For most of us, we have been on kind of a safety-imposed break from traveling lately, but know that we are all going to be able to travel again, in the not-too-distant future. Man, are we going to be happy to get out there. Some of us are even able to travel now or have had to, out of necessity. Whether it’s now or in the near future, it’s really great to travel and be as right with the environment as you can be whence you do it. The following are some helpful hints to help you to be good to the environment whenever you travel…
1. Pack Lightly and Be Good To The Environment When You Travel:
Who knew that the capsule wardrobe could simplify your life AND reduce your carbon footprint? It’s crazy, but true: the more the plane weighs, the great the CO2 emissions. So packing light, like the Capsule Wardrobe Concept I wrote about in a blog a few months ago, truly can make a difference beyond the ease of dressing on your trip. Other ways to save weight include packing an iPad or reader instead of weighty books and brining toiletries in smaller, biodegradable containers. Every little bit helps!
2. Take Public Transportation Whenever You Can:
Ok, so you might need to fly to get where you’re going… or drive… and both of these modes of transportation have pretty significant carbon footprints. But if you want to get to Fiji, though, you’re not walking. So once you’re there, you can lessen the impact of your travel by using public transportation and/or walking whenever possible. It’s a much greener option than private travel, like a taxi. An added bonus to this option, you can actually meet the locals on a bus or a subway and interact with them in ways that you never would in an Uber; and the bus is already going where it’s going, so you haven’t added to the impact on the environment by being on it. Nice!
3. Drink and Eat Locally and Responsibly:
Yes, I’m telling you to enjoy eating and drinking on your vacation – what a shock! Who doesn’t come home feeling like they did a little too much of that after a trip, for Pete’s sake? Best practices for Mother Earth when traveling, vis-a vis food, however, is to keep it local whenever possible. Consuming locally made wine and beer is not only a wonderful treat, but it’s a lot less harmful to the environment because local drinks and food, consumed near to where they are produced or raised, have smaller carbon footprints. Where possible, it’s also helpful to limit your consumption of meat and stick to a more vegetarian diet when traveling (actually, even when just living) as raising meat for food consumption, especially cows, accounts for 14.5% of the world’s greenhouse gases. I know! It’s mind-blowing. Also, bring a reusable water bottle (and make sure when you’re filling it you’re using safe, filtered water) and you will also limit plastics being introduced into the environment.
4. Conserve Energy Where You Stay:
They say (again, who exactly “they” are gives me pause) to “treat your hotel like your home” when you travel. This is not the same as “make yourself at home,” but it’s close. What they mean by that are things like: turn off the lights when you’re not in the room (like you would at home), don’t ask for extra towels just because you can (like you would at home or face the wrath of whoever is doing the laundry), don’t fill the ice bucket if you only need ice for two glasses (again, like home). You get the idea. Treat the place you’re staying as well as you treat your own home. If you do you, are reducing your CO2 emissions and thereby your impact on the planet. Sweet!
5. Shop Locally and Responsibly:
Who doesn’t want “a little something” from their travels? What you buy matters, however, when you travel. Try to stick to locally made items from local people or vintage items from resale shops when you shop for travel souvenirs. For the same reason that local foods and beverages are better, locally made products are better. And it’s the same for vintage items. You also, like riding the bus, get to interact more with the locals and appreciate your travel environment more. It’s a win…win…win!
Want to Learn More?
For further reading on the topic, check out this informative article in The New York Times: Be a More Sustainable Traveler, which includes information on green destinations and ideas about off-setting your travel by donating to organizations that help to reduce CO2 emissions.