Living an eco-friendly lifestyle has many positive benefits, but can sometimes be difficult to keep up with on the road. Sustainable travel is all about making simple choices in order to lessen your negative impact on a given destination.
Individually, each one of our choices makes only a small difference in the bigger picture, but collectively, becoming more conscious can have a huge cumulative impact. Here are a few practical tips for eco-friendly travel.
Offset your impact
Airline pollution is a major issue that is only projected to get worse as the number of airline passengers is expected to double by 2037. As incomes in developing economies increase, flying is becoming more affordable for hundreds of millions, if not billions, of people. With this in mind, consider buying carbon offsets with your next flight. Carbon offsets are a form of trade. When you buy an offset, you are funding projects that reduce greenhouse gas emissions such as restoring forests, updating power plants and factories, or increasing the energy efficiency of buildings and transportation. They allow you to pay to reduce the global greenhouse gas emissions total instead of making radical or impossible reductions of your own. As you’re booking your next flight, check to see if your airline offers it as an add-on to your ticket or if the offsets are already included into your ticket price.
Shop secondhand for your travel attire
Chances are if you’re going on vacation you’re going to buy some new clothing to wear on your trip. Rather than going to the mall to shop for your travel look, consider shopping secondhand instead. A lot of water and chemicals go into manufacturing our clothing. If the clothes are recycled, it means we are being more sustainable. The water that is used to make these clothes can now be used for other purposes, like drinking water, instead of getting lost as industrial waste. Though the anticipation and excitement for your upcoming trip might tempt you to want to purchase all new outfits, resist the urge and go the more sustainable route by buying used. As you plan your next trip, check out your local thrift or consignment shop. If you’re in a time crunch, utilize online secondhand shops like thredUP who offer a variety of travel-friendly clothing from top brands like Madewell at low prices. From comfy clothes you can wear on your flight to the perfect dress for dinner at a fancy new restaurant, they make it easy to shop for travel clothes.
Stay at an eco-friendly hotel
As going green becomes more mainstream, many hotels are making adjustments to meet the demand. Eco-friendly hotels are created and managed with sustainability and a lower impact in mind. From zero-impact locations that support the local community to non-toxic housekeeping practices and energy-efficient practices, eco-friendly hotels will truly make your next vacation guilt-free. Who says you can’t save the planet while on vacation?
Make the most of hotel amenities
You may think you’re doing your hotel a favor by not using the small amenities they leave out such as soap, shampoo, or toothpaste, but many hotels actually end up throwing away unused hotel items. If you don’t plan on using the amenities during your stay, take them with you. You never know when they may come in handy, plus you can reuse the bottles for any future trips. Be sure to hang up your towels after each use as well to let the hotel staff know that you’ll be using them again. You most likely don’t wash your own towels at home every day, so why do it when you travel? Unless you’re on an extended stay and have no other choice, consider washing your own clothes when you travel. Hotel laundry typically washes guests’ clothes separately using more water and energy.
Commute like a local
Every commute made in a single-occupancy vehicle puts more pressure on the environment. Instead of taking taxis to get around a new city, consider taking free walking tours instead. Not only will you get to see more on your trip, you’ll also reduce your carbon footprint. If walking isn’t your thing, take to the streets yourself by renting a bike or participating in a bike tour. If push comes to shove, commute like a local and take public transport to get around town as it will save on fuel and energy.