tends to be on everyone’s minds during this time of year. Summer is ideal for
booking spontaneous trips and sight-seeing expeditions. But when planning your
next getaway, keep in mind that there are many simple choices you can make to
have a more eco-friendly and waste-free vacation!
You may be wondering why traveling green is a
positive and beneficial thing to do. Primarily, it is a way for you to show
respect, to be responsible to the environment, and to be a gracious visitor to
the foreign society you will be experiencing. Nobody appreciates a wasteful or
rude guest in their home – traveling to a different place is similar, as you
are an outsider in this place and conscientiousness is an ideal way to give back
for the beautiful sights and experiences.
First and foremost, pack light and sparingly. The
lighter you and your luggage are, the less energy you will need to travel from
Point A to Point B. This is also a great idea for your own mental energy as well,
since you will have fewer belongings to worry about and a lighter load to
carry. The most common pitfall travelers run into is packing too many outfits
or shoes – you need fewer clothes than you think to make it through a trip! Pack
versatile clothing that can be converted or used multiple ways in different
outfits. Check out this packing
guide from the Independent Traveler for
Make room in your luggage for reusable materials.
This is important, because you will be wasting fewer materials as you travel. A
reusable water bottle can be filled up at restaurants or water fountains
wherever you go. A reusable bag or two can be used to hold your souvenir
purchases and other miscellaneous items, and reusable containers are a great
way to store your own food, instead of resorting to takeout containers that get
While staying in a foreign place, look into greener
forms of transportation, such as biking or even walking. Many hot travel
destinations are easy to navigate on foot, so pack a good pair of sneakers or
hiking boots and hop to it!
If you are staying at a hotel, make the extra effort
to ensure all lights and air climate controls are turned off before leaving the
room, keep water usage to a minimum, reuse towels and sheets during your stay,
and put any recyclables into the proper receptacle. Hotels are not the only
place to spend nights abroad: online options such as Airbnb or Couchsurfing are great ideas that will expend fewer resources than staying in a typical
Sustainable Travel International has an online carbon
calculator that you can input your travel details into and adjust accordingly to ensure
you are maintaining a light carbon footprint while traveling.
Your common sense should inform you for how to
travel conscientiously as well. Simple things, such as not picking flowers or
leaves while walking through a nature trail, keeping quiet and not leaving food
debris so local animals remain undisturbed, taking all trash with you and disposing
of them in proper receptacles – these are all good ideas to minimize your
impact and ensure you are being a respectful guest during your trip.