In general, traveling isn’t the greenest endeavor. Nearly all modes of transportation lend themselves to smog and CO emissions. Once you’ve arrived at your destination, you’ll be treated to all manner of excess and waste – unless you’ve found someplace that offers eco-lodging. All is not lost, conversely. Small changes to the way you travel can lesson your carbon footprint, without lessening the quality of your vacation.
Where Are You Going?
When planning your eco-friendly trip, consider your destination. People who travel for work won’t have much say in where they go, but people traveling for pleasure will. Eco-tourists are encouraged to consider destinations closer to home, because less distance minimizes emissions.
If you must fly, look for airlines known for being more eco-friendly than others. A study, con-ducted by Brighter Planet, whose results were published in a Huffington Post article, concluded that Ryanair is the most efficient of all the airlines, while Continental airlines placed number 4. Of the major airlines, Continental seems to be the most green.
Environmentally friendly accommodations are popping up in tourist’s destinations all over the world. You can book a room at an energy efficient luxury hotel in Hong Kong or rent a small, sustainable bungalow in Thailand. There are options, even if it means forgoing the expensive RV rental and choosing to pitch a tent instead.
What Do You Bring?
Traveling light isn’t always the best option for eco-travelers, because it means purchasing disposable items along the way. Many eco-travelers like to backpack, simply because they can fit all of their reusable items into the large pack – this includes reusable eating utensils, full-size cleansers and aluminum drinking bottles. If you absolutely can’t take more than your carry-on, consider bringing the following items, instead of purchasing their plastic travel-sized counterparts.
- A shaving travel kit, like the Carry On Kit offered by The Art of Shaving. The kit features everything you need for a quality shave in a small carry-on sized bag. Travel kits eliminate the need for disposable items, which lend to landfills and are made from non-green materials.
- An aluminum water bottle. If you frequently drink water, soda, juice or another beverage, consider bringing along a reusable water bottle that you can fill at a fountain after passing security. Avoiding the purchase of plastic contained beverages is a small way to make a big difference while you travel.
- Solar chargers. You’re going to have to charge your phone and other devices while you’re traveling. Instead of relying on outlets and energy, why not switch to solar power? Your going to be above the clouds so let the sun do the work. Hemsol conducted a study proving that solar powered battery chargers are preferred by more than 80% of hikers due to their versatility in remote areas.
What Do You Do?
If you’re planning to rent a car, look for a green car – something like a hybrid. If possible, don’t rent a car. Choose to take public transportation instead. Either way, you’ll find plenty of green options for getting around.
Your green destinations can include anything natural, like mountains, beaches and cliff sides. You can inquire whether a restaurant recycles. Most green restaurants will be willing to answer questions about their green practices, if you call ahead. In general, asking around about green activities is the best way to find them.
These small changes will have a positive impact, no matter where you’re going. You can make a personal impact, even if businesses and destinations aren’t working their hardest to be environmentally friendly. By changing the way you travel, you’re setting the right example and doing the right thing. Eventually, the travel industry will catch on and begin implementing greener practices.