Travelling is essential to expand your global perspective and helps to expose you to new experiences, new cultures, and even make new friends. Still, for all its benefits, traveling can also be a massive strain on our planet when you leave your environmental footprint from flights, airports, hotels, and more. If you’re excited about your next vacation, being environmentally friendly should be the first thing in your mind when you start preparation. When you travel, you can create a lot of wastes in the process. From renting cars to plastic wastes, your wanderlust can leave a significant environmental footprint. We have added some doable eco-friendly travel tips for reducing your carbon footprint while traveling.
Eco-Friendly Travel Tips For Reduced Carbon Footprint
The Minnesota Office of Environmental Assistance reported a survey conducted by the U.S. Travel Data Center found 43 million Americans were “ecologically concerned” when traveling. But if you wonder, how you can travel in an eco-friendly way, there are few tips you should keep in your back before you go. Travel will throw our habits off, especially when you’re stuck in the airport or in the flight, which makes it much more challenging to be sustainable while on-the-go. If you are concerned about being eco-friendly while traveling, there are simple, low-effort hacks you can make which can have a substantially positive impact. Below are some amazing eco-friendly travel tips that will help you reduce your carbon footprint.
Choose an Eco-Friendly Transportation Method Whenever Possible
You can start your mission to be an eco-friendly traveler before you even hit the terminal. When booking your flights, check out airline sustainability reports to choose the most environmentally friendly airlines headed to your destination. For example, Alaska Airlines have drastically increased their capture of recyclable materials from flights, run a massive composting program, have shifted to sustainable aviation biofuel in select locations, and are consistently ranked number one in fuel efficiency for U.S. airlines. You can also plan your trip around other sustainable travel as an option, such as high-speed rail or even a biking trip if you love.
Limit Your Luggage
When traveling, either by flight or a car, each and every kilo counts. Take plane travel, for instance, the more a plane weighs, the more carbon emissions it will produce during the journey and so does any wagon. Limit the size of your luggage by stuffing only what you need. You’ll be making a difference to the environment.
Bring Your Water Bottle
Staying hydrated is a crucial component to maintain your physical and mental health while traveling. The Guardian reported that one million water bottles are being purchased across the world every single minute, so this is the best time to reduce your environmental footprint by using a refillable water bottle. Instead of going through a ton of plastic water bottles, try to bring your own. Always carry a reusable pet bottle. These days, almost every airports, hotels and city have a water dispenser, which is a suitable replacement for purchasing plastic water bottles, which can be incredibly harmful to our environment.
Have A Spill-Proof Coffee Mug
Apart from plastic water bottles, single-use coffee cups are significantly polluting the environment and fill up landfills. After you finish that long check-in at the airport, most of us go straight for Starbucks to get a coffee to refresh ourselves while we wait hours for our flight. That is our first disposable cup tossed into the landfill. Taking a reusable coffee cup is not only handy but also a reward for the environment. Throughout your trip, you’ll no doubt go through 20-30 coffee cups that fill up your trash bag full. By keeping a spill-proof tumbler in your bag, you can make your trip greener.
Ditch Plastic Straws
When we are on the topic of plastic wastes, let us make an effort to limit our use of plastic straws on vacation or whenever possible. According to the Department of Interior’s National Park Service, 500 million plastic drinking straws are used every day. Most of us don’t need a straw, but if you can’t drink beverages without sucking, invest in a marine-friendly alternative like a glass or metal straw that you can take with you everywhere you go. Whenever you go to a restaurant, bar or coffee shop, ask them to leave out the straw. It not only prevents you from adding one more single-use plastic straw to our ocean, but it also opens the window for a moment to educate them about the effect plastic has on our environment. If you can go straw-less to be eco-friendlier when you travel, that’s great.
Use Public Transportation
Next time you travel, skip the rent-a-car center at the airport (if possible), instead utilize public transport options in your location. The best way to explore a new place is usually on foot, and it can be the most sustainable. Save an image of the map of your destined location on your phone to prevent having to print or use the internet. If you’re in an area with public transportation, always take a train or subway instead of a taxi. However, if exploring by foot, bike, or train isn’t an option for you, you can still be conscious of your impact on the environment. When renting a car, prefer a smaller, eco-friendlier wagon for a lower impact.
Choose Apartments Or Shared Homes To Hotels
Hotels are not an eco-friendly option. From single-use plastic toiletries filling the bathroom to the daily cleaning of the sheets, towels, etc. in addition to coffee, tea, minibar restocks and plastic straws. Staying in local apartments or shared houses eliminates this excess single-use of items. It gives you a chance to cook, do your laundry when the sheets and towels are dirty and reduce the endlessly replaced travel-sized plastic madness in the bathroom. It will give you a local feel like you’re living in the city.
Choose Local Treats
Rather than striving to buy products you are familiar with, try local treats and drinks which haven’t been imported from far away. This is how you can cut the carbon footprint of your food, snacks, and beverages. Drinking a locally brewed beer is a good experience on its own, even better when you consider that. By doing this, you’re also cutting down on beer mileage’. Eating local food will make your holiday far more adventurous.
When enjoying the great outdoors, try to follow Leave No Trace principle. In particular, don’t litter, even gum and apple cores, and leave everything you find, including rocks, flowers, and leaves. When driving or hiking, stay on the road to avoid trampling plants and other foliage. When swimming or diving, don’t step or touch on coral.
Consider Your Souvenirs
Souvenirs are popular for a reason because they are the ways to remember a place we explored. The best souvenirs to get are the ones that benefit locals directly and have a little environmental impact. It is generally known that not to buy items made from Ivory or Coral, but try and go one step further when purchasing your next souvenir and remember to buy it from a local artisan. If you’re traveling to a wealthy country, it will be tempting to buy a fridge magnet, or I love City t-shirt. Instead, seek boutiques that run by local independent artisans or stores that offer souvenirs made locally. It will not only give money directly back into the local economy but also get you a better item in return.
Travelling will always create a bigger environmental footprint than being at home because you are away from your usual routine. It doesn’t mean we should not travel, though, as thoughtful travel can provide many benefits to us and the communities we visit. Most of the suggestions in this blog are relatively simple to adopt, so consider giving some of them a shot on your next trip. Add these eco-friendly travel tips to your travel bucket list on Woovly. Download the app now!
Enjoy all the beauty the world has to offer and make sure the next generations can enjoy it too!