Most of us need to travel from time to time. Whether it’s for business, a solo backpacking trip before starting college, or a much-needed vacation with the family to escape work or school for a few weeks; traveling is necessary for millions of people across the globe. However, when it comes to travel in 2019, it’s important to travel smart and to travel sustainably.
Even if the distance from A to B involves several modes of transport and a stop-over in a city along the way, there are plenty of ways to be eco-friendly when traveling to your destination. Especially when traveling with kids, being green is a great example to set to future generations to encourage them to learn the importance of helping to protect our environment.
Many people think that being eco-friendly means they have to give up modern luxuries or use up valuable time or effort in doing so. In fact, there are many ways to be green whilst traveling.
Check your home before leaving
If you know that you’re going to be away for weeks or even months, ensure that your home has been eco-proofed before you close the door. This includes things such as checking that the thermostat isn’t programmed to heat the home while you’re away, fixing any dripping taps, turning off any standby switches on TVs and radios, as well as checking all lights are off to conserve energy. If you have a neighbor or friend you can trust with your house keys, you could ask them to inspect your home after you leave to make sure that no electricity or water is being wasted. Another plus is they could water the plants while you’re away.
Choose green transportation
It is impossible to travel without adding to your carbon footprint, however, there are ways to reduce it significantly. Most modern airlines give you an option to offset your carbon emission by checking a box, usually meaning a donation of roughly $10, but there are other ways, too. Choosing to travel by train or bus is a better option to decrease your carbon footprint-especially if you want to travel within Europe or from one U.S. state to another, for example. Buses are affordable, dependable, and with Omio it is easy to book bus tickets online. It is true that bus rides can be longer in some cases, but you get to skip boarding gates and queues! With a good podcast, a sandwich, or a book, the journey goes by quickly.
Walking, cycling or using public transit
It’s usually easy to choose an eco-friendly hotel wherever you’re traveling to, but it’s still important to be green while you’re traveling around the area. If it’s feasible, take public transport and ride a bike as much as you can, and don’t forget that you can walk everywhere for free! You often get to know a place much better when you walk and stop to appreciate the surroundings. If renting a car is an absolute must, see if hybrid, electric, or fuel-efficient options are available from the rental company.
Ease up on the paper and takeaway items
Simply have your boarding pass on your smartphone-there’s no need to print it out. Don’t print out long itineraries or lists of must-see attractions either, but write them on a laptop instead. Save the document on Google Drive so you can access anything on a phone or tablet when you arrive at your destination. Bring a reusable water bottle with you and fill it with tap water instead of buying a plastic bottle, and use a coffee thermos rather than a takeaway cup. Similarly, bring a few tote bags in your luggage, which will help you cut down on plastic bags entirely.
Eat at local, independent restaurants
Not only is it better to be familiar with the local cuisine of the area, you’re supporting local businesses who will either grow their own healthy produce or likely use fresh ingredients from nearby farms and markets. You can get a McDonald’s or KFC in nearly every city, and these places often ship in frozen and packaged items from all over the world. Avoid these chain restaurants and eat locally. The same goes for buying any fruit or veg for a snack, as it’s far better to use farmers’ markets than the big supermarkets located everywhere.
Those are just a few ways to travel green, but remember that many of these ideas can be implemented into everyday life when you get home!