With Earth Day around the corner on 22 April, communities around the world are rightfully turning their attention to the environment around them. Earth Day has become synonymous with mass vigils and finding ways to live more green during our daily lives.
But how about applying these principles to our travels? With evermore focus on environmental issues and on what we can do to reverse damage, it feels apt that we should also act accordingly while exploring the world.
From transportation to being more 'green' while out and about, here are our favourite eco-friendly travel hacks.
Pick Smarter Transportation
Even though it may seem like the most obvious choice, flying leaves a massive carbon footprint. If you can, plan a holiday that avoids this mode of transport altogether.
Instead of a holiday abroad, explore your own country via an action-packed staycation. Get there by rail or other public transport. If you're planning to rent a car, make sure that it's a hybrid vehicle so that you won't use as much fuel.
Intending on flying anyway? Try to reduce the environmental impact by booking a non-stop flight, as a plane produces the most carbon emissions during take-off and landing. You could also lend a hand by only bringing hand luggage, reducing the amount of fuel that the plane uses up during the flight.
Find a 'Green Hotel'
There's more pressure on hotels and other accommodation options to reduce their environmental impacts, so make sure that you book one that adheres to this. Do some research to see which hotels are trying to be green in your destination - those that promote recycling or use fluorescent lightbulbs to cut down energy usage, for example.
Also consider the hotel's location when booking; the more central it is, the less you'll be tempted to use transport to get around!
While You're on Holiday
Making sure that you don't litter is an obvious one, but there are many other ways to be more green as you explore a new location:
- Instead of using transport, get around by walking or renting a bike - it's a win-win as you'll be working on your fitness at the same time!
- Don't buy new water bottles; get a re-usable one and fill it up at public water sources
- Only take the tourist leaflets that you need; that thick brochure of day trips may look enticing, but if you know you're not actually going to use it, don't take it
- Buy local; shop at food markets for ingredients that haven't had to be imported from somewhere else in the world
- Consider volunteering; if you feel like giving back, find out if there are any volunteering opportunities nearby
- Lastly, leave locations as you find them; don't drop litter and don't pick flowers as souvenirs
Act as You Would at Home
Before you left for your trip, you undoubtedly unplugged appliances and switched off all of the lights to reduce energy consumption, right? Continue these good green habits while on your trip. Before you leave your hotel room for the day, make sure you aren't wasting any electricity or water needlessly.
If you've never tried to travel green before, Earth Day presents the ideal occasion to do so for the first time. Once you see how easy it is, these habits will inevitably become part of your normal travel routine.