10 Tips for Easy Eco-Friendly Travel
Whether you’re flying across the country or road tripping in a car, your travels will have an impact on the planet. But that doesn’t mean you should feel guilty about getting away. From buying local to touring by bike, there are plenty of fun ways to minimize your carbon footprint, all while teaching your family important lessons about being environmentally friendly.
Try these 10 tips to stay green on your next vacation — and add a new dimension of adventure and awareness to the experience.
Treat Your Hotel Like Your Home
Choose a hotel that is committed to sustainable business choices so you can feel good about your stay. While you’re there, consider making the same choices you would at home. Instead of placing used towels on the bathroom floor every day, hang them up and reuse for several days. The same goes for bed linens: Request that the hotel not change them during your stay.
You can further do your part by turning off the lights and TV whenever you leave the room, and refraining from taking long, hot showers to save water. Some hotels even offer incentives like rewards points if you join their efforts for a greener stay.
Bring Your Own Bottle
Pack an empty, reusable water bottle in your carry-on bag, and refill it at filtered water taps attached on many airport drinking fountains, or from the tap at your hotel. If you’re worried about water quality on the go, pack a small filter, or opt for a water bottle with a built-in filter.
From clam chowder on the New England coast to barbecue in the south, traveling exposes you to all kinds of unique, regional cuisines. Get to know your destination better by dining at restaurants that use regional and seasonal ingredients. This reduces the distance your food travels, and helps support local farmers and purveyors.
For a unique vacation memory, find snacks the whole family will enjoy at a local farmer’s market. Sample produce, pastries and cheeses at vendor booths, and let the kids help pick favorites to purchase.
Did you know that planes use the most fuel during takeoff? Flying nonstop not only saves time — it’s the easiest way to fly greener. Another simple way to reduce your impact through flying is simply by packing less — the heavier the plane, the more fuel it requires.
Try Biking or Walking Tours
Skip the hop-on, hop-off bus tour and explore cities on foot or by bike. Not up for navigating a new place on your own? Sign up for a guided walking or biking tour to see all the sights while staying active. Plus, your family will share memories of exploring new places together and the personal experiences associated with each landmark.
To add an element of fun for young walkers, use a fitness or step-counter app — you can even offer them rewards for reaching a certain age-appropriate goal.
Ride Public Transportation
Travel like a local and catch a train or bus instead of hailing a cab or renting a car. You’ll reduce your carbon footprint while learning to navigate the cities you visit and will be less likely to get stuck in traffic. Plus, many cities offer discounted transportation passes for visitors. Using public transport can also translate into savings you can apply to a dinner out or tickets to an attraction.
Book a Staycation
Think closer to home for your next getaway. Instead of booking flights or driving far, enjoy a staycation in a neighboring city, nearby national park, or even as a tourist in your own city. Spend a night at a hotel to turn it into a true getaway.
Instead of purchasing mass-produced souvenirs for friends and family, bring back locally made treats like chocolate bars, fruit sauces or jams and bottles of wine. Or support local artists by shopping in markets, craft bazaars or independent shops for handmade jewelry, scarves and crafts.
Pack a Reusable Shopping Bag
Instead of bagging purchased gifts, souvenirs, and food in plastic, bring along a packable, reusable bag. Plastic bags don’t biodegrade, meaning each one you toss is polluting the planet for years to come. Many shops now charge for plastic bags, so this step can help you save a little, too.
Bond with your family through voluntourism. By helping people and places in need, you’ll create lasting memories while making the world a better place. Volunteering is as simple as picking up trash on a hike, or as intensive as building a home. Find trusted volunteer opportunities around the world at TogetherForGood.