You do your best to do the right thing when it comes to being environmentally-friendly. Things like recycling, eliminating unneeded paper and plastic and even carpooling come easy to you. These are all positive changes that really make a difference. When you travel, you’re largely out of control as to what happens around you. If you put a little extra effort into planning, there are still things you can do to stay as eco-friendly as possible. Here are several tips to employ as soon as you leave on your next journey.
At the Airport
If your travels require you to fly, you can start eliminating waste right from the get-go. Instead of printing out tickets and boarding passes, download them to your phone’s wallet or travel app. They’ll be safely stored and you won’t have to worry about the added paper or losing them. Attach permanent name tags to your luggage instead of paper. You can also take an empty water bottle in your carry-on to fill while you’re on a layover. Not only will you save money, but you’ll reduce trash. If you’re tight on space, consider a collapsible bottle that can be rolled up.
Walk or Use Public Transportation
Half the fun of travel is exploring new modes of transportation. Some cities have amazing subway and bus systems. Better yet, you can bike or walk. If you’re going to a walking-friendly city such as New York, Paris or one of the many beautiful Mediterranean cruise destinations, there’s no better way to see the area than on foot. You’ll be able to absorb the atmosphere and get some exercise at the same time. You’ll save yourself the aggravation, expense and pollution of renting a car.
Choose Eco-Friendly Lodging
When you book your hotel, choose the most ecologically-responsible option you can find. There are plenty of hotels worldwide that have adopted energy-saving practices such as solar heating, energy-efficient lighting, non-toxic and organic products and recycled rainwater. No matter where you stay, choose to reuse towels instead of having them laundered each day. You can also pass on sample-size shampoo. Sure they’re fun to shop for, but they still produce garbage. Instead, invest in your own reusable bottles. You can use them over and over again.
Shopping During Your Travels
Once you’ve settled in and are ready to explore, there’s still more you can do to shave down on excess. Pack a cloth shopping bag into your backpack. These bags are lightweight, easy to carry and strong enough to hold all the treasures you find without loading up on extra plastic bags. When shopping, opt for electronic receipts wherever possible so you’re not overwhelmed with all those tiny pieces of paper. Be mindful when dining out. You can forego plastic straws that will take years to break down.
Buy From Local Sources
There’s nothing better than eating local when you travel. More than trying new culinary delights, you’re also supporting a cause. Just as you would buy fair trade products back home, you can support these same farmers in person when you travel so your money goes back to their families and their dedication to caring for the land. It’s a win-win situation.
Get Inspired to Do More
If you like to live your life as environmentally-responsible as possible, then plan your next vacation to a country that shares your vision. Think of traveling to Scandinavia, France or other European countries. If you prefer the tropics, consider Costa Rica or the Maldives, both places working hard to become carbon neutral. It’s interesting to observe how these countries do it and learn things that you might be able to use in your day-to-day life.
Be a Good Example
Living an ecologically-sound life can sometimes be a lot of work, but it’s necessary to ensure a positive future. Once you form habits, they become routine. The more you do, the more you find areas in which to improve, including travel. By living a clean life, you’re making a better world and inspiring others to follow your example.