Sustainable Travel Tips.
Traveling is an amazing way to visit new places, meet new people, and feel more connected to our beautiful planet. Unfortunately, as tourism gets more popular it can also have immeasurable impact on the environment, putting pressure on natural resources through over-consumption, often in places where resources are already scarce. As an eco-conscious traveler, you can take steps to ensure your next trip doesn’t unforeseen consequences on the planet you love. Read on for some big and small solutions to traveling more sustainably.
Traveling with a few essential parts of your at-home zero-waste kit can truly make a huge difference in the amount of trash you accumulate while traveling. In your daypack, make sure to always have: a reusable water bottle and package-free snacks for the plane, travel cutlery set, packable tote bag, and your own toiletries (stick with package-free options like a shampoo bar from Lush instead of mini bottles from the dollar section at Target). Once you’ve arrived, try to be extra conscious of what you accept and what you can go without, from airplane peanuts and plastic bags to hotel soaps and shampoos.
Your transportation to and from your destination is the single largest offender to a traveler’s carbon footprint, so it’s a great place to start. If you’re in a group and your destination is driveable, consider a road trip to save on both emission and cost. If you’re traveling solo over a long distance, air travel can actually be a more earth-friendly option. Either way, you can purchase carbon offsets directly from many of the larger airlines or from nonprofits like Carbonfund.org.
Once you get to your destination, there’s still a lot of transporting to do. If you’re in a city, walking is not only the greenest option, but also a way to see the sites in between point A and point B! Many cities also have bike share programs that allow you the same freedom, but for farther distances. Your next best option is to take advantage of public transportation, in the forms of buses or subways, that not only save CO2 but also provide more opportunity for human interaction, one of the main reasons to travel in the first place! Avoid taxis and rental cars if you can.
Site-Seeing, Shopping, and Everything in Between.
Stow a reusable tote in your daypack for souvenir shopping. Speaking of shopping, sticking with locally-made goods is another way to ensure social, economic, and environmental sustainability in that community. At restaurants, share dishes to cut down on food waste (and try more variety!) and refuse disposable cutlery and bags at food stalls in favor of the reusable kit your packed. Keep the “Do Not Disturb” sign on your hotel door the entire time you’re there, to save on unnecessary washing and cleaning products. Research your tour operators to ensure they abide by sustainable practices and don’t cause additional harm to the environment. Basically, make sustainability as much of a priority in your travels as you do at home!
Written By Natasha Brownlee.