Between jet fuel and gasoline, travel creates a ton of CO2 emissions. Many destinations (not to mention road trip convenience stops) lack amenities like recycling bins. Is it possible to travel in a eco-friendlier manner?
Absolutely! By following the seven tips below, you can lessen your carbon footprint even on vacation. Here’s what to do — and what to pass on.
Is it possible to travel in a eco-friendlier manner? Absolutely! By following these seven tips, you can lessen your carbon footprint even on vacation.
1. Book a Non-Stop Flight
Did you know airplanes use the most fuel during takeoff? This means if you book a flight with multiple layovers, you increase your carbon footprint. Unless you have health issues that require you to get up and move, book a nonstop flight. As a bonus, you’ll reach your destination more quickly and decrease your chance of lost luggage, too.
2. Pass on Using Ride Shares
Many destinations offer airport shuttle service so opt for these over ride-sharing services whenever possible. Shuttle services use less gas on average than individual vehicles and sharing a ride decreases the number of cars on the road. Plus, you increase your safety. While rare, nefarious ride-share drivers do take advantage of passengers on occasion.
3. B.Y.O.B. (Bring Your Own Bag)
When you travel, of course, you want to buy souvenirs. However, wrapping these in single-use plastic leads to more bags floating in the ocean where they kill wildlife. And while the Farm Bill made hemp farming possible, for now, most paper bags come from trees.
Instead, pack a few reusable bags in your luggage. Going on a road trip? Use such bags to hold your snacks and re-purpose them for shopping as you eat through your stash.
4. Pass on Tiny Hotel Bottles
Those tiny bottles of shampoo and body wash look adorable — but they use a ton of single-use plastic. Plus they take more energy to create than larger containers. If money permits, opt for an eco-friendly hotel that uses large, multiuse containers. If not, use only what you need and refrain from taking the extras home.
By planning your journey with eco-friendliness in mind, you can reduce your carbon footprint.
5. Hang Up Your Towels
When you’re at home, do you wash your towels every time you take a bath or shower? Of course not! So why would you do so when you’re away?
Many hotels use bleach and other chemicals to launder guest towels. Plus the act of doing laundry alone uses energy and water. Unless you’ve spent the day spelunking and coated your towel in mud, select just one and reuse it the same way you would at home.
6. Shop and Eat Local
Did you ever read the label on the trinkets you find in many gift shops and tourist destinations? Many souvenirs sport “Made in…” labels featuring countries on the other side of the globe. This means they require a huge amount of fuel to transport, resulting in substantial CO2 emissions. Additionally, laborers in sweatshops often create such goods and buying them contributes to human suffering.
Instead, commit to shopping and eating locally while away. Such goods create fewer emissions during transport. Plus, you benefit the local economy, a kind way to repay your hosts for opening their lands to you.
Plus, locally sourced foods simply taste fresher. Fruits and vegetables contain more nutrients when they’re allowed to ripen naturally, not picked too young to mature during transport. And since part of travel involves trying new things, dining local allows you to explore new culinary delights.
7. Take Only Photos, Leave Only Footprints
How would you feel if a houseguest trashed your pad? Remember, while you’re only visiting your destination, the locals live there. They’ve graciously allowed you to visit, so be a good guest.
If your hotel lacks recycling bins, inquire as to the nearest center. Drop off recyclable items before you head home. Carry a reusable water bottle with you instead of using those in the hotel mini-fridge (you’ll save money, too).
If you encounter the local wildlife, leave it alone. Take photographs galore of local fauna, but leave it where it grows for others to enjoy. The rule for hikers holds for travelers — take only photos and leave only footprints.
Enjoy Your Stay While Lessening Your Carbon Footprint
Nearly all travel creates some CO2 emissions. However, by planning your journey with eco-friendliness in mind, you can reduce your carbon footprint.
About the Author
Kacey Bradley is the blogger behind The Drifter Collective, an eclectic lifestyle blog that expresses various forms of style through the influence of culture and the world around us. Along with writing for her blog, she has written for sites like U.S. News, SUCCESS, Guides for Brides, Hotel Online and more! Follow Kacey on Twitter and subscribe to her blog to keep up with her travels and inspiring posts!
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