Reducing your carbon footprint is a lifestyle choice both at home and while vacationing. The good news is that traveling in an environmentally-friendly way is easier than you might think. Here are 10 eco-travel tips that can help you and your family travel in a more eco-friendly way:
1. Avoid Plastic Water Bottles
Plastic water or juice bottles are a big pollution problem in many natural spaces. Bring your own reusable water bottle to refill while traveling.
2. Fly Green
Choose the most fuel-efficient aircraft you can when flying, such as a Boeing 777 or an Airbus 345. Soon the Boeing 787 will be the most eco-friendly option, with fuel consumption that is 27 percent less than similar-sized aircraft.
3. Reuse Towels and Linens
Hotels are onboard with reducing their environmental impact by asking people to reuse their towels to save water. Some go one step further by using bamboo bath towels.
4. Eat Locally
When dining, try and find a farmer’s market, street vendor or farm to table restaurant so you can dine how the locals dine. The food will likely be delicious, locally grown and sourced, and you’ll get to directly experience the culture. You’ll also feel good about supporting the local community instead of chain or corporate restaurants.
5. Think Biodegradable
Chemicals in sunscreens, shampoos and detergents can damage fragile coral reef systems. Use reef-friendly sunscreen and biodegradable soaps.
6. Do Not Disturb
Place the “do not disturb” sign on your hotel room door so that housecleaning doesn’t clean your room every day and when it isn’t needed. For an extended stay, you’ll probably only need housecleaning service every two to three days.
7. Turn Off Lights, A/C and Heat
Don’t forget to turn power switches off when you are not using the appliance or before you leave your hotel room. Fossil fuels contribute to global climate change, and using less energy reduces your carbon footprint.
8. Plan Green Activities
Choose eco-friendly activities on your trip such as hiking the Grand Canyon, biking Colorado or kayaking the Wisconsin Dells will go a long way in having a green vacation. You’ll get to know the terrain more intimately while being kind to the environment.
9. Eco-friendly Wheels
If you must rent a car for all or part of your trip, select a hybrid or the smallest, most fuel-efficient car available. Big cars are gas guzzlers, so choosing a smaller car will help the environment while also saving money on and gasoline.
10. Don’t Feed the Animals
When you run into animals in the wild during your travels, do your best to blend into their world and leave them undisturbed. Do not feed them, aggravate them or try to capture them. Also, avoid buying animals or wildlife products from locals. Those “souvenirs” could be from endangered species poached from the wild and sold illegally. Also, don’t encourage locals to catch and keep wild, possibly endangered animals by paying to have your photo taken with them.
Traveling in an eco-friendly manner is easier than you might think. Many of the tips on this list require very little additional effort. However, the benefit to the environment is exponential, and you’ll enjoy your travels all the more knowing that you’re part of the solution.
Flickr image by Andrew Malone