Whether you are an experienced globetrotter or just got your first passport stamp, you may have noticed the act of traveling isn’t exactly eco-friendly. From getting to your desired destination to the time you spend in your new environment, it takes a lot of resources and energy to enable you to see the world, creating a lot of unnecessary waste in the process.
You need fuel to power your mode of transportation. Paper and plastic are used in travel documents, hotel keys, etc. Plastic, paper, and foam products are used to package your meals and munchies as you eat on the go. And don’t forget all those plastic travel-sized product containers you’ll collect. The list of waste can really go on and on. Travelers and those who cater to travelers produce a ton of it, so what is an eco-conscious wanderluster to do? Not travel? Well, no. The point of this is to encourage you to incorporate sustainability while you travel the world, not discourage it altogether. Living a more “eco-conscious” life means to live life to the fullest while taking small steps that make a big difference. So here are some of my eco-friendly travel tips you can easily apply to any and every trip.
1. Reduce Energy Consumption.
There isn’t much a traveler can do to decrease the amount of fuel a plane, boat, bus, or train will use, but there are some things you can control. For instance, when you are in a city or small town, opt for biking or walking versus taking a vehicle. The benefit of walking or biking is that you will get to see more of your new surroundings and even experience a little bit more of the local life. Also worth adding to the plus column, you will burn some major calories, giving you a little more room to indulge in drinking and eating whatever the heck you want. It is vacation, by the way. If you must be in a vehicle, opt for a ride share, bus or the metro to save on energy as much as possible.
2. Seek Out Eco–Friendly Lodging
The hospitality industry is slowly getting on board with going green and there are more eco-friendly options than ever before. When planning your lodging, search and select eco-hotels, camps, and resorts. If the hotel you want to stay at isn’t specifically designed to be green ask if they have a sustainability or eco-friendly program like points or discount for reducing water usage or reducing the number of times you get room cleaning services. When I have to stay in a big chain hotel I appreciate that brands like Marriott have water and energy saving programs where you can earn points for each day you do not get room service. Pointing this out is not a promotion for Marriott, but it’s worth pointing out simple ways brands make eco-conscious efforts. When planning your trip, choose the hotel that is right for you. Staying clear of big chains can offer a better “local” experience, so use resources like TripAdvisor to find places that have the GreenLeaders badge, which means that the hotel engages in environmentally friendly practices, or you can simply google eco-lodging in your destination area.
3. Pack the Right Apparel
The attire you pack should be able to travel well, be functional in many weather scenarios, and not need to be washed too often. Simply cutting back on washing your clothes will decrease your water usage (and give you more time for playing). This doesn’t mean you should spend your entire adventure in smelly and dirty clothes, but investing in apparel that is water resistant, stain resistant, and breathable, will stay clean and fresh longer than other materials. For a bikini that will stay fresh as I jump between water and land all day, I look for suits made with antibacterial (and sustainable) materials. You can find plenty of info on how to choose the right water-resistant and waterproof apparel for your own trip.
The number of plastic bottles and bags you use when you are away from home can quickly add up. Practice sustainability everywhere you go by bringing your own bottles and bags (B-Y-O-B-B).
Here are the B-Y-O-B-B’s I bring on my trips:
-One insulated bottle for hot beverages.
I recommend a quality insulated bottle like S’well or Manna. If you forget to pack your bottle, no worries. You can probably find an overpriced one at Starbucks or an airport gift shop.
-One compactable pack for water or cold beverages.
You could easily use the insulated bottle for both cold and hot beverages but I am always double fisting drinks so I bring my Vapur collapsible water pack. It folds up when empty so you can shove it in your pocket, backpack or purse.
-Bottles for body and beauty products
As tempting as the convenient travel-size and free trial-size products are, don’t use them. It creates unnecessary waste very quickly. Instead, buy reusable, empty travel-sized bottles and keep refilling them for every trip. At the end of the day, everyone is different and everyone has the own routine. Find products and green methods that are convenient for you yet still eco-conscious.
I hope you found these tips and my experiences helpful for your journey to living an adventurous, eco-friendly life. If you have any tips, please share them in the comments. If you found this useful please like and share via social.
Note: You can find more from the author about living a rad life and doing good in the world here.