Travel is not often thought of as something very eco-friendly. But, more and more people in the travel industry than ever before are taking steps to become more sustainable. So, what can we, as travellers do to help? In honour of Earth Day, we can look at some eco-friendly travel decisions that can make a big difference.
Whether you’re splurging on your trip or travelling on a tight budget, here are 6 eco-friendly travel tips that you can follow to help lessen the impact on our planet by reducing consumption and minimising waste.
1. Fly as green as possible
There are lots of ways to make your flights a little greener. For example, resisting the urge to upgrading to business can reduce your carbon footprint by more than five times. You can also try to fly directly to your destination, thus saving fuel, and pack as light as possible to reduce the weight of the plane. Travelling with carry-on luggage can also save you time in your destination. Also, consider downloading your boarding passes onto your phone instead of printing them out.
2. As far as you can, travel on land
However much you can do, flying is rarely a green form of travel. Eco-conscious travellers can instead opt for the train or the road. Railways, buses, and even cars are said to leave a much smaller carbon footprint. As an additonal bonus, you’ll save money on all those airline taxes and charges. If you do have to fly, try to stay at your destination for as long as possible
3. Don’t ask hotels to clean up unnecessarily
One of the easiest ways for travellers to engage in eco-friendly travel is to simply hang a Do Not Disturb sign on their hotel doors, especially during short stays. You’ll save both electricity and water by eliminating the need to vacuum and to wash your sheets and towels. You can even consider washing them yourself, with your own detergent, on longer stays.
4. Always carry reusable bottles
There may be lots of places around the world where it’s unsafe to drink tap water; but buying lots of plastic bottles instead should be avoided at all costs. Instead, consider packing a reusable water bottle that you can fill at the hotel and drink from all day. You can even take it out and fill it once you’re past security at the airport. If you want, you can also carry reusable cutlery, straws, and razors, and toothbrushes. Also, consider investing in a water filtration device to always have clean water to hand.
5. Eat and drink local food
Try to eat traditional dishes (which tend to use local ingredients) and try local produce (which don’t package food items in unnecessary plastic). Not only will you get to experience an important part of the local culture, but you’ll also be avoiding stuff that’s imported at great cost. Street food is another great way to experience local food.
6. Think about using menstrual cups
Sanitary products produce tons and tons of waste each year. There are lots of ways to combat this, such as organic cotton tampons and cloth pads, but one of the best and most sustainable methods is the reusable menstrual cup. Made from medical grade silicone, they can be used for up to 12 hours at a time, and are incredibly long-lasting. While menstrual cups can initially be daunting, don’t give up too soon. Give it a few tries, and you just might find it became your go-to tool
Do you have any other tips for eco-friendly travel? If so, do share them in the comments below.