Maybe you’ve heard of green travel tips before and thought it applies exclusively to jungle safaris and hiking up mountaintops. But that’s not the case at all, because you can still do your part even if you’re sightseeing in the city. All you need to do is make the effort to stay in environment friendly hotels as well as taking certain steps when you’re out traveling by foot or renting a vehicle.
How to Green Travel Tips to Travel Green
Here are tips to get you started on being a more eco-friendly traveler and going green.
Travel Green Transportation Tips
Whenever possible, walk instead of taking a car: walking is good for you and it also gives you more time to enjoy the scenery. If the trip is short you can take the train which is just as enjoyable as riding on a plane, if not more so. If you’re going to rent a vehicle, go for a hybrid car, as these have been manufactured specifically to reduce the impact on the environment. If you’re going on a long road trip and you have a large gas guzzling car, opt for a smaller one that has better mileage. Vehicles are the biggest air polluter in the US, but you can do your part minimizing this by walking, biking or taking public transport instead of your vehicle, reducing the number of cars on the road.
Being a Responsible Green Traveler / Tourist
As you go sightseeing, follow this simple rule: don’t leave anything behind except your footprints, and don’t take anything but photos. If you’re going to eat, make sure you have containers to dispose of wrappers and the like. In other words, leave the place as you found it.
Go with an Eco-Friendly Tour Operator
Many tour operators now pride themselves in being green, so you’re bound to find more than a few advertising how green their services are. Here are some suggestions: before booking, inquire about the group size, and go with the smallest group possible as they produce less of an environmental impact. While you’re at it, ask the tour operator how they’re giving back to the local community and what kind of lodging they provide.
When you’re trekking or hiking, make sure to follow the local laws so you don’t damage the environment. In addition, stay at the marked trails and keep your distance from creatures you might run into, both for your sake and the animal’s. Dispose of your trash in the designated receptacles, and if there are none just store it in your backpack and dispose of it when you’re back at the hotel. Do not litter anywhere on the trail. Finally, make sure you set campfires in places where it’s permitted, and don’t leave until they have been extinguished completely.
Advice for the Eco-Conscious Traveler
If you’re going to go snorkeling, learn safety measures first and follow the advice of your instructor. If you’re snorkeling alone, don’t make contact with the coral because it will damage the ecosystem. It’s also best if you select a sunscreen that’s reef safe because some sunblock lotions harm coral. Here are a few other tips you ought to consider:
- No matter where you’re traveling, do not eat or buy products made from endangered species.
- Stay in an environment friendly hotel: there are plenty of these available and you can find most of them online. These hotels’ commitment varies however, so you need to do some research to determine just how eco-friendly the place is.
- Stay in hotels that support and use recycled bottles and participates in recycling programs. You can find this information on the hotel’s website or you can ask them.
- If given the option, ask to have towels and sheets reused.
- Get in touch with hotel staff and ask what steps they’re taking to reduce energy consumption. This may take the form of alternative energy sources, low flow showers and toilets, energy saving lighting and solar or wind power.
Even if you’re just staying in the hotel, there are a lot of things you can do to lessen the impact on the environment.
- Your showers should be short and sweet
- Turn the faucet off as you brush your teeth
- Turn off the TV, lights, air conditioning and other electronic devices when you leave your room
- Bring your own drinking up and toiletries instead of using the ones offered by the hotel. If you do decide to use those offered in the hotel, bring the unused ones with you and use them at home so they’re not simply discarded.
- Sort your trash and dispose of them properly. If the hotel doesn’t support recycling then you should take the bottles you used up and bring them to a recycling center when you go back home.
- Let the hotel know you support their recycling and eco-friendly programs, as this will encourage them to continue.
In addition to these you should also pack light especially if you’re going to fly. The heavier the aircraft is, the more fuel it’s going to require and the more pollution it’s going to release in the atmosphere. If possible, bring only a carry-on, as this will limit your contribution to pollution and reduce your baggage fees. It will also ease the strain on your body and your mind. Packing less means less stuff you have to worry about, rummage through, and manage.
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Rather than buy a new guidebook, you can just download a free app on your mobile or borrow from the nearby library. You’ll be saving not just money but also do your part in reducing waste and reusing available resources. And remember too that you can always buy cheap empty bottles and fill it with shampoo, sunblock, conditioner etc. Since you’ll be able to reuse the bottles, the cost will be recouped quickly, and you’ll be reducing the number of travel bottles dumped in the trash.
By simply following these green travel tips you’ll be doing your part in helping nature, and while it might not seem like much, what you do makes a lot of difference. Your actions will be seen as an example for others to follow and this will have a tremendous, positive impact on the planet wherever you travel.