Sustainable travel should be on everyone’s mind when it comes to planning a trip. Unfortunately, the environmental impact of many of the traditional ways of traveling are enormous. From airplanes to hotels, the traditional ways of traveling are not always so kind to mother earth. However, there are some easy things that you can do that will lighten your trips carbon footprint, and maybe even give you a unique experience at the same time.
For a complete list of green travel suggestions, check out Bed and Tree’s Green Travel Guide and Charlie on Travel’s What is Sustainable Travel?. Below are our picks for 10 easy ways you can be mindful of your carbon footprint while traveling.
1. Couchsurf: Obviously! Staying at a home where you are aware of the water and electricity consumption will help you reduce the amount you use. Stay with friends, family, use Couchsurfing or plan a home-stay!
2. Small, Local, Eco-Friendly: If you have to stay in a hotel, the smaller the better. And check their eco-friendly credentials! The smaller the property, generally the less electricity used!
3. Do Not Disturb: You don’t wash your towel after every use at home, why do you when you travel? If you are staying at a hotel, throw on a ‘do not disturb’ sign on your door and let the housekeeping staff know you don’t need the daily room clean.
4. Avoid Flying: Traveling over land is much better for the environment than by air. Sometimes it’s unavoidable but if there is a train or bus option – consider taking it!
6. Pack light, and sustainably! The heavier your bag, the heavier your footprint. Keep in mind how much you bring and how sustainable, reusable and wasteful each item may be.
7. Use your legs! Walk, hike, run, bike, unicycle, rollerblade. Anything that uses your personal energy is the best transportation of the environment!
8. Public Transportation is your friend: If walking (or roller blading) isn’t an option, try to utilize public transportation rather than a car.
9. Buy second hand: We all love shopping when we travel, but the fashion industry has a huge carbon impact. Break the cycle! and next trip, head to a used clothing store, thrift shops, vintage and second-hand to get a taste of the local fashion there. Save money and the environment.
10. Eat in – don’t take out: The paper, the plastic, the styrofoam! Cut it all out by simply dining in and enjoying the ambiance.
Now, with these tips in mind, go forth and plan your next trip! Seeing the world is great, but lets be mindful of our footprint so that it’s around for the next generation to explore as well.