How to Stay Green While Traveling
By Emily White
Everyone loves to travel, but it’s no secret that between the planes, trains, and automobiles that it takes to get you to your destination, traveling can often be quite detrimental to the environment. However, by following just a few simple steps, you can ensure that your traveling plans will be a little more eco-friendly.
Before You Leave
Prep your house: Before you set off on vacation, make sure to turn down your thermostat and turn off the lights – keeping the heat running and lights on will use up unnecessary energy while you’re gone. Completing this step will not only help the environment, but it will cut down on your bills too!
Pack Smart: Before hitting the road, ensure that you’re only packing what you absolutely need. The heavier your bags are, the more fuel your mode of transportation will be forced to use. Plus, packing light is beneficial on many levels: not only do you have fewer things to lug around, but it also teaches you to be more minimalistic and live simpler.
Bring a Reusable Bottle. As simple as it may sound, this step can go a long way in reducing your carbon footprint while traveling. By bringing a reusable bottle (preferably made of metal or glass), you’ll be able to cut back on a substantial amount of wasteful plastic that comes along with buying bottled water. In addition to reducing your plastic consumption, you’ll also be saving water – it takes about 3 litres of water to manufacture 1 litre of bottled water!
Choose Your Method of Travel Wisely. Consider how far you have to travel when selecting your mode of transportation. Although trains and busses may take a bit longer, they are more efficient and eco-friendly ways to get to your destination.
Airplanes. Often times, taking an airplane is unavoidable. If this is the case, try and select a flight with the most direct route. Despite being a tad bit more expensive, you’ll be significantly reducing your carbon footprint as planes use the most fuel during takeoff and landing.
Pick a Green Hotel. When deciding on a hotel, be sure to ask questions about the hotel’s recycling program, whether or not it has programs in place to reduce consumption, and if it is locally owned and staffed. While staying at the hotel, choose to reuse your sheets and towels, rather than having them washed and changed each day. Keep showers short to save water, and turn off all electronics and air conditioning/heating when you leave your room for the day.
Rent a Bike. One of the best ways to see a new city is to see it on a bicycle! You’ll get to move quickly through your destination while avoiding traffic, see the city like a local, and help the environment.
Eat Local. Another great way to see the city like a local while staying green is to consume locally sourced food. For a fresh meal that will also help support the community, make sure to look for restaurants that use locally sourced ingredients. You can also look for local farmers markets to get fresh ingredients to cook with.
Using these simple steps, you should be able to make your getaway fun and enjoyable for both you and the environment. When you return from your trip, you can calculate your carbon footprint here.
PS: A great way to compensate for some of that carbon footprint is to get outside, get dirty, and plant a tree!
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