Environmental awareness at home has become a fact of life. However, those same eco-smart practices can seem a little more difficult when we travel. Convenience on the road sometimes outweighs all of those great things we do at home every day. Here are some simple tips to reduce your traveling carbon footprint, and to maximize your fun.
Getting There is Half the Eco-Fun
Public transportation may be a hassle in your hometown, but when traveling it makes perfect sense. Not only do you save some money by choosing a train or bus over a plane, but you have the chance to see the countryside and meet fellow travelers, and you reduce your carbon footprint. If you must fly between destinations, try to choose a direct flight whenever possible.
Don’t Feed the Animals
This is not to say that there aren’t many legitimate places to get up close and personal with wild animals while you are traveling, but be cautious. A photo opportunity with that giant silver eagle when you visit Colca Canyon only means that the handler has incentive to rob another nest of its baby inhabitants. If you can research the company beforehand, do so. If you can’t , consider avoiding it.
Pack It In
Not only does packing light benefit you and your mobility, but it also ultimately benefits the environment. The lighter the load on any form of transport, the less fuel is used. Utilize compression sacks whenever possible, and pack a reusable shopping bag to avoid a glut of plastic when you visit local markets.
Clean and Green
It may seem more convenient to bring travel size toiletries to save space. However, convenient rarely means eco-friendly. Packing full size containers of your favorite products means you’re creating less waste and it also means you’re less likely to have to go without because you forgot to collect the travel size from the last hotel. It’s an eco-win/win!
The Hotel Eco
The hotel industry has done a lot to reduce their own environmental impact, and it is easy to find one that makes the grade here. However, you can make any hotel more eco-friendly just by being your amazing self. Reuse your towels and sheets, make sure to turn off the lights and television when you leave, and avoid the air con in favor of a fan whenever possible.
Limited time can mean a rush to see and do as much as possible on your trip. However, all that rushing around is not good for you, and certainly not good for the environment. Slowing down and concentrating on a few places rather than many means you’re more likely to be consuming local goods, thereby supporting the community and the environment. Plus, you’ll gain a deeper insight into the community and its people.
Eco and Geo
More and more people are embracing the ideas of eco and geo-tourism. Both hold the simple concept that tourism revenues should be used to maintain the environment and/or the culture and history of its people. Many resources are available to plan your own eco or geo tour, and you are almost guaranteed to have a truly unique experience while helping to preserve that destination for future travelers.
Has a destination and the community that supports it really touched your life in a meaningful way? Consider a donation to help support it. Investigate the local school or clinic and find out what items are on their wishlist. Give money to a local aid organization. Or better yet, return to that destination when you can and volunteer your time and energy.
Water, Water Everywhere
Safe drinking water is an issue while traveling, but staying hydrated and cutting down on the plastic waste is easy. Bring your own reusable water bottle from home, and try to buy extra large bottles of water to use for refilling, especially when you’re stationary, such as at a hotel. A portable water purifier, such as those used for camping, can also be a great way to minimize your waste.
Show and Tell
The greatest impact you have on the environment is your voice and your choice. Thank the hotel staff that goes the extra mile to conserve energy. Eat at the restaurant that serves food from its own garden. Trek with the people who actually live there. When you’re done, tell your friends, family and fellow travelers about the great time you had. A little truly does go a long way.
So now you know how to go green what are you waiting for? Time to pack your bags and get away. Find cheap hotels at Expedia today and remember the tips above and you’re well on your way!