Eco Travel 101
While checking places off the travel bucket list, keep in mind these traveling tips for leaving small footprints across the Earth.
Don’t Travel Far
Burning up jet fuel to fly to faraway places represents the largest affront to the environment. Staycations are the most eco-friendly. The shorter the distance we travel from home, the lower our carbon footprint. Because takeoffs and landings use the most fuel, fly direct whenever possible.
Some sites are so popular that they are prone to being overrun and abused. To avoid becoming part of the trampling herd and minimize tourist impact, visit the most popular tourist destinations during off-peak months or avoid them altogether. A green travel agent can help find less-trafficked destinations, book hotels with green certifications and secure eco-friendly tours and adventures.
Say No to Disposable Plastics
Put together a travel kit that doesn’t include throwaway plastics. Pack soap, shampoo and conditioner bars, as well as soap sheets that fit in a wallet, lather up with water and disintegrate. Invest in a reusable travel bottle—collapsible types use less space—along with a filter or purifier, in case of non-potable water. Pack a few lightweight cloth bags for souvenir shopping.
Most transportation tickets can be purchased online and stored on a phone, with no paper needed. The same is true for maps, brochures and guidebooks.
Help the local economy by using less of the area’s resources. Turn off the lights and air conditioning when not in the hotel room. Take short showers. Don’t get the bed remade with fresh sheets every day, and reuse towels as much as possible.
Support Local Businesses
To support community talent, purchase from local artisans for unique gifts. While a chain restaurant might seem fun, a local restaurant is more likely to serve authentic dishes. Ask residents where they would go, or hire a guide that lives in the area.
Use Public Transportation
Rental cars and taxis use more resources and may not give the best travel experience. Taking a local bus or train across town helps the environment and provides a great way to experience the culture. Biking and walking are even more environmentally friendly and allow for some of the best meandering and sightseeing.
Leave No Trace
Leave nothing behind. Place trash in receptacles, or, better yet, carry a bag and pick up trash to beautify the landscape.