Are Backpackers the most Eco friendly Travelers?

Who are the most Eco friendly travellers? That is the question?
With the Eco tourism industry dominated by luxury lodges and expensive 5 star Eco hotels it’s easy to think that luxury travellers are the most Eco friendly travellers. After all they have the budget to fork out the generally higher cost of Eco friendly travel products.

But despite this it is in fact Backpackers who are the most Eco friendly travellers…Here’s why:

Backpackers are cheapskates!

So I’ve just gone on about how luxury travellers can afford to fork out the higher price for Eco products so why is it that the cheapskate habits of backpackers make them so Eco friendly? It all comes down to transport!
Transport contributes the most emissions to your travel’s carbon footprint by far.  And with aviation accounting for 2% of the world’s total emissions this is not surprising.
But backpackers don’t have bottomless bank accounts to spend flying here there and everywhere, instead backpackers take the cheap option, the long option, the more Eco friendly option.

That 20 hour train ride that has backpackers smelling like they’ve just come from a farm by the end of the trip and that 10 hour bus ride that has backpacker’s running in search of a massage by the end emit only a fraction of the emissions of flying that same distance!

Additionally you won’t see backpackers being chauffeured around town in a private cars. Oh no, they will be packed in, sweating their butts off with the locals on the bus or metro.
Just using public transport instead of private vehicles can significantly reduce your individual carbon footprint!

Backpackers travel with…well…Backpacks!

Backpacks are not the most comfortable things to carry, in fact they can be a down right pain in the…back.  Which is exactly the reason why Backpackers don’t want to carry too much in fear of having to dish out a ridiculous amount of money to pay a chiropractor when they finish their trip.

It is for this reason that Backpackers tend not to go mental with the shopping and buy load of cheap things that don’t even fit in their backpack (causing them to buy a second bag). So how does this make backpackers more Eco-friendly?

A huge contributor to global emissions is from industry.  All those factories manufacturing knockoff handbags and tacky souvenir are pumping toxic gases into our atmosphere.

Beyond the manufacturing process every tacky, likely to break piece of merchandise has to be transported most likely from a factory in China to the souvenir shop shelves. This contributes a load of carbon emissions!

And what do you do once you’ve bought it? You have to buy a new bag (what a waste!) to get it all back home. Every kilo of additional weight a plane has to carry emits more horrible gases into the air we breath!
And then what happens two weeks later when it breaks? It ends up in the bin for a future of uselessly sitting in landfill for the next 1000+ years before it starts to bio-degrade!

Backpackers think they’re really daring!

Backpackers think they’re really daring (and if you’re a backpacker don’t try and deny it!).  Backpacker’s like to go to offbeat places (when I say offbeat I mean not a resort and at least slightly dirty), they like to get tattoos (a fond memory of their trip), they like to drink mental amounts of cheap and possibly moonshine alcohol and they like to challenge the food poisoning gods by eating street food.

Backpacker’s are not afraid of the risk of food poisoning. In fact most of their meals are spent standing up next to a bicycle selling deep fried crickets or sitting on small stools at street side noodle stalls.

Backpacker’s don’t need fancy restaurants with fancy lighting that use way more light bulbs then necessary, backpackers don’t need fancy large paper napkins that end up in the bin, hell, backpackers don’t even need air conditioning!

By eating street food, supporting local vendors who more often than not source their ingredients locally (minimising transport emissions) and shunning restaurants for an almost electricity free outdoor dining experience backpackers in fact have a reduced travel carbon footprint!

So while backpackers may not have the budget to stay at Eco friendly accommodation the general nature in which backpackers travel make them the most Eco friendly travellers!

In what other ways do you think backpackers are the most Eco friendly travellers?

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