Since we travel all the time, we think it's really important to do it responsibly; to keep our planet in mind while we're globetrotting.
But, what exactly does "travelling green" mean?
No, it doesn't require you to forget about planes altogether, sleep in a tent and use solar energy to charge your phone (although it helps). You just need to make conscious decisions that make your travel environmentally-friendly. Even the smallest effort can have a huge impact.
So, here's what you can do to make your adventures more planet-friendly.
Going hiking? Make sure to stay on the marked trail. Sometimes it may be tempting to go off the beaten path, but this can lead to serious consequences you may not even be aware of.
First off all, your curiosity may lead you to trouble, and secondly, it can be damaging for the planet. You may come across some endangered plants and even animals. You could damage the sensitive flora of the area or get the animals in danger. If you do come across some wild animals, don't feed them under any circumstances. This may make them dependable on humans which can lead to attacks.
Stay away from any wildlife you see along the way. And it should go without saying that you shouldn't litter.
Save Water And Power
If you like to take long relaxing baths on your holidays, you might want to reconsider that. You are wasting three times more water with a bath than with a short shower. So, switch to a quick shower whenever possible and always keep it under 10 minutes. Save even more water by turning the tap off when you're shaving, washing teeth, and so on.
Here's another thing - don't waste more power than you need. Turn the appliances off when you're not using them, and make sure to turn off the lights, AC and TV before you leave the room.
Hang your towels to show the hotel staff you're still going to use them or just put the "Do Not Disturb" sign on your door during your whole stay and you'll help save a bunch of energy that would be wasted vacuuming, washing the linen and towels, etc.
Reduce Travelling By Air
Cutting planes off completely is an ambitious goal even for the most avid environmentalists. Sometimes it's just impossible to avoid air travel. Still, you should make an effort to travel overland as much as possible. Yes, it's slower, but it can be so much more rewarding. Just take a look at the most gorgeous train rides across the world.
If you minimize travelling by plane, you will incredibly lower your carbon footprint. But, even if you have to fly, there are some ways to make it eco-friendlier.
Try to use non-stop flights because take-offs and landings have the highest carbon emissions. You can also travel with airlines that have carbon offset programs and make sure to neutralize their carbon emissions with carbon reduction projects. Finally, pack light because the plane's carbon emissions depend on its weight as well.
Pack everything you need in a comfy and compact North Face Women's Recon 31L Backpack that will help you stay organized during the whole trip.
Stay At A Green Hotel
You don't have to give up luxury if you decide to stay at an eco-friendly hotel. There are plenty oh high-end and more affordable accommodation options that keep the environment in mind.
Make sure your hotel has a seal of approval from one of the recognized certification programs and check how exactly is your hotel "green." Does it use sustainable materials? Does it use eco-friendly practices like recycling and solar energy? Does it employ local staff and serve locally grown food?
All of these things can help you decide where you're going to stay. And, if you decide to camp, even better. Just make sure to do it responsibly, respect the nature and don't do any damage while you're there.
You don't have to go across the globe in search of an adventure. You can find it in your backyard - or, in this case, your own country or region. Do some research and you'll find hundreds of options for discovering the beauty of your own country. Sometimes we're so obsessed with visiting some famous tourist spots that we neglect the beauty around us.
You'll be surprised how much there is to see with just a few-hour drive. You'll save money and resources. You won't need to take a plane ride and you'll be supporting local tourism, and local businesses in the area you're visiting.
Plus, you don't have to worry about passports and visas, about language barriers or getting accustomed to the new culture and cuisine or worry about your safety.
Choose Your Tours Carefully
Stay away from tours that include exploiting animals in any way. We're talking riding elephants, swimming with the dolphins living in enclosed areas, visiting petting zoos.
Although it may seem tempting to hang out with animals so closely, to touch them and interact with them, think about what this means. These animals have probably been there since they were born, they were tamed and trained to act friendly with people. Imagine the strict training regime that requires.
Besides, you would probably be supporting an industry that illegally captures and abuses millions of animals each year.
Buy Local And Legal
When you're travelling, always buy local products instead of going for the products that are being imported and shipped. There are several reasons why you should try to do this as much as possible.
Firstly, you are supporting the local economy and you are getting better quality. If you're buying food, it's much more likely it's fresh and pure. Imported food is more likely to be contaminated during transportation. Most importantly, buying local means you're reducing your carbon footprint because the food doesn't travel long distances to get to you.
Also, make sure you don't buy anything that was made illegally using endangered species of plants and animals, or using unsustainable materials. This is not only wrong but also illegal to get through customs.
Use Reusable Containers
Stay hydrated during your trip, but keep it green by using reusable bottles and cups. Avoid plastic bottles by all means, and even those little paper coffee cups you take on the go. They are usually coated with a plastic resin, making it really difficult to recycle them.
But now you can have your coffee and tea in style with a sustainable reusable cup or an insulated bottle, wherever you are. Choose one of the elegant Frank Green cups or S'well bottles that are not only super elegant but also help you preserve the planet.
If you're staying in a hotel, ask about their recycling program. If you've followed one of the previous tips and stayed in a green hotel, they will definitely have a recycling program.
But, this also depends on the country you're travelling to. So, if your hotel doesn't recycle, try do make an effort yourself and bring the plastic bottles home to recycle them.
You should also take your shampoo, soap, toothpaste and other leftovers from your hotel or hostel room. Don't worry about looking cheap, you're doing it for a good cause. All these leftovers will often be thrown away anyway, and you can later be sure you've recycled the plastic bottles and other items.
Walk Or Bike
Were you going to rent a car or get around in a taxi on your trip? Why not trying the alternative means of transport like walking or biking, or using public transport? This way you will lower gas usage, lessen your carbon footprint and save money. Most bigger cities have inexpensive 'rent a bike' services, so you can easily find a two-wheeler to explore your destination.
Renting a bike or walking will also give you a chance to see some things you would have have never seen travelling by car. Plus, it's much better for your health.
Giving back to the planet is incredibly rewarding, and it goes way beyond just recycling your plastic bottles or turning off your lights when you leave the room. You need to constantly be mindful of how your behaviour affects the environment and what you can do every day to make a change.
So, what do you do to reduce the negative impact on the environment while you travel? Share your tips in the comments.