In case you haven’t heard, we are having some serious issues related to water.  As travelers, water is often a focus of our trips!  We love beaches, pools and waterparks.  We also consume a lot of water during other travel activities.  Interestingly, 97% of the earth’s surface is made up of salt water and about 2.5% is fresh water. Of that, 68.9% is locked up in glaciers, leaving just over 30% available for all other needs and uses. It is a system in peril.

Do you know that people tend to use more water while they are traveling than they do when they are at home?  In fact, tourists use 16 times more water than locals do.  And much of this use occurs while visiting many of the world’s poor countries. In order to be a responsible traveler, it is essential that we make efforts to cut water consumption.

There are many things you can do to cut back on your water usage at home. It’s also simple really to conserve water while your away.  Here are three simple ways to conserve water while traveling.

Reduce Consumption

We have all seen the signs in hotels about not having towels replaced every day or bedding changed daily. Many people think this is just for the hotel’s own cost savings and disregard this small request. But, by not getting fresh linens daily, this saves a lot of strain not only on freshwater usage, but also has a positive impact on energy use and pollutants. It’s time travelers really start using the same towels and sheets for many days at a time to reduce consumption. And, if you don’t need your room cleaned daily, there is more water savings.

Pick Your Stay Wisely

Stay at places that already have water conservation efforts in place.  Reduced high-maintenance landscaping, use of drip irrigation systems, low-flow faucets, covering pools at night, and reuse of grey water are all easy things hotels can implement to conserve water. Also, you can easily avoid staying at places that have high-evaporation water features like decorative water features.  Staying at one of these establishments is an effortless way to contribute to water conservation.

Be Mindful of Travel Dates

Many of us want to enjoy nice weather which generally means avoiding the rainy season. But the influx of tourists during the dry season puts an additional burden on the already taxed water resources this time of year. Simply looking at different dates could have less of a negative impact on an area’s water resources. This is especially true in times of climate change and excessive heat.

Again, there are many things travelers can do to conserve water while traveling. Water is a central element and a driving factor behind many people’s travels.  Being a water-conscious traveler is essential for being a good visitor in your host communities. Starting with just a few easy steps is a painless way to contribute to water management and conservation efforts!

Do you have special water conserving tips you practice during your travels?  Share them in the comments below!

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  1. Great article Jennifer. I must admit we were guilty when it came to hotel towels, but stopped after visiting an eco hotel that explained more or less what you are saying here. as you say simple steps makes a difference.

    1. Yes, many people go into “vacation mode” and figure that because they are not paying the water bill, they are going to enjoy that long, hot shower! I’ll admit I have been guilty of that mindset in the past myself 🙁

  2. I am hugely into conservation so this post is very interesting and no, I didn’t know that people use more water when they are away, that was a shock, especially as most of “paradise” need help with conserving water. We always re-use our towels, and we never leave taps running either when cleaning our teeth whether it be at home or overseas – I hope people follow your advice and I look forward to reading more conservation ideas. Pinned this for others to read.

    1. It drives me bananas when people leave water running while brushing their teeth! A complete waste straight down the drain. I will have another great sustainable tourism post at the end of October – thanks for reading and pinning!

  3. Yes, every little bit helps. IWhen we sre going to stay at the same place for awhile we don’t have all linen & towels done every day. Great tips, thanks for sharing

  4. Some very interesting tips on a subject that often get overlooked. While backpacking I’ve stayed in quite a few places without hot running water, clean drinking water or any towels. It’s only once you go without you start to realise how lucky you are when you have them.

  5. We tend to take our RV everywhere we go. We work really hard to keep our water use in check and are teaching our kids to also conserve water. You really learn how much water you use when you have limited storage capacity…filling up a 40 gallon tank in a day is shocking!! We work really hard to only use that much in a week instead. It is a learning experience for sure. Thank you for sharing your tips.

  6. To be honest I hadn’t thought of No. 3 before and you make a really good point. It’s the time with the most strain at the time of least resource. For No. 2, do you have any tips for making it easier to find places that use these conservation methods? I think an important aspect of travel is doing so in a sustainable way, so posts like these are always a good prompt to think about how we can do better. Nice one Jenn.

    1. Interesting isn’t it?! I never had thought about it either! You can check for hotels that have “green”, “LEED certified”, or
      “Eco-friendly” listings as a start. Or, if a hotel doesn’t market that directly, I always check out the amenities for updated features like dual flush toilets, efficient shower heads, etc.

  7. Very important to cover, Jenn and thanks for sharing. I actually find that I use LESS water when I am travelling as I spend less time just standing around in the shower, tend to turn taps off when I am brushing my teeth etc and just generally feel more aware of water consumption. I think it’s important that people do this in their own homes too!

  8. Totally agree with the part about the sheets and towel usage. We should also be more mindful not to unnecessarily leave water running. Preserving while showering and brushing our teeth as well.

  9. These are great tips! When I studied abroad in South Africa, we had our towels and sheets washed a lot less frequently than they normally would have due to the severe drought they were in. This is a good thing to do in all travels.

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