7 Easy Tips to Travel Greener
Updated: Jan 15, 2019
Living a more eco-friendly life is never easy, but it is especially hard when traveling. You're out of your routine (in good way) and don't have all the same resources you would at home. You don't know if what you ordered will come in a plastic cup or glass, if there will be a straw or not, and, depending on where you go, you may not know if there is a greener way of getting around like you do when you're at home. But hope is not lost! Here are a few easy ways to travel while minimizing your impact on the planet:
1. Bars Not Travel-sized Toiletries
So many things come in bar-form these days, from the age old bar of soap to the relatively new bars of shampoo and conditioner. Unlike travel-sized items, which have more plastic per volume than any normal-sized product, bars are completely plastic-free. Plus, since they're solid instead of liquid, you don't have to worry about going over your 3 ounce limit. Score!
2. Reusable Water Bottle
When aren't reusable water bottles a good idea? They're great in your normal life, and they're really helpful when traveling. Reusable bottles let you take water with you when exploring a new area, which is perfect when you're someplace remote and just plain nice if you don't want to waste time in a convenience store.
Before you even get to your destination, most airports have water fountains you can refill at, cutting down on plastics and saving you from airport price gouging. A win-win! Just make sure your bottle is empty when you go through security.
3. Think About Your Transport
Using buses and trains instead of cars or planes significantly cuts down on emissions. So before you book your next flight or pack up your trunk, ask yourself is there another way you could get there? A lot of times there's not. You can't cross an ocean or go 3,000 miles in a day without a plane, but that doesn't mean you can't use greener transportation once you get to your destination.
Consider renting bikes or taking local public transport when visiting a new city. It's generally easier than driving in a foreign place, and it lets you see more of the city while feeling a bit like a local. Map out your day trip and see if you can walk anywhere or, if you're in a rush, try a ride-sharing app rather than a taxi to keep one more car off the roads.
4. Don't Buy Things No One Will Use
It's easy to go into a gift store and buy a lot of cheap, plastic knick-knacks with the name of where you're staying on them, but these are terrible for the environment and will only be thrown out within a couple weeks. Instead consider buying more eco-friendly souvenirs that will actually be used, like clothing from a local store or a bottle of wine made in that region. These items are plastic free and support local businesses.
Need some more examples? Scarves, earrings, and bags are one-size-fits-all items that are sure to be worn. Chocolate, cheeses, spices, oils, or whatever else your destination is known for bring a taste of your adventures back to those waiting for you at home. Just make sure you pack it appropriately so you don't lose all your souvenirs in security.
5. Dine in for All Your Meals
Take out food usually involves a lot of plastic and packing that gets thrown out the minute you open your food. Instead opt for eating in the restaurant and sipping your coffee in the cafe. It cuts down on waste, and lets you really experience the area. You're on vacation, so what's the rush anyways?
6. Bring Reusable Bags
Whether you plan on shopping or hiking, you're going to need some sort of bag for what you bought or for your dirty clothes and muddy boots. Bring a couple of reusable bags that fold-up to be smaller than your phone to save the planet from single use plastics and your luggage from being too full.
7. Mix and Match Outfits You Can Wear More Than Once
This may seem like a tip to save space in your bags, but is also helps the environment by cutting down on water usage. Plus, if you get used to thinking about each item of clothing you bring and comfortable with a limited wardrobe on your trips, you might find yourself doing the same in real life. Fast-fashion is one of the most wasteful industries, and by opting for fewer, higher quality pieces you'll wear more, you're helping fight that trend.
It is tough to balance living life and living green, especially in a new place, but these small tips can have a big impact. Remember, a mile is made up of 2,000 steps.