The awareness of the deteriorating condition of our planet has been spreading over the last decade. More and more people feel responsible for the environment and turn towards sustainable and eco-friendly ways of living. This applies to traveling too.
If you are passionate about traveling but at the same time committed to leading a sustainable lifestyle, you should be aware of what you can do to keep visiting new places and move around the globe without harming the planet.
Necessary preparations before hitting the road
Before you even start your journey, take steps to lower your carbon footprint as much as possible. Pack light – apart from being easier to carry around, small amount of luggage makes your trip fuel-efficient especially when using road transportation.
If you travel by plane, remember that airlines use a lot of plastics to provide their customers with simple utilities like cutlery, toiletries, and items wrapped in plastics like a pillow, blanket, headphones, etc. Therefore, consider packing your own reusable items.
Eco-Friendly means of transportation
Firstly, try to travel by train instead of a plane as it is a much more fuel-efficient means of transport. If flying is the only option, choose the airlines with the most eco-friendly policies. Taking more nonstop trips or longer routes always equals lower fuel consumption and less carbon emissions related to flying operations.
Once you have landed at your desired location, avoid renting a car – instead opt for bikes, electric scooters or walk to as many places as you can. While neutralising your footprint, you will also have more opportunities to discover amazing places (which are not accessible by car) and stopping to interact with the locals, which is the best way to truly experience new places.
If walking or cycling is not doable, opt for local public transportation services. Wherever possible, go for sustainable power sources like biofuels, solar and electric cars or motorbikes. Various transportation service providers are now becoming conscientious about their fuel consumption – airlines are looking into ways to incorporate biofuels, electric trains, cars, and motorbikes are being introduced at a bigger and bigger scale.
The majority of EV companies also ensure that running, charging and disposing of batteries doesn’t pollute the environment. Just remember to check their environmental policies.
If, for some reason, traveling with fossil fueled vehicles is your only option, try carpooling and instead of traveling alone, find other fellow-travelers and make plans together. With the automotive sector still contributing a huge part of all CO2 emissions, even the smallest, seemingly trivial steps can make a huge difference.
Staying at the right place
By doing a little research, you can almost always find eco-friendly accommodation, shops and restaurants. Staying at environmentally-conscious places during your holiday makes it possible to control your carbon footprint. Using green gastronomy or shopping services is also a great way to encourage healthy trends and support the local economy.
What exactly does a ‘green hotel’ mean? The top eco-friendly places where tourists can stay usually take the following steps:
- Installing low-flow taps and toilets and shower heads for water conservation
- Using environmentally-friendly cleaning products, energy saving bulbs, sustainably crafted furniture, etc.
- Providing reusable straws and eco packaging to cut down on waste
- Encouraging recycling and using recycled materials
- Serving food made from locally produced ingredients. This does not only support the local farming communities but also helps save the fuels and costs wasted on getting the ingredients from far off.
- Giving the guests the choice to have their towels and bedsheets changed whenever they wish instead of having them changed every day. This can really help reduce water usage as according to a report, laundry accounts for as much as 16% of a hotel’s water consumption.
Traveling sustainably, even if it sounds difficult, is in fact doable and can be fun. Sustainable transportation is currently one of the most important sectors where eco-friendly solutions should be applied. Hopefully, the newest green technologies will boost a progressive revolution in tourism.
With the passing of Earth Day this week we should remember that it’s not about celebrating our planet for a day or a few hours. It’s about consciously making effort, every single day, to make this planet a better place for our future generations.
About the author: Giles Kirkland is an environmentally conscious car expert and clean technology advocate. Passionate about healthy lifestyle and smart solutions, he writes about safe driving, alternative energy and traveling. Giles willingly shares his knowledge with other drivers and sustainable living enthusiasts. You can find his articles on Twitter.