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Budget travelling is not just good for your pocket, but for the environment too

Travelling is one of the best teachers on the planet, giving us a first-hand experience of sights, sounds and other cultures better than any documentary or Hollywood movie can script. While it is a fun, educative venture, travelling can also be costly. You want to see the world and visit your favourite tourist sites but you're low on funds, so what's the best way to go about it? Budget travelling.
Steven Lewis via Unsplash

In simplest terms, budget travelling means cutting costs during your travels by opting for more affordable services and still getting the same experience.

For instance, if you are embarking on a safari tour across East Africa, budget travelling will have you forgoing certain luxuries to get the most from your adventures in the African bush. But budget travel is not a great option to save money during your travels, it can also work as a way to travel more sustainably and make a smaller negative impact on the planet. Here’s how:

Joining a group tour


Group joining safaris in Africa has become a trend for budget travellers and will definitely help you stay within your budget by sharing common expenses with a group of people. Not only will you share the cost with others, you will also "share" your negative impact from especially the driving.

So rather than going alone or in a small group, a Group Joining Safari allows you to travel in a bigger group and as an individual have a smaller negative impact on the planet.


Staying in hostels/ couchsurfing


Accommodation options tend to vary on your safari, but you will almost always come across really cheap options like hostels or dormitories that will not impact your finances as much.

These accommodation options will have you save on electricity and other resources by sharing your room and facilities with other travellers which ultimately is good for the environment. You can also couch surf and eliminate the use of additional resources spent in a hotel altogether; after all, the main adventure is in the wild.

Hitchhike as much as you can


A great way to get around on a budget is to hitchhike. This will have you save on cost for transportation and at the same time save on gas emissions.

Imagine if every tourist applied this, it will do a lot of good for our environment. Aside from the fact that you are on a budget, you are trying to see a new place. Hitchhiking also allows you to take in the scenery, burn calories while saving some bucks.

Travelling by land


Land travel is a lot more cost effective than travelling by air and ultimately a better option for the environment. Gas emitted into the atmosphere by planes is one of the major causes of global warming. Less air travel can help ensure gas emission is turned down a notch.

Obviously, if you are travelling far, air travel is often the only realistic way to reach your destination country, but once you’re there, consider more eco-friendly transport options by land. And even on your safari tour, consider opting for a refreshing trek to key destinations, instead of being driven around in the 4x4 vehicles.


Eating local food instead of in fancy restaurants


What better way to soak up the African culture than to indulge in the local cuisines. It doesn't just save you some extra bucks, but also gives you more personal experience on the way of life of the people around you.

In addition, you’d be supporting the hustle of these local people and they will be much more appreciative of your effort. Another thing to consider during your travels is to consume less meat where possible, since meat production is responsible for a significant amount of emission in the atmosphere.


Bring your own equipment


This means bringing your own bottles, toiletries, and basic equipment on the trip so you don't have to buy when you get there. In addition to cost saving, you’ll also be saving on needless waste in the safari parks. When you consider that over a million plastic bottles are sold worldwide every minute and that by 2050, we'd have more plastic in the oceans than fish, bringing your own stuff seems more responsible and not just a means to save some money.

Budget travelling has been around for several years now and helps strike that balance between seeing the many wonders of the world and doing what is right for the environment to ensure a sustainable future.

Thankfully, there are now several safari tour operators who are conscious about the impact of constant travel and are taking active steps to curb their carbon footprints. So even if you have the funds for a totally luxurious experience, budget travelling is still a good way to go.
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About Martin Tvede Larsen

Martin Tvede Larsen is from Denmark travelling through Africa with his wife, Erika, from the Philippines; and the co-founders of While in Africa - a blog promoting Africa as a destination to the international market.
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