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Save water when traveling

Tips for saving water when traveling

When traveling, most of us use significantly more water than at home. This particularly puts pressure on regions that already suffer from water shortages. Our author Ina gives five tips for saving water on vacation.

Wake up your spirits early in the morning with a jump into the pool while the service staff cleans our room; take a long shower after visiting the beach; Relax in the hammock in the well-tended garden and, if the weather is bad, head to the spa area: we often use a lot of water on vacation. While the average direct water consumption in Germany is 130 liters per day, this number quickly increases to over when on vacation 2000 liters. Because on vacation, unlike at home, water consumption is already factored in. And after all, we travel to treat ourselves, to reward ourselves - and not to save and go without.

High water consumption is particularly problematic in countries and regions where water resources are already scarce. And we don’t have to travel to distant deserts to do that. Also in popular European ones Travel countries like Spain or Greece the water is scarce. No wonder that excessive waste of water for tourism is increasingly causing discontent among the local population - for example when golf courses shine in lush green while the plants in the fields next to them die due to heat and drought. The good news: we can all reduce our water footprint when traveling through our choice of accommodation and individual behavioral changes.

1. Be careful when choosing accommodation

In Europe, water shortages are an increasing problem, especially in Spain, Greece and Italy. If you are planning a holiday here, you should check when choosing your accommodation whether information about the responsible use of water is provided. For us at Good Travel, resource protection is an integral part of the questionnaire that every accommodation must fill out before it is listed with us. Below we recommend hosts who attach particular importance to saving water:

  • Finca Colmina in Mallorca: The finca has completely self-sufficient water management. The fresh water comes from our own well. The entire water disposal (toilets and service water) is carried out via two bio-systems, which ensure the complete breakdown of waste materials through their chamber systems.
  • Agriturismo Follonico in Italy: Rainwater is stored in a small lake and is irrigated very sparingly. Certified organic care products reduce the burden on water, and energy-saving shower heads help save water.
  • Holiday home ArtHill eco villas in Greece: Water resources are protected through consumption monitoring and water saving systems. This also includes a water filter for cooking water, dual flush toilets and a rainwater collection system. The laundry policy also encourages multiple uses before towels etc. end up in the laundry.
Finca in Mallorca
Finca Colmina
Agriturismo Italy
Agriturismo Follonico

2. Avoid water-intensive holiday activities

A particularly large amount of water is used for some holiday activities. Take golf, for example: in Portugal, around eight percent of all drinking water is used solely to irrigate golf courses - and these are almost exclusively in the hot south of the country. the Algarve. Water-intensive wellness offers and visits to swimming and amusement pools also increase our water footprint when traveling. If you don't want to miss out on swimming fun, you should swim in the sea rather than in lakes in water-scarce regions. The water from lakes is often part of the local water supply and is used, for example, for irrigation in agriculture.

Swim in the sea

3. Reduce your water exposure when caring for your body

Many cosmetic products contain aluminum, surfactants, phosphates, microplastics and liquid plastics that pollute our waterways. Sewage treatment and water treatment plants can purify wastewater, but this is expensive. And not all substances that pollute water can be filtered out. Therefore, use environmentally friendly cosmetics and cleaning products that are biodegradable and use them sparingly. When buying sunscreen, it is also worth taking a closer look at the ingredients. Regardless of whether it is waterproof or not, some of it ends up in the water when you swim. Above all, avoid creams with environmentally harmful nanoparticles and chemical UV filters such as octinoxate, oxybenzone and octocrylene. In some countries, creams with these filters are already banned.

You can find more information about this in this blog article by my colleague Cécile.

4. Save water when showering and bathing

Don't stress in the morning and end the evening relaxed: on vacation it's tempting to take a long shower and treat yourself to a bath. But the differences in water consumption can be large. While we use seven to 12 liters of water per minute when showering, a bathtub contains an average of 150 liters. If you do want to take a bath, it's best to do it as a couple - it's not only more romantic, but also better for your water footprint. And remember: if you shower for just five minutes instead of ten, you save 35 to 60 liters of water.

Save water when showering

5. Use the laundry and dry cleaning service only when necessary

In many hotels, daily laundry and cleaning services are included in the price. This means that guests can enjoy fresh towels every day and fresh bed linen at least every few days. However, this results in huge mountains of laundry, for which corresponding amounts of water and detergent are used. However, that is not necessary. Because at home, your laundry doesn't end up in the washing machine after just one use. In most accommodations, you can signal when your towels should be washed by leaving them on the floor for the service staff. On the other hand, if you want to reuse them without washing, hang them to dry instead. If you would also like to forego daily room cleaning, simply let the reception know. Or use the “do not disturb” door hanger on days you don’t want maid service.

Water scarcity

© Photos: unsplash / Will Swann, Finca Colmina, Agriturismo Follonico, pexels / Kampus Production, Judith Hehl, unsplash / Paul Hanaoka

Ina is a digital nomad and travels through Europe by land and sea. The journalist is always on the lookout for special places for Good Travel, philosophizes about travel in her column, takes photographs, makes music and writes articles on all kinds of environmental and sustainability topics.


  • Wilm Gossling

    I think this report about environmentally friendly travel is outstanding. I like to travel in an environmentally friendly way with a motorcycle or a small motorhome. I'll think about it more myself and observe the positive/negative aspects of traveling along the way. I am a human.

    • Ina

      Thank you, Wilm Gossling. I regularly travel in the van myself. My water tank for washing up, cooking and showering is 80 liters and I also have around 20 liters of drinking water in canisters. I'm always amazed at how long I can manage with it - I'm a long way from the 130 liter average water consumption in Germany. For me, an additional factor for saving water in the van is using a dry toilet.


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