Want to make your travel experience a little more eco-friendly? Thankfully, it’s not nearly as difficult to do as it once was. Thanks to hotels taking a renewed approach to sustainability, airlines getting in on carbon footprint reduction or even elimination and more tour providers than ever offering eco-friendly options, you have plenty of ways to enjoy travel while not being as worried about killing the planet.
For those seeking simple ways to take their green travel a little further, Forbes Travel Writer, Geoff Whitmore, suggests keeping these ideas in mind on your next trip.
1. Look For Eco-Friendly Vendors
As mentioned, more and more travel providers are jumping aboard the eco-friendly train. Look for these vendors specifically when you’re booking a trip. They won’t be difficult to find, as many brands know that this is an attractive facet for many travelers, and so they’ll be promoting this aspect of their brand proudly.
Even if you can’t find a totally green hotel to stay at in your destination, look for those that at least have made active choices to reduce their carbon footprint, such as removing single-use plastics from guestrooms, installing motion-sensitive lights and replacing single-use toiletries in bathrooms with bulk bottles.
2. Consider Your Method Of Travel
Flight-shaming has become a thing in the travel world recently. While sometimes flying is absolutely necessary to get you where you need to go, sometimes it just isn’t. If you can get where you’re going by car or train, rather than plane, consider it.
Not only will you be helping the environment, but you’ll also often enjoy a more affordable cost and you won’t have to deal with pesky security lines, wait times in terminals or the possibility that your flight could be delayed or canceled. All you have to do is board the train or hop in your car and go.
If you have to fly, try to book non-stop flights. Take-off and landing use the most energy and result in the most environmental harm.
3. Look At Your Suitcase
Sometimes just packing a few extra items can result in energy savings and sustainability over time. Throw a refillable water bottle into your carry-on bag, so you’re not tempted to buy endless bottles of water at the airport or consume the same while you’re on the plane. Many airports have installed free filling stations just for this purpose, so you can refill your bottle as much as you need to.
While you’re at it, pack a few extra outfits. If you use the hotel’s laundry services, they’re likely going to wash everything in small loads, as they don’t want to mix your laundry with another guest’s. However, this is a giant waste.
If you’re worried about needing to get something cleaned while you’re traveling, just pack an extra pair of pants or an extra shirt rather than ask the hotel staff to wash your items for you.
On the flip side, though, don’t overpack, just because you’re not sure if you’ll need three extra pairs of shoes. Make decisions, be sensible and pack just what you actually need.
4. Getting Around Your Destination
One amenity that many hotels now offer is free bicycle rentals. Even if this isn’t an amenity that your hotel offers, you can often find affordable bike rentals or even scooter rentals in many major cities, conveniently located near major tourist hubs. So, before you book that Uber to take you 10 blocks down the street, consider cycling around the city instead.
Not only is it more sustainable, but it’s often more affordable and healthier. Plus, you enjoy the luxury of seeing more of the city around you as you go. You’ll be able to stop and check out the sights and sounds at your leisure.
5. Shop Responsibly
Green travel isn’t only about what resources you use or don’t use. It’s also about how you travel to a destination impacts the locals and their economic status. Travel should boost the local economy and provide more resources to those who live in the destination.
Instead of shopping at chains or buying cheap souvenirs that were imported from abroad, seek out local shops and restaurants, and purchase items that were made right there in the region. You get a great, unique souvenir, and you’re helping a local family keep food on the table at the same time. While you’re at it, skip the plastic shopping bag.
6. Lose All The Paper
Why is there so much paper associated with travel? Go digital and keep all of your important documents on your phone. Similarly, forget that old travel advice that you need printed copies of all your documents, like your driver’s license or passport. Just take a photo of it and have it on your phone and email.
Additionally, skip the printed guidebooks and maps. Why bother with all that paper when you can access the exact same information from a phone?
Going green when you travel isn’t difficult, but not all of the above suggestions will work for all travelers. The important thing, versus just following a laundry list of advice, is to make an effort and be conscious about your carbon footprint while you’re out exploring the beautiful planet.