5 Ways to Keep Your Summer Vacation Sustainable

Summer is just around the corner and visiting the beach has to be the epitome of summer vacation. After an exhausting semester (you and I know that), packing our things, heading to the coast, getting a tan and having fun are at the top of the list. However, because of the harm our vacations may cause to the environment, keeping a healthy and clean beach should be the top priority. Plastics are considered the number one hazard for the environment. In fact, every year the ocean conservancy reports 8 million metric tons of plastic being dumped into the ocean. That’s a huge amount of waste that can’t be reduced to a minimum, but can be slowly avoided by reducing the use of plastic and by joining clean-up initiatives.

In the past year, although there have been a number of clean-up initiatives directed to help save the ocean, keeping a sustainable lifestyle is preferred, but can still be a bit challenging. The challenge especially intensifies when you're traveling, but sustainable beach trips can be maintained by monitoring what you do and what you bring to the beach. In the next sections, I will elaborate more on the tips I have gathered to dive into a sustainable beach trip.

 

Plastics are a goner

The first and foremost solution to the problem is addressing the cause of the problem. “Plastic in the ocean is a people problem." This is what the ocean conservancy had to say and probably is what every other ocean conservancy agency in the world would say. Because of that, we should be more mindful of our actions especially when we travel. Damaging the area we live in is one thing, but damaging a country and ecosystem that you visit is a larger problem. To ensure that you’re a sustainable traveler, keep yourself informed of the different ways you can reduce your carbon footprint. Consequently, on the beach, you can lessen the usage of plastic by bringing your own reusable water bottles, packing lunch in reusable containers and bringing sustainable utensils and straws.

 

Image by Dustan Woodhouse via Unsplash

 

Watch where you stay

With the issue of ocean pollution being a top priority of environmental conserves, hoteliers have also begun to adjust their hotel amenities and policies to abide with a sustainable workplace. When traveling, it’s always a good habit to research the hotel you’re staying in. Some of the major hotel chains and AirBnB’s have already taken plastic-free and eco-friendly pledges by reducing their water usage, responsibly controlling waste disposal and conserving energy.

Image by Ibrahim Asad via Unsplash

 

Screen your sunscreen

Studies have shown that excessive damage to coral reefs and marine wildlife have been caused by human presence, changes in temperature and chemicals. Specifically, the chemical called oxybenzone has been found to accelerate “coral bleaching” or the irreversible damage of corals turning them white or “bleached.” Unfortunately, this chemical is found in most of the available sunscreens on the market. That is why although wearing sunscreen is essential for any vacation under the sun, it is important to read a sunscreen’s label before you purchase it, making sure that it is free from any harmful chemicals.

 

Image by Alex D’Alessio via Unsplash

 

Have eco-friendly fun

Although snorkeling and dolphin watching can be really fun and exciting activities, another thing to remember is that you should always prioritize wildlife safety when you’re on a tropical vacation. The reason for this is the effect our interactions with marine wildlife have on their environments. It is suggested that interactions with marine wildlife should minimize the disturbance of their natural behaviors, therefore, avoiding touching and feeding them. For typical swimmers, make sure the sunscreen you wear is free from harmful chemicals. Also, if you’re going snorkeling, be sure to avoid touching any corals, going near and even taking sea creatures home.

Image by Jakob Owens via Unsplash

 

Sustainable travel essentials

To help maintain a sustainable lifestyle in your travels, I have compiled some travel essentials that stay within the grounds of eco-friendly territory. Luckily there have been a lot of online stores built to promote sustainable living and travel. Specifically, The Package Free Shop has a wide range of products from travel kits to kitchen essentials. Whether you may be traveling across states or across continents, their zero waste travel kit is complete and a must-have for any avid traveler.

Via The Package Free Shop

 

Traveling at that time of the month will make things more complicated, but there have been innovative ways to maintain a sustainable lifestyle in those situations. Tampons are a suitable and more convenient choice, but research suggests tampon usage increases a person’s susceptibility to several health risks and can also potentially harm the environment. Fortunately, The Package Free Shop provides an array of sustainable choices from menstrual cups to organic cloth panty liners and napkins.

Via Plastic Free Shop

 

Lastly, looking good on a beach vacation may or may not involve makeup, but when it does, keep in mind that you can still keep a sustainable lifestyle in doing so. These makeup remover pads are reusable and hypoallergenic.

Via Amazon

 

In the end, although we are aware of the challenge a sustainable lifestyle poses on our daily activities, I have made it easier for us to be informed of the steps needed to be taken when opting for a more sustainable beach trip. So, collegiettes, let’s dive into a summer filled with sustainable beach trips!