Good news for environmentally conscious travel lovers: we have a list of tips and tricks to make your vacation abroad more eco-friendly. Walking is well and good, but sometimes it just doesn’t do the trick. If flying is your only option to reach your destination, try to follow these easy tips to reduce your carbon footprint.
You might be surprised to find that environmentally sustainable travel begins even before you leave the house. Packing sparsely doesn’t just reduce your baggage fees; it keeps the plane lighter which means it takes less fuel to keep it in the air. Believe it or not, every kilo counts.
Bring Green Toiletries
A great way to save space in your bag is to ditch the shampoo, shower gel, and toothpaste altogether. They always end up making a mess in your bag anyway. Instead of a big bottle, try using a shampoo bar: they are compact, plastic-free, and won’t leak all over your favorite sundress. Likewise, bring a bar of soap and tooth-tablets in place of toothpaste. And if you’re going somewhere warm, don’t forget to check that your sunscreen is reef-safe.
Say No To Domestic Flights
Although taking an international flight can be unavoidable, short domestic flights are something to steer clear of. Instead, try renting a hybrid or electric car and making it a road trip! If you don’t like driving, try taking the train, the bus, or – for the truly adventurous traveler – rent a bicycle and try a cycling vacation. Not only are these options more eco-friendly, but they also provide an opportunity to see the local scenery.
Take Public Transportation
Although it may be less glamorous than calling an Uber or Lyft to your destination, taking public transit is a great, green way to get a feel for a city. By renting a bicycle, taking the bus, or riding the subway you can share the experience of the local people, and you reduce your carbon emissions too.
This one seems obvious, but purchasing and eating locally grown in-season produce is an essential aspect of sustainable vacationing. Head to the local produce market, and check out what the locals are eating. Don’t forget your reusable shopping bag! When you are out for coffee or cocktails, remember to bring along your reusable straw and coffee thermos or water bottle for drinks on the go.
Say “Home Sweet Hotel”
Although you are on holiday, try to treat your hotel room as if it were your own home to reduce waste. That means making sure that you turn off the A/C and lights when leaving for the day, and reusing your towels rather than asking for a new one every day. Don’t feel guilty about taking the toiletries either. Hotels throw away the shampoos, soaps, and other bathroom items from your room after you check-out, even if they were opened but unused.
Choose Eco Excursions
While you’re planning the fun for your vacation keep in mind that some activities are more sustainable than others. Check out the Global Sustainability Tourism Council to see if the tour you’re interested in is certified as an environmentally sustainable project. Or try some eco-activities on your own such as kayaking, paddleboarding, or snorkeling (just don’t touch the fragile coral reef) rather than taking a tour by boat or car.
Buy Gifts That Give Back
When you are looking for the perfect keepsake for your holiday try to find stores that sell sustainable items which benefit local charities and community groups. Research charities in your area or try Local Charities Worldwide to find a shop in your destination. Many shops sell handmade jewelry and gifts, made from upcycled materials in the area. Often with the added bonus of supporting veterans, orphans, or people who can not otherwise support themselves.
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Disclaimer: Current travel rules and restrictions can change without notice. The decision to travel is ultimately your responsibility. Contact your consulate and/or local authorities to confirm your nationality’s entry and/or any changes to travel requirements before traveling. Travel Off Path does not endorse traveling against government advisories