The increase in both travel volume and frequency proves that there is a need to think green and plan our vacations in a more earth-friendly way. A few decades ago we would spend just a week or two away, either road tripping or camping. Now, it’s all about weekend get-always, city-breaks, long-haul flights to exotic places. All these are enriching experiences, yet have a high carbon footprint. We can control this by taking a few preventive measures. These range from choosing the destination to packing and eating.
Planning and Packing
Try to keep your travel party small. The smaller the group, the less impact on the environment. However, if you are traveling with friends always share transportation if possible, makes more economic and environmental sense. If you are in charge of large groups, for example, teachers planning a field trip, ask the tour operator if they have thought about any ways to give back to the community or minimize impact.
It might seem small, but packing extra plastic can turn into an environmental hassle. If every passenger carried just one extra Ziploc bag (20x20cm), taking into consideration the traffic in the top 5 busiest airports that would mean 36square kilometers of unnecessary, non-bio-degradable plastic.
The only plastic you should take with you on holiday is a travel-ready debit card, as recommended by this piece from Crediful.
Also, try to pack as light as possible. Every extra item means more pressure, more fuel consumption and even more energy from you to carry those heavy bags around.
On the Road
Think your routes ahead and do your research related to peak hours, busy places and the best time to travel or to visit. Not only it’s frustrating to spend half of your holiday in a traffic jam, it is also extremely polluting. Use tools like Google Maps or Waze to evaluate the best moment to start your journey. If you want to go a step further, you can use a carbon footprint calculator and design your trip while trying to reduce it.
Although it sounds less adventurous, stick to the itinerary. Getting lost and wandering about might seem fun in theory, but usually, lead to frustration and wasting a lot of fuel.
If you are hiking, sticking to the initial path is a matter of life and death. Going off the beaten track could result in damage to the environment and unwanted encounters with wild animals, not necessarily a dear or a squirrel.
In the Hotel
Try to find #organic products which are specific to the area when #traveling. Not only you are helping the community and local farmers, but you are also being #environmentally friendly overall.Click To Tweet
Most hotels offer guests the opportunity to be wasteful by striving to make them feel as welcome as possible. It comes down to your responsibility to avoid this by simply acting in the hotel the same way you do at home. There are even eco-friendly hotels, mostly in Nordic European countries.
For example, don’t change your towels every day and don’t ask for new cosmetics until you have used the already opened ones. Speaking about cosmetics, there is nothing wrong or less elegant about large packages to minimize plastic waste. Don’t be a plastic snob.
Even if you won’t be charged extra for letting the water run while brushing your teeth or forgetting a light open when going out, it’s good manners and eco-friendly to take these aspects into consideration. All electric amenities fall into this category. So be sure to check if you have turned off the lights, TV, HVAC and any other comfort feature before leaving the room.
Exploring and Experimenting
Traveling is all about experimenting. Therefore, it makes sense to eat and drink local as much as possible. Get out of your comfort zone and don’t look for the brands or products you usually get at home. Most likely those have been imported or traveled long distances, thus having a high carbon footprint.
Try to find organic products which are specific to the area. Not only you are helping the community and local farmers, but you are also being environmentally friendly overall. Following that what grows together goes together mindset pick a local drink to go with it. It could be a freshly brewed ale to enchant your taste buds or a delicious wine. Let yourself be surprised, and you might even have new favorites.
Hope we’ve helped you design a way to spend your free time which is also more spiritually enriching and environmentally friendly. We need to preserve the planet for future generations to enjoy and thrive. Being responsible towards these aspects should become part of education from an early age.
What are your favorite tips for being eco-friendly while traveling?
Share your thoughts and comments with us.