As awareness continues to rise regarding climate change, pollution, and mankind’s generally negative effects on the environment, more and more people are trying to lead eco-friendly lives and ‘go green’ however they can.
From cutting down on wasted water at home to riding a bike rather than driving everywhere, there are many ways you can make your own little difference for the world, and there are plenty of ways to travel in a more ecologically-friendly manner as well.
Being kind to the environment doesn’t mean you can’t still enjoy vacations, road trips, and outdoor adventures; it simply means that you can do things a little differently here and there to minimize your impact on the world around you while still enjoying your time away.
With this in mind, let’s take a look at 10 simple tips everyone can follow in order to make their trips and travel greener!
Plastic is one of the worst contributors to pollution. It typically takes centuries to biodegrade, so tons of plastic ends up in landfills and oceans, killing wildlife and destroying environments. Plenty of plastic can be recycled, but if possible, it’s best to try and minimize your plastic usage overall, especially while traveling.
This means trying to avoid using plastic water cups, straws, and bottles. Invest in your own long-lasting travel bottle and use it throughout your trip. In general, depending on where you’re visiting, drinking water can contain toxic contaminants, so you may even want to buy a bottle that comes with filtration or UV technology to kill bacteria and remove undesirable elements.
Direct Flights Only
Whenever possible, avoid flying: air transport is responsible for 3% of global greenhouse gas emissions. If you really can’t, try to book direct, non-stop flights to your destinations. Why? Well, air travel does produce a lot of carbon emissions, but it’s actually the processes of take-off and landing that contribute the most to global warming. So, if you can take a direct flight and only have one take-off and one landing, you’ll minimize your impact. These days, many airlines also offer carbon emission offset programs, so keep an eye out for those as well. As part of these programs, you can pay a small additional fee while booking your ticket in order to offset the carbon emissions produced by your journey.
Other Transport Options
Clearly, there are times when flying is absolutely essential for your trip, but if you can, try and look for alternate means of transport. As outlined above, air travel is one of the worst options for global warming.
If possible, try to drive to your destination, ideally in an eco-friendly car, and enjoy all the fun of a road trip, or consider options like buses and trains too. Similarly, when you arrive at your destination, make use of public transport or bikes to get around when possible.
Look For Green Hotels
Even when choosing your accommodation, you can find options that help you to enjoy a green and eco-friendly trip. There are many ‘green hotels’ out there nowadays to stay at.
These hotels go the extra mile, introducing eco-friendly policies, recycling programs, commitments to green energy, rainwater harvesting, and so on in order to reduce their own impacts on the environment and be kinder to the world around them.
If you like the idea of taking an eco-friendly trip, then you’re probably someone who already follows eco-friendly practices at home. Don’t forget to keep up those same practices when you’re on vacation.
This means always remembering to turn off lights when you leave a room, trying to reduce water waste by taking short showers and not leaving faucets running, unplugging your devices when they’ve finished charging, etc.
Try To Pack Light
Not only is this an eco-friendly tip, but it’s also just a smart choice in general. When preparing for any kind of trip, many people have a tendency to pack far more stuff than they actually need, such as clothes, accessories, toiletries, and so on.
Try to keep your luggage light. This will reduce your impact on the environment, as planes use up more fuel when carrying heavier loads, and it will help you have a better time too, as you won’t need to haul around some heavy case everywhere you go.
Support Local Businesses
When you’re traveling to new and exotic places, far and wide, try to support local businesses when possible. Local shops and restaurants will typically make use of local products and ingredients.
This means that the goods and meals they sell will have a smaller carbon footprint, as they won’t have had to travel many miles in trucks and planes to get there. It’s usually much more eco-friendly to support local businesses than big brands.
Follow The Guidelines
If you’re heading somewhere that involves exploring nature, hiking through jungles, or paddling along rivers, make sure you’re fully aware of all the associated rules and guidelines and follow them to the letter.
Stay on the trails and avoid heading off into the wilderness, where you may inadvertently disturb some of the local wildlife, and make sure you never leave any waste behind when adventuring in natural spaces.
Small Tours and Green Itineraries
In general, smaller group tours are the best option for eco-friendly travel. Large groups of people trekking through nature are far more likely to disturb or damage the local environment than smaller groups.
It also tends to be much more enjoyable for most people to be part of a smaller group, able to ask questions and feel like a bigger part of the experience, than simply walking around with a larger crowd. So try to search for small tours when booking your activities and expeditions.
In order to preserve our planet for future generations and help the world be a safe and comfortable place for ourselves and other forms of life to carry on living, it’s vital we all play our part. As the tips above show, traveling green really isn’t too difficult and won’t impact your vacation experiences in any negative way, so be sure to bear these top tips in mind the next time you plan a trip.
Author: Susan Melony
Cover image: photo by Tyler Nix on Unsplash