The state of the environment is not anymore something only a few talk about. People are more aware of the serious issues that the planet is facing and the dire consequences if nothing is done. Adopting green principles at home has expanded to the workplace and other aspects of life, like traveling.
More and more travelers want to avoid adding to the decline of natural resources, clean air, animal life, deforestation, and other environmental disasters. If you are one of them, here are eco-conscious travel tips for your well-being and environmental benefits that might save the world.
1. Don’t travel far
Traveling to a local destination is much better for the environment since you will contribute less to your carbon footprint. A lot of countries are promoting local tourism as a means to recover the economy and invite people to see all the beauties not far away from their home. Local destinations are perfect for those who want to de-stress and get away from the cities, putting their well-being first. If you decide on a road trip, you can still travel sustainably by reducing waste and carefully planning the route to spend less fuel.
2. Forget traveling by plane
Instead of flying to your destination, opt for a means of transportation that is less harmful to the environment, like a train, bus, or ship. The emissions coming from planes affect the climate by warming up the atmosphere long after they land. If possible, you should choose travel arrangements that use hybrid or electric vehicles, or rent one yourself. Not to mention that traveling by land gives you more options for sightseeing.
3. Opt for glamping instead of a hotel
Camping is one of the best options for sustainable travel. Those who are not comfortable staying anywhere else than a hotel will love the newest trend — glamping. This is camping only in a more luxurious setting with eco-friendly features, like solar energy. Hotels spend a lot of water and energy to provide for their guests, and although some have switched to sustainable practices, there’s still a long way to go. Moreover, with camping or glamping, you will be more exposed to the beauties of our planet, like starry skies and fresh air.
4. Be eco-conscious with HVAC use
If you can’t avoid using an HVAC unit during your stay in a hotel or any other accommodation, close your windows and doors. This will prevent air to come in or escape outside which can change the temperature inside the room and have you using air-conditioning or heating longer than necessary. You can also use your HVAC less if you close the curtains during the day when it’s sunny and hot.
5. Shower, don’t bathe
It’s easy to succumb to the desire to fill in the bathtub and soak for a while. After all, you are on a holiday and deserve some pampering. Unfortunately, bathing spends more water than showering, so it may be best to have a massage instead of a long bath. Additionally, showers are healthier for the skin than baths because you are not soaked in soap, water, and dirt which can lead to irritations.
6. Save energy
Even far away from home, you should pay attention to saving energy to be environmentally responsible. Turn off the lights when you leave your room and unplug devices when charged since they can still unnecessarily use energy. Also, don’t leave the TV, computer, or tablet on standby since even then they can waste energy. If you can, choose the accommodation that exploits green sources of energy, like wind or solar power.
7. Explore by cycling
Taking a taxi or renting a car contributes to greenhouse emissions, but riding a gravel bike is good for your health and benefits the planet. Gravel bikes are great for cycling on different surfaces so you can ride them both on the road and trails. If you plan to travel locally, turn it into an adventure and go on your vacation by bike. Not only does this mean less petrol use, but also can save you money, especially if you travel on a budget.
8. Don’t print reservations and ticket confirmations
You don’t need to print your boarding pass, tickets, reservations, and any other form of confirmation. Since everything is done electronically, it’s enough to store them on your phone. To use less paper, return maps, programs, and brochures to the place you took them from for other travelers to use them. This will prevent the making of additional copies and thus save water, energy, and trees involved in the manufacture of paper and printing.
9. Be vegetarian or vegan
You don’t have to be vegan or vegetarian to enjoy some delicious meals on your travels. Meat is quite a trouble for the environment because of greenhouse gasses its consumption contributes to. To help fight global warming eat more fruits and veggies, especially if you travel to countries with varieties not commonly found at home. The vitamins and minerals from these products can help you get over jet lag quicker and provide an energy boost for daily explorations by foot or bike.
10. Take with you eco-friendly products
What you bring with you also matters. Forget single-use items and opt for a bamboo flask, reusable cutlery, and antibacterial clothing. Plastic waste presents a serious environmental problem that has been polluting oceans, rivers, parks, and other natural resources, endangering animal life in the process. Bamboo products reduce this pollution and the plant is incredibly sustainable because of its renewing characteristics. Not to mention that growing bamboo is natural and doesn’t require the use of poisonous chemicals, like pesticides that can harm the environment.
11. Say “no” to animal tourism
It’s normal to want to meet the animals, but make sure that you are not harming them in the process. Nature reserves are a better option to come close to wildlife and learn more about their importance and care from experts who put animal well-being first. Animal tourism offers, like elephant-riding tours and taking pictures with koalas are stressful and harmful for these creatures. Furthermore, this type of tourism, in most cases, means you are supporting the abuse of a variety of animals and encouraging their illegal capture.
12. Bring eco-friendly cosmetic products
It matters what kind of cosmetic products you use since some chemicals used in their manufacture can harm the environment and your health. Sustainable cotton towels, soap, bamboo toothbrushes, and shampoo bars are only some of the cosmetic items to take on your travels. When you are buying sunscreen, make sure it’s eco-friendly so you don’t put marine life in danger every time you take a swim. Plastic-free sanitary products, like a menstrual cup and period pants, will also make sure that you are taking care of your health beside the planet.
All in all
Being eco-conscious when traveling may seem like something that will bring more stress than relaxation to your vacation. But instead of thinking about it as another thing on your planning list, consider it the only way to travel from then on. Your well-being and environmental benefits are the most important issues of today and carrying for them don’t mean you have to sacrifice the travel commodities. It’s more about changing the approach to have more unique experiences and not at the expense of nature, wildlife, or your health.