Traveling green may seem challenging while on the go but by taking a few of these tips and making a conscious effort to reduce, reuse and recycle, you’ll soon be reducing your eco footprint without even realizing it.
Before you leave
One of the first steps in being green is taking preventative measures, which include doing a little pre-trip check of your home before departure. Not only will these tips help you become more eco-friendly, they can also help save you money while you’re away.
- Make sure that any and all electronics and appliances are in “shut down” and unplugged from outlets. Even if you shut down those electronics and appliances, they can still draw out electricity which not only is a wasteful use of energy but also increases your electricity bill. And don’t forget the ice maker. If a pipe or tube breaks while away, having the ice maker turned off can save you energy, money and potential flooding. Also, be sure to reduce the settings on your heat/AC and water heater so that you don’t use unnecessary amounts of energy to heat or cool your home.
- If you will be gone for more than a weekend, don’t forget to turn off the outdoor water supply. This can prevent possible flooding and unnecessary water usage should the pipes break while you’re gone.
- Pack reusable water bottles and utensils to use while on the go. The conveniences of having disposable tableware is great but think of how much plastic waste goes in the landfills after millions of people toss out their used water bottles and utensils. According to a 2013 article in the Huffington Post, approximately 50 billion water bottles are used each year and 60% of those (30 billion) come from the U.S.1 Not only is that a lot of plastic waste, it also takes about three times more water to make the bottles than the water to fill them.1
- Pack light: more weight means more fuel. Whether you’re flying or driving, added weight will use up more fuel than usual so try to pack clothes that can be easily mixed and matched and cover most of your weather bases.
Even while on your trip, it is easy to be green by making a few small adjustments to your typical travel practices.
- Hotel hospitality is wonderful, providing fresh, fluffy towels and recently washed linens. However, all of that washing uses up a lot of water and energy to dry. One way to reduce your footprint is to request that room service not change your linens and provide new towels every day. Many hotels today provide a door hanger or sign in your hotel that you can easily use to show that you want to re-use towels and linens to help reduce water and energy.
- Using public transportation such as trains and buses are a great way to not only be a greener traveler but also see more parts of the area you are visiting. Renting bicycles also gives you more flexibility to go down those interesting side streets that may not be accessible by car or bus.
- Eating local helps support the local economy by putting your dollars directly to the owners rather than buying food from fast food chains. Additionally, many local restaurants purchase their supplies locally, further supporting local businesses and reducing fuel usage to transport supplies.
It’s really not that hard to be green, even while traveling. All it takes are a few, slight lifestyle adjustments and in no time at all, you won’t even know that you’re doing it because those adjustments have become a natural part of your day. Visit our Travel Tip and Tricks section for more travel ideas and news.