Travel choices make a difference! Our impact on the Earth does matter and I believe, that reading this article you care about future of the sustainable environment. Whether you’re headed to the beach or the mountains, to get lost in nature or visit a big city, my simple tips for traveling green will help you having a great vacation while protecting the environment at the same time.
In the article A Beginner’s Guide to Eco-friendly Traveling I described first steps everyone should take to be more responsible traveler. Here’s more developed version of tips, to know what has a positive impact when you’re making your travel decisions.
10 practical tips for Traveling Green
1. Travel Overland
From all the means of transport, planes create the biggest amount of carbon emission, and the difference is significant. Sharing the load is the best thing you can do for the environment and in the same time see more places. Try to use bus, train, ferry or car sharing options. It will also add to your travel experience, providing you with opportunities to interact with locals. Same with hitch hiking, which can also be an unforgettable adventure! Walk and use bicycles or hybrid vehicles when possible. Nature will be thankful.
2. Pack light
Every kilo counts when flying. The more a plane weighs, the more carbon emissions it produces. This goes also for other methods of transportation like bus or car. Try to keep your luggage to one carry-on size bag and pack only what you need. If you don’t know how, here is the video guide.
3. Live like a local
Consider booking sustainable accommodation. Environmentally friendly options include staying in a resort, lodge, Bed & Breakfast, AirBnb or Couch Surfing. Not only does this provide you with a truly authentic travel experience, but it also lets you support local businesses. Try to buy from local markets and support local artists buying hand made souvenirs.
What’s more, treat the place to stay as your home. You will make the hotel saving a lot of water if your reuse towels and don’t take very long showers. Same with electricity: try to switch of the A/C and all the devices, when you are leaving the room.
4. Travel slowly
The slower you travel, the less carbon footprint you leave by using less transportation. Moreover, it will allow you to explore the place better, feel it and get to know the culture deeper.
5. Try to limit plastic waste
It’s great if you carry your own container because you won’t have to buy plastic bottles all the time. Same with cutlery or plastic bags. I am always carrying cotton bag for shopping or daily use for my personal belongings and have spork (travel spoon – fork) in my backpack.
6. Stay on the path
It’s great to be adventurous and go out off the beaten path but not when it comes to nature. Stay on trails and public footpaths to not destroy plants, which may be indangered. Respect the local environment by being kind to the animals, not feeding them and not disturbing their life. Never litter!
7. Enjoy local food and drinks
Eat street food instead of buying from restaurants chains. Drink a locally brewed beer and not only will you probably enjoy a high quality Ale, but your drink can be low-carbon by cutting down on ‘beer mileage’.
8. Don’t waste paper
Before the trip we sometimes get stressed and print tons of pages which may be useful but in the end are not necessary. Rethink what is really essential. While you travel, return maps, brochures and other tourist info once you’re finished with them. They can be still helpful for other travelers.
9. Volunteer and support local iniciatives
There are lots of ways of changing the world whilst you are on holiday. Short or long voluntary placements are available all aroud the world. Visit local projects like eco-farm or local tribes tea plantations. Spend your holiday on the organic farm instead of visiting next museum or temple. Commit a random act of kindness such as cleaning up the beach from rubbish. These type of experiences enrich your personality, protect the environment and provide unforgettable memories.
10. Immerse in outdoors
Traveling green is also about activities you take. The best way to leave no carbon footprint is to stay outdoors. Try camping, cycling, bird watching, jungle trekking or snorkeling. In the same time be responsible: use only organic soap, don’t be a rubish bug and respect the environment.
Holidays are definitely the perfect time to let your hair down and relax, but you should remain responsible. Traveling green doesn’t have to feel like a bunch of renunciations. Try to respect nature and leave nothing but footprints.