Travel might not be the most sustainable activity you can take part in, but following this list of tips will help reduce your trip’s impact on the environment. Large amounts of fossil fuels, or old dinosaurs, are burned everyday to run planes, trains, and automobiles. There are approximately 93,000 commercial flights everyday, that is crazy! We have tried to mitigate some of it by traveling in a Honda Insight Hybrid, which we have been averaging around 44 miles to the gallon, not bad at all. We came up with this list, in no particular order, of other “green” things we can do as travelers to help Mother Nature.
1) Carbon Offset – There are companies out there like Trip Zero http://www.tripzero.com who will offset your trip’s carbon footprint, free of charge. Eric Zimmerman, TripZero’s founder, explains how it works, “When you book travel through our site, we calculate the carbon footprint created by your trip. We include both the impact of our transportation (air, train, car or bus) and your hotel stay. Then we offset that footprint by funding renewable energy and forestry projects. So, for example, when your flight to San Francisco creates two tons of C02 pollution, one of our forestry projects in Africa literally sucks that C02 out of our shared atmosphere. Best of all, it’s free. Through our partnership with Expedia we’re able to offer you the guaranteed lowest prices on the Internet. And there’s absolutely no charge for the carbon offsets, ever.”
2) Reusable Coffee Mug – Use this instead of using the paper cups provided at most hotels and gas stations. You’ll be able to take more liquid with you and it will stay hotter longer. Check out KeepCup The Worlds First Barista Standard 12-Ounce Reusable Cup, Lunar Eclipse, Medium
3) Hit the Light Switch – When you leave your room, turn out all the lights. If you need some light as you exit, open the widow curtains.
4) Reuse Bath Towels – Hang your towel up and use it a second time. You were clean the first time you used it.
5) Recycle – Use recycle containers when you can. I know from experience that we (USA) have a long way to go in getting recycling implemented all over the country, but when you have the option to recycle, use it. Some city’s, like Seattle, have done an incredible job while others have a long way to go. Bonus points for Compost!
6) Sustainable Eating – Seek out farmers markets to find locally grown, organic, cost effective and healthy eating options. Costas Christ, National Geographic Traveler contributing editor, added the use of smartphone apps like the Monterey Bay Aquarium Sustainable Seafood Watch to “avoid accidentally dining on threatened fish stocks.” You can read more of Costas’ work at National Geographic Traveler.
7) Eco Tourism – Stay at an Eco Lodge. Nowadays these can be found all over the world. Linda McCormick, from Eco Traveller Guide adds, “If you do want to stay at an eco lodge, make sure you ask to see the accommodation’s eco credentials before booking, or better still, ask a few questions, and always make sure you do a little research. Many lodges have jumped on the eco bandwagon, but are anything but green. There are internationally-recognized criteria as to what constitutes an eco lodge, drawn up by International Ecotourism Society co-founder Hitesh Mehta. They’re worth reading if you’re serious about finding a really good eco lodge: http://www.ecotravellerguide.com/2012/11/how-do-you-know-if-youre-staying-in-an-ecolodge/.”
8) Solar Charge – Use solar chargers to power your smart phone, tablet, or laptop. Even use larger systems on your RV and get off the grid, saving you a ton of cash and cutting down CO2 emissions through coal generated electricity. Check out the Goal Zero 41001 Switch 8 Silver/Black Solar Recharging Kit
9) Reusable Grocery Bags – Stop using plastic bags, they’re terrible for the environment. Bring reusable bags into the store with you. You can even take it a step further and use Reusable Produce Bags. Most store will give you money back for using your own bags too.
10) Personal Products – Use “green” beauty products on that pretty face of yours, your body and the environment will thank you. Whole Foods and other Organic Stores and Coops sell travel size “green” products.
So, how do you protect the environment when traveling? Has anyone visited an Eco Lodge and what was your take on it?
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