There is no disputing that travel is great for our economy. According to the World Travel & Tourism Council, the travel industry is one of the world’s most powerful as it supplies 10 percent of the world’s jobs, at 313 million worldwide.
Unfortunately, it comes with some adverse side effects, like tourists putting a strain on cities, environmental degradation, litter, and fossil fuels by major airlines.
With global travel mostly on pause during the Covid-19 pandemic, a sizeable drop-in travel has helped heal our planet.
But is it possible to have the best of both worlds? A strong economy, millions of jobs, and healthy Earth? Now is an excellent time to re-think our travel with our planet in mind. Check out these seven tips to help you stay on top of your green game, even during your globe-trotting adventures!
Book non-stop flights.
Filling your car with fuel is one thing, but have you ever stopped to think about how much a plane uses just to get off the ground? By booking a non-stop flight, you can help conserve some of that valuable fuel.
Just as it happens with cars, taking off and landing takes more energy than cruising along at high altitudes does. So, when you take a direct, non-stop flight instead of hopping onto multiple planes that have to start and stop, you’re actually helping to ensure that the minimal amount of fuel is being used for the duration of your trip. Plus, who doesn’t want to avoid the stress of making connecting flights?
Utilize sustainable accommodations.
Did you know that many hotels have adopted green policies to cut down on the amount of waste that vacationers tend to accumulate? Many of them will advertise these measures on their websites to become familiar with them before you even arrive at your destination.
Instead of booking a high-end hotel full of every amenity, try staying somewhere that guarantees a lighter carbon footprint. There are tons of “green” and “eco” hotels out there that try to balance comfortable and luxurious accommodations with sustainability.
Bring reusable bottles, containers, and bags.
Instead of using disposable trash bags to store your dirty laundry on a trip, use a reusable laundry storage bag. This will keep any worn and dirty clothes from contaminating your clean clothes, and you won’t have to waste a garbage bag and contribute to the landfills.
Be sure to grab a reusable water bottle for your travels as well. It will be especially handy for while you’re traveling. And it’s not just to keep plastic out of landfills; over a lengthy trip, the cost of buying disposable water bottles every time you get thirsty can really add up! Bringing your own along saves you the trouble of repeat purchases and keeps trash cans a few ounces lighter. So, when you’re putting together a packing list, make sure you include a reusable water bottle – for both the environment and your wallet.
[Need some green ideas for road tripping- click here!]
Eat and drink locally.
Eat and drink locally to support the community or country that you’re visiting and consume food items that didn’t have to travel far before reaching your plate.
If meals come prepared with local ingredients, think about all the carbon that’s saved when putting together breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
Limit energy use and conserve water
Long, steamy showers are the perfect way to scrub off a long day of travel. Still, travelers’ staggering amount of energy and water negatively impacts locals much more than most tourists realize.
Ask your hotel about their water conservation approach and what you can do to minimize your impact; it should be much more than washing fewer towels.
Linens and things
Speaking of washing towels, you wouldn’t change your sheets and bath towels every day at home, so why do it on vacation? Request that your sheets and linens not be changed out every day to save on water and other resources expended during each load of laundry.
Most hotels have a housekeeping system anyway, so it’s a simple matter of conveying your request in the right way.
Leave a place better than you found it.
Communities need travelers more than ever, so while you are traveling, make a goal to contribute to the community and leave it better than you found it. So, soak in as much of the local flavor as you possibly can! It is a great way to experience a new place and doing so can help cut down on the pollution and waste products in that region.
Some other things you can do include:
- Cleaning up after yourself and minimizing your impact.
- Clean up after others. For example, if you go to the beach for the day, remove all your trash and make a vow to take away four to five extra pieces of litter that you find.
- Support local causes that interest you. We know it’s your vacation, but setting aside a half a day to do something good is amazing for the travelers’ soul.
- Donate what you don’t need.
There are many simple ways we can give the planet its own sort of vacation while you’re off sightseeing and exploring. Stay tuned to our blog for more eco-friendly and sustainable life tips!