If you are planning on going with an organisation always check that they are operating ethically! Try to find tours that are lead buy local guides, and make sure that any experiences included such as visiting orphanages, or animal sanctuaries, have the best interests of the children and animals. The most common example is elephant experiences in South East Asia, a good one is Elephant Freedom Project in Sri Lanka. But a simple online search and reading of fine print can point you in the right direction.
Click here for a list of eco-friendly travel companies.
2. Beware of the Plastic
Every piece of plastic ever made is still in existence, so environmentally, whether you're travelling or not, reducing your plastic consumption is a great idea. When travelling, especially through Asia, avoiding plastic can feel difficult, but its not impossible. Purchasing a good quality metal water bottle such as Hydroflask is worth it. And you don't need to be worried about getting sick from the local tap water, there are always more and more places where you can refill water bottles with purified water, or if you're old school you can drop a tablet into the water so its safe to drink. Also, eating in rather than getting take-away, saying no to straws and using a reusable bag for purchases will dramatically reduce your plastic consumption.
3. Invest in a Moon Cup (for the ladies)
Just in general I think that every woman should at least give them a try. I started using one over two years ago and haven't looked back. They are a great way to reduce waste, they're non-toxic, and extremely convenient when travelling as you don't need to change them every four hours like a tampon. Many health food shops in Australia are now stocking menstrual cups, so next time you're doing the whole foods shop check them out.
4. Don't Forget the Little Things
Including basic things such as a good quality rain coat, a scarf and cardigan for the plane (so you don't need to use the supplied blankets) and reusable and rechargeable batteries for your electronics is a good start. Plus while you're there, opting to walk places where possible, or take public transport rather than a taxi, shopping locally, and avoiding meat and dairy will not only save money but reduce your footprint.
5. Your Shoes Were Made For Walking
Take advantage of a good pair of walking shoes and public transport. This will not only save you money but will also reduce your footprint while you're travelling. It's also a great way to meet locals and other travellers and get to know the city even better! Most major cities around the world have buses and/or trains, and trains are also a wonderful way to travel across countries as it gives you the chance to take in the scenery.
So those are my top five tips for conscious travelling. Simple little things that can help you reduce your footprint on your next adventure.