Ash’s expedition in Shanghai, very fittingly, on a luxury cruise liner on the Yangtze River. Many guests including high profile dignitaries from China, global media and key individuals from around the world were invited to learn more about this venture with keynote speeches from Ash himself and the Water-to-Go team.

Water-to-Go Founder and CEO, Dave Shanks, speaking at the launch in Shanghai

Water-to-Go Founder and CEO, Dave Shanks, flew out to China specifically for this event where he also spoke about this iconic moment for Ash and how his expedition aligns perfectly with Water-to-Go’s wider mission and goals.

The night was a celebration following all the training, preparation and hard work from Ash and his team so it was fantastic that we were able to give him a good send-off before he embarks for the source of the Yangtze River to start his mission next month.

Ash Dykes promoting his new book, Mission Possible, which has just been released in Mandarin.

Ash was also pleased to be able to officially release his book, Mission Possible, in China as it has just been translated into Mandarin. This book documents his journey up to this point including his 2 other world firsts – solo trekking the length of Mongolia and walking the entire length of Madagascar’s interior. He depended on his Water-to-Go bottle throughout these expeditions and now swears by his bottle to keep him healthy and hydrated wherever he goes.

In all, it was a very successful night and we were delighted to see so much enthusiasm around the mission and the reasons behind it.

Along the way, Ash is seeking to also give back to the local communities, promote positively and spread awareness on his expedition. Water-to-Go will join him at key sections along the Yangtze, to provide our filter bottles to communities, in order to reduce plastic and provide them with fresh, clean drinking water.

The night was also about bringing awareness to certain issues and raising money for specific charities. We were delighted to raise 1,000,000 renminbi at the event for several charities and organisations that we are supporting.

The sheer craze and excitement over the past few weeks as well as at this event from fans, sponsors and supporters would be enough to overwhelm anybody but Ash has managed and dealt with this all superbly. The commencement of this expedition has been months and months in the making so after all the intense and scrupulous preparation, it is great to see everything coming together so well. The 26 year old is set to make history and Water-to-Go are privileged to be a part of his journey.

Water-to-Go and Journey Latin America support charitable work of LATA Foundation

Water-to-Go have established a partnership to support the long-standing efforts of leading UK based Travel Company – Journey Latin America. Together we are supporting the work of the Latin American Travel Association (LATA) Foundation to help street children and vulnerable young people in Latin America with social and educational programs run by local charities. For every purchase that Journey Latin America customers make with Water-to-Go, we will contribute to the LATA Foundation to support this invaluable work. 

The Latin American Travel Association (LATA) is a membership association that aims to promote Latin America as a tourist destination and stimulate growth of travel to the region.  The association is comprised of over 340 companies including tourism boards, airlines, hotels, tour operators, representation companies and the travel press.

The LATA Foundation is a UK-based charity that supports grassroots social and environmental projects throughout Latin America. The projects are helping to transform lives, providing clean water, dental or medical support and practical training to provide people with new skills in Mexico, Central and South America.  It was set up by the Latin America Travel Association, bringing together tourist boards, airlines, tour operators, hotels, ground agents, travel publishers, PR companies and the press to put something back into the countries where they all work.

Journey Latin America understand the importance of eco-friendly practices in all parts of their business – whether it’s offsetting carbon emissions to minimise the impact of long-haul travel or simply recycling waste paper – they strive to operate responsibly in everything they do. They were one of the first tour operators associated with AITO to be recognised for their commitment to sustainable travel and are a great example to the whole tourism industry. With their bespoke, branded water filter bottles from Water-to-Go, they will further their sustainable travel principles by providing safe, clean water to their customers without damaging the environment.

Water-to-Go and JLA understand that mass tourism can be detrimental to a country’s development. We need to think about the effects we have on the environment so have to embrace a ‘take only photos, leave on footprints’ mantra. Taking a reusable Water-to-Go bottle, for example, would help protect the environment by saving on hundreds of single-use plastic water bottles.  

“For over three decades Latin America has endured the unenviable distinction of having more street children per capita than any place on earth…An estimated 40 million children live on the streets of Latin America’s densely populated cities – out of an estimated total population of 500 million.”

(www.personal.psu.edu/faculty/d/j/djm8/422SPRStreet%20Children.ppt)

Sustainable travel is an expression used to embody the travel trade’s principles of using tourism to benefit local communities, conserve natural resources, and bolster the survival of culture and heritage. Currently, more than 96,000,000 children in Latin America live in poverty and around 40% of all children in Latin America do not even complete 5 years of education. We felt that it was important to support the initiatives with the LATA Foundation with Journey Latin America to tackle these problems.

There are several projects from the LATA Foundation that Journey Latin America and Water-to-Go are helping to fund to make a difference in Latin America:

The Project – Vidarte Space has several projects to help underprivileged children from the favelas of Rio de Janerio. Their main project, the Vidanca Dance School, is located in the Complexo do Alemao favela. It began in 2009 as an initiative to offer children from the favelas the opportunity to express themselves through the art of ballet. www.projetovidancar.com.br

The Project – Tiempo de Juego, a Colombian NGO, supports children and young people who are at risk of forced recruitment and violence in their communities. Through innovative arts, drama and music activities, the project encourages the children to explore the challenges they face in their daily lives and help them develop the skills to overcome these.

The Project – Friends of Alalay directly supports the Alalay Foundation, which was started in the early 1990’s by a 19 year-old Bolivian student who passed street children every day on her way to university and was determined to do something to help. Alalay rescues these kids from the streets and offers them a loving environment living together in family cabins. 

Water-to-Go supports World Oceans Day

World Oceans Day is a global day of ocean celebration and collaboration for a better future held every year on 8th June. It is a global initiative bringing communities together from across the world to fight for a healthier marine environment and to raise awareness of the crucial role the oceans play in our lives. Different themes are assigned to World Oceans Day and in 2018, the theme is Preventing Plastic Pollution. This is to bring awareness about the threats our oceans are under and to encourage solutions to ensure a healthier ocean and a better future for us all.

Numerous events are held around the world every year to mark World Oceans Day and this year is almost more poignant. As well as photo contests, fossil hunting walks, demonstrations, and concerts there will be more beach clean-ups and plastic pick-ups this year as we look to take actions to ensure the sustainable future of our ocean.

By using a Water-to-Go bottle, you can do your part to protect the World’s Oceans by using an environmentally friendly alternative to single-use plastic water bottles that contaminate our oceans. You can save money as well as saving the planet by not needing to purchase overpriced bottled water.

Water-to-Go seek to protect our customers’ health and well-being by offering safe, healthy water anywhere in the world but to also protect our planet by offering an environmentally friendly reusable alternative to single-use plastic water bottles.

Water-to-Go are working with travel companies to help fulfil their role as responsible tour operators

Water-to-Go is working with several leading companies in the area of reducing their carbon footprint, and ensuring that their clients travel responsibly and safely. Water-to-Go have recently partnered up with UK tour company, Explore, to further their philosophy of responsible tourism. Explore are actively promoting Water-to-Go as essential kit on their trips so that their customers have access to safe, clean drinking wherever they are.

Water-to-Go offers a brandable reusable filter water bottle which will ensure their clients and customers have no need to contribute to the blight caused by single-use plastic water bottles, also filtering out harmful contaminants.

Port of London Authority (PLA) announced plans to stop using single-use plastics for World Ocean Day by partnering up with Water-to-Go

The PLA has partnered with  Water-to-Go to provide specialised bottles to the crews of their vessels to save on their usage of single-use plastic water bottles and protect our oceans. Dave Shanks, Founder of Water-to-Go said:

“I’m delighted to see them being used on port authority vessels on the Thames.  If our assistance can help the PLA achieve its single-use plastic free goal, it’ll be a great and noteworthy result.”

“Single-use plastic bottles for water are a blight, wherever you go in the world.  Our bottles provide everyone with the chance to access clean, filtered, water on the go.”

Water-to-Go is doing its part by educating plus informing their consumers and partners on the perils of destroying marine life in the world’s oceans as well as being personally responsible for one’s usage of plastics in everyday life.

The issue of plastics pollutions has been pushed more into the public consciousness through Sir David Attenborough’s “Blue Planet II” programme and images of the catastrophic impact plastic waste is having on marine wildlife. This article by SLO Active highlights the impact of plastic pollution on our oceans and what we can do about it

Plastic Pollution – Single Use Plastic Impact on our Oceans

This has prompted actions to be taken by organisations, governments and authorities to tackle the problem. Organisations such as Surfers against Sewage and the Marine Conservation Society advocate beach clean campaigns throughout the year to protect our oceans and this is replicated all over the world.

The Ocean Project

The Ocean Project has been the global leader for coordinating and growing the event for over 15 years. The organisation was founded to advance ocean conservation in partnership with aquariums, zoos, museums, and other youth and visitor-serving organisations around the world. Back in 1999, it instigated the most comprehensive research ever carried out on the public’s attitudes to, and understanding of, oceans and the environment. This prompted a complete rethink around how aquariums and other attractions present their exhibits and how they communicate and engage visitors with conservation.

Today, The Ocean Project’s partner network numbers around 2,000 organisations. It continues to offer support with public opinion and communications research, strategic insights, and support for innovative and effective public engagement, and conservation impact.

The world’s oceans play a key role for life on Earth

70% of our planet is covered by one huge, continuous body of seawater – the ocean. It holds 1.35 billion cubic kilometres of water and plays a huge role for us and marine life. According to the UN, they are “the lungs of our planet, providing most of the oxygen we breathe, [as well as] a major source of food and medicines and a critical part of the biosphere.” In the past few decades, the threats from pollution, overfishing and other forms of exploitation to marine habitats have increased dramatically.

The Ocean Conference called for the engagement of all relevant stakeholders, bringing together Governments, the United Nations system, other intergovernmental organizations, academic institutions, the scientific community, the private sector, philanthropic organizations, civil society, mayors, children, youth and others who will utilize this momentum to galvanize action-oriented partnerships at all levels – local, national and global – that provide lasting and long-term solutions to protect our oceans.

Read more about how to mark World Environment Day with Water-to-Go and what else is being done to tackle plastic pollution in our previous blog.

Water-to-Go sponsors the Waterbike Collective

Water-to-Go is sponsoring the Waterbike Collective set up by the organisation, Say Yes More. The project is a communal waterbike relay along 1000 miles of England’s rivers and canals, aiming to collect one million pieces of litter from the countryside along the way. The journey started in late April and their waterbike is now moving around the canal system. Say Yes More are inviting everyone to jump onboard for a leg to celebrate and look after our waterways, and to spread the word on social media so more people can get involved.

Say Yes More is a non-profit social enterprise run by volunteers who like to help nudge people towards their potential. They have a community called the YesTribe, an annual microfestival for positive change called Yestival, weekly free campouts where they wild camp under the stars just a short ride from the city, motivating nights of adventurous tales called YesStories, and even a converted, sun-powered double-decker bus in an amazing countryside community space.

Say Yes More was founded by Dave Cornthwaite, a British adventurer who has used water-to-Go on previous expeditions. We were keen to work with Dave again and this project was the perfect opportunity to help support a fantastic initiative whilst also putting our stamp on it. The Waterbike Collective is the most recent project that the Yes Tribe are taking part in to make a difference.

Water-to-Go is sponsoring and supporting the initiative by producing branded water filter bottles and t-shirts that are being used by the volunteers on the relay. The bottles are also available to purchase via the Water-to-Go website so anyone associated with the organisation and the project can have something that symbolises their involvement and commitment to protect the environment.

Say Yes More branded filter bottle from Water-to-Go

Over 8 million tonnes of plastic enters our oceans every year and more than 85 million single-use plastic bottles are thrown ‘away’ every 3 minutes. We cannot carry on like this and need to tackle this problem. Water-to-Go is the perfect alternative to single-use plastic bottles and a sustainable solution to plastic pollution. The Waterbike Collective will be able to stay hydrated with Water-to-Go and save on their plastic usage whilst aiming to clear Britain’s waterways of plastic as well. It’s a win-win!

This project isn’t about a waterbike really, or reaching one million pieces, it’s about changing behaviour and looking after this incredible planet we call home. They have created this journey because they believe that adventure should be accessible to everyone and adventure should do some good at the same time.

So far they have picked up over 50,000 pieces of litter on their journey which is fantastic. Help support their campaign by raising awareness and getting a branded Say Yes More bottle.

Unravelling Travelling: Water-to-Go is the number 1 item in our backpack

Well hello there! We are a couple who travel and work our way around the world full time whilst running our travel website Unravelling Travelling. Our aim is to make travel more accessible by sharing tips, tricks and advice to those who may feel that travelling is out of their reach. The most common question we get asked is how expensive it is to travel, even on a budget. Whilst we focus mainly on transport and accommodation, we want to bring attention to the smaller amounts that add up, like bottled water in countries where tap water isn’t drinkable, which is why we’ve turned to Water-to-Go.

Photo credit: Ben Bardsley-Ball, Unravelling Travelling

Water-to-Go make filtration bottles which allow you to drink from any non-salt water source using filters that remove over 99.9% of bacteria. Their mission is to offer safe and healthy drinking water worldwide whilst saving you money (every backpacker’s dream) and providing an alternative to single-use plastic bottles.

Photo credit: Ben Bardsley-Ball, Unravelling Travelling

Whilst we’re travelling, it’s extremely important for us to stay hydrated, especially when we visit countries with a high humidity and temperatures way beyond those we’re used to. The lack of drinking water in many parts of the world resulted in the buying of bottled water, which had a disastrous effect on both our pockets and the environment. In the USA and Europe alone, we consume over 70 billion single-use plastic water bottles, of which only 20% are recycled. Not only does this have a detrimental effect on the environment, 1 million seabirds and 100,000 mammals die from ingesting or becoming trapped in plastic waste per year.

Photo credit: Ben Bardsley-Ball, Unravelling Travelling

A video has recently emerged of a tourist beach in Bali showing the amount of plastic contaminating our oceans. Not only is it extremely sad for the wildlife, but also affects us as travellers; it is our duty to leave our destinations as we found them. Drinking a single bottle of water does as much damage to the environment as driving a car for 1km, and for every 5 bottles made, 1 bottle full of oil is used to distribute them.

So why don’t we just reuse the first water bottle we buy when we arrive at our destination, especially as some places do provide free and safe drinking water from the tap? Because reusing our bottle can lead to physical breakdowns of plastic where bacteria can harbour leading to bacterial contamination and that is the last thing we need when we’re in the middle of a trip of a lifetime!

Photo credit: Ben Bardsley-Ball, Unravelling Travelling

Using a Water-to-Go bottle gives us access to water in the most remote regions of the world. Whether we’re near a puddle, a stream or a bucket of rain water, we use our bottles to filter it into perfectly safe drinking water. Secondly, for every 260 plastic bottles we would have to throw away, we only get through 1 filter with our bottles. Thirdly, it’s safer to drink puddle water from Thailand in a Water-to-Go bottle than it is to drink tap water from a reused plastic bottle in UK. Plus, we save a rather large sum of money.

Photo credit: Ben Bardsley-Ball, Unravelling Travelling

As backpackers, we spend the months leading up to our trip eating nothing but beans on toast and working 70 hour weeks to pay for it, but we would often forget to add ‘keeping hydrated’ to our budget. An average person is recommended to drink 2 litres of water per day. This equates to 4 bottles of water per day (assuming our bottle size is 500ml). With no access to tap water, we would then spend £4 per day minimum. On a 6 month trip, we would need to budget £744 just for water, whereas with a Water-to-Go bottle it costs £29 for a 500ml bottle and 2 extra filters, plus we save £252 per filter, assuming each filter is equal to exactly 260 plastic bottles costing £1 each. We also remove the filter and use it as our regular day to day bottle, as tap water in the UK only costs 2p per litre.

Photo credit: Ben Bardsley-Ball, Unravelling Travelling

We received these bottles as a present for Christmas 2017 and have taken them on every trip we’ve been on so far. One of these places was Malaysia, where we decided to hike Bukit Saga, just outside of Kuala Lumpar. Our 3 hour journey quickly turned into 9 hours when we got lost and we hadn’t taken food with us. Luckily what we did have was our Water-to-Go bottles which we filled every step of the way from any water source we could find. Had we bought a bottle of water from a shop beforehand instead, we would have ended up drinking from muddy, murky waters with no filtration system and potentially been extremely ill afterwards. Not something we would have relished during our first few weeks of our trip! You can read our full horror story here.

Photo credit: Ben Bardsley-Ball, Unravelling Travelling

We recently voted our Water-to-Go bottles our number 1 item in our backpack, but don’t just take our word for it; there have been incredible testimonies from people in a variety of situations and places such as a medical trip to Rwanda, a 4,500km walk the length of India, expeditions to Mongolia and Madagascar, walking the length of the Zambezi River and Kayaking the length of Angola’s Kwanza River, all of which you can read about here.

So, what are you waiting for? To all the backpackers out there, your Water-to-Go bottle will be your best friend and maybe even your life saver! Be sure to purchase a bottle and as many filters as you’ll need before you go. It’s an absolute life changer!

Photo credit: Ben Bardsley-Ball, Unravelling Travelling

Guest blog post by Li Vinall from Unravelling Travelling

All photos by Ben Bardsley-Ball, Unravelling Travelling

Try something new for National Walking Month with Nordic Walking

To celebrate National Walking Month, Water-to-Go is encouraging everyone to get outside and discover what the outdoors has to offer. We want to promote a healthy lifestyle and show how you can explore the world we live in.

Nordic walking is a craze in many European countries including Germany and Denmark.  It involves using poles made from either carbon or aluminium to walk.  Participants in Nordic walking must be properly instructed in how to practice the sport. This exercise is an all-body activity in that it works the lower and upper body simultaneously.

You can practice Nordic walking between two and five times a week. Some of the poles that you can purchase are adjustable to your torso height and leg length whilst others are already fixed ahead of use. Nordic walking allows people to experience fresh air, nature and an increased heart rate by raising the amount of breaths plus exertion effort.  There is anecdotal evidence to suggest Nordic walking can positively affect those who suffer from asthma.  Nordic walking can be practised as a group or singularly.

Nordic Walking UK

You can try something new this National Walking Month by trying Nordic Walking with our partners, Nordic Walking UK. Nordic Walking UK is the original brand and award-winning leading authority on Nordic Walking across the UK.  They can help you take your first Nordic Walking steps by introducing you to your local instructor or group and recommend a range of equipment you may need.  They also offer a comprehensive instructor training scheme and solutions for community projects nationwide. They are passionate about getting more people outside and taking part in this great exercise technique.

Stay hydrated with Water-to-Go

Hydration is very necessary to walking exercises.  Water hydration accelerates weight loss through quickening the body’s metabolic rate and by increasing electrolytes in the body.  Water also flushes out toxins, not to mention filling you up before, during and after meals.

Studies show that controlled groups told to drink water up to 30 minutes or an hour before a meal as opposed to those who were taught to think that their stomachs were full mentally, showed that the participants with a lot of water in their system lost the most weight over a given period of time.  It is recommended to drink two litres of water per day by health experts.

Eight glasses of eight ounces of water is a good way of kick-starting this new habit.  Drinking water and walking can also significantly enhance your health.  Water-to-Go is ideal as an accompaniment when nordic walking as the 3-in-1 filter technology will give you access to safe, clean drinking water from any non-salt water source. It is great for staying hydrated and the perfect alternative to single-use plastic bottles.

The matching of nordic walking and water hydration through the Water-to-Go bottles is a perfect marriage of outdoor exercise with a healthy beverage. Particularly exploit the weather this May and get outside to explore what the outdoors has to offer. Get to know more about Nordic Walking with this video of the 2018 Peak District Festival in Derbyshire and get inspired.

If you would like to be more knowledgeable about May’s National Walking Month, please refer to the relevant blog.