Do you love traveling, but hate anything that harms our planet? It can be difficult to always do your best when it comes to the environment, especially if you’re in a new and unfamiliar place. Behold, 7 easy eco-friendly travel hacks that will make you feel a little better about all those air miles and carbon emissions:
Avoid flying when you can
While taking a train might not be possible if you’re crossing oceans, plenty of destinations are reachable on land rather than by air. It may take a little longer, but you’ll get plenty of stellar views out of that train window. If you must fly, choose direct – long routes might be cheaper, but they’re much less eco-friendly. Certain airlines are worse than others, too, so do your research before booking your flights.
Choose your accommodation wisely
The place you choose to stay can have a big effect on your environmental impact. Be sure to choose an accommodation provider that takes minimizing its emissions seriously. During your stay, only ask for fresh towels and sheets if you really need them. A huge amount of water usage in hotels is due to laundry.
Additionally, if you’re going to be taking tours during your trip, choose a hotel that works with green tour providers. For example, Samoan hotel Tanoa Tusitala partners with Manoa Tours. Manoa is an environmentally conscious company. They ensure that no trip damages the delicate natural environment in any way. Thala Beach Lodge in Port Douglas, Australia is also a great example of eco-friendly accommodation. The lodge focuses on environmental rehabilitation efforts through environmental sustainability and wildlife conservation. Stay at a hotel like Tanoa Tusitala and Thala Beach Lodge: when you embark on your tours, you’ll be able to do so guilt-free. Knowing you’re supporting a green company is important both at home and away.
If you don’t lug a huge suitcase along with you, you won’t be so tempted to fill it with things you don’t need. Take plenty of photos and allow yourself a souvenir or two, but don’t use travel as an excuse for mindless consumption. When you do purchase goods, though…
…Buy from locals
If you buy from locals, you’re supporting the communities you’re visiting, rather than huge corporations. Depending on the area you’re in, they may make their own products or source them locally. Feel free to ask – this way, you won’t be buying things that seem genuine but are actually made in a far-away country. Just be sure to avoid anything made with endangered animals – it’s not uncommon to see products like these in some areas.
Bring reusable containers
If you’re eco-conscious, you probably already use a reusable coffee cup at home. Why not bring it with you next time you travel? This goes for water bottles, too. Buying water can get insanely expensive, especially in summer when street vendors mark up their prices for tourists. Some places will even give you discounts on coffee or food if you bring your own containers.
Eat locally-sourced foods
When you head to the greengrocer’s or supermarket, choose fruits and vegetables that are in season and haven’t come from a continent away. This also supports local growers, so you’ll be giving back to the place you’re visiting.
Choose restaurants that are run by locals, and that offer tasty, locally-sourced meals. Not only will you be helping the environment, but you’ll also have a much more rewarding experience if you sample the local cuisine.
Of course, it’s better to avoid emissions in the first place, but from a travel standpoint, this can be near impossible. After your trip, use a carbon footprint calculator online to assess the emissions you made. Once you’ve got a number, you can offset these emissions by making a donation to a verified carbon-reducing project.