Be a sustainable traveller with these top tips, advises Megan Singleton.

Not all of us are going to take a holiday building schools or feeding baby orang-utans, but that doesn't mean we don't care. Here are five ways to travel lightly and make a difference.

1. Reuse your towels and soap
Lots of hotels have a sign in the bathroom asking you to reuse your towel by hanging it up (and then they forget to provide a towel rail). I make sure I use my towel for at least two showers. After all, how often do I change mine at home? Used soap is also hard for hotels to dispose of, so I open one bar and share it between the basin and shower.

2. Turn off your lights and air con
Conserving power not only helps the hotel's own bills, but it creates less strain on the supply in general. You don't really need to have your room chilled down to 18C while you're lying by the pool or kayaking all day. Pull out your key card from the door and shut off the power when you leave.

3. Drink tap water
It's so nice to drink bottled water, especially when the hotel staff deliver free bottles to your room with your turn-down service. But as long as the local water is fit for drinking, use a glass and save the plastic from ending up in a landfill or having to be shipped somewhere else for recycling.


4. Buy goods from the locals
I stayed recently at the Outrigger Resort on the Coral Coast of Fiji where they do lots of community projects for those who want to roll up their sleeves. But they also allow a small group of local women to spread out a sulu and sell their homemade trinkets and jewellery at the resort. I bought a $15 ring and hoped it made a small difference.

5. Take gifts for the kids
If you're holidaying in the Pacific Islands, try and visit a local school and take things like pens, colouring pencils, sharpies, books, balls, hair ties and skipping ropes. It's so cool to see their faces and watch them jumping up and down in anticipation of the small tokens we can give them.

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