For many people the idea of “going green” can be overwhelming. I try to turn off lights when I’m not in the room, I walk more than I drive, and I care about where my food comes from, but I’m not about to commit to buying only eco-friendly clothes, composting in my backyard, or quitting travel. I’m sorry, Mother Earth, but it’s just not going to happen. The good news for me, and others like me, is that going green in travel doesn’t have to mean completely changing your travel style or giving up your wanderlust all together. A few simple things can make a big difference.
Among the easiest to implement tips for eco-friendly travel are tips that can also make for a better travel experience. If you have the time, take the train rather than flying. You’ll put out fewer carbon emissions and see more the place you’re visiting. Eating and drinking what’s local means your food travelers less distance to read you (putting out less pollution in transit), you get a more authentic experience, and you support the local economy. Taking public transport and biking around a city can also help you reduce pollution while getting more out of the experience.
But what about times when it seems so hard to go green? For example, if you’re planning an eco-friendly Hawaiian vacation, you may be concerned about the long flight and how much you’ll need to use your rental car. Well, there’s not much you can do about the length of the flight and the emissions it puts out, but you can buy carbon offsets and limit yourself to just the flight there, rather than flying to island hop. You can also limit the use of your car by staying in a hotel with some shops and restaurants within walking distance. And when you do want to go out and explore, look into a tour or offer to carpool with other guests at your hotel or hostel.
Every little bit adds up – from buying eco-friendly backpacks to refilling your water bottle rather than buying more plastic – and thanks to the abundance of eco-friendly hotels and green travel products, traveling green is easier than ever.
Photo by sreenisreedharan