Travel is all about experiences and if we make conscious decision in regards to our environment and the experiences of others, we can safely dive into green travel a.k.a. sustainable travel.
What is Green Travel & Why should it matter?
Green travel is really just an extension of green living. It’s all about making simple choices in order to lessen your negative impact on any certain destination and maintain an eco-friendly lifestyle throughout your travel. Individually, small changes in our travel habits makes only a small difference in the big picture. But collectively, becoming more conscious to conserve and protect the Earth’s natural resources, habitats, and biodiversity can have a massive impact.
How do we travel green?
We focus on 3 R’s: Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle.
These simple tips will help you (green) travel more responsibly and guilt free :
- We all undeniably love window seat views but a plane ticket is the most expensive carbon decision we can ever make. On average, a plane emits a pound of carbon dioxide per passenger for each mile flown abroad. So if possible, opting to travel by boat, train, or car would be extremely helpful to be environment friendly while traveling.
- However, if you fly often and don’t really have a choice, consider doing so with one of the 30+ IATA (International Air Transport Association) member airlines who offer carbon offset programs to neutralize the aircraft’s carbon emissions by investing in carbon reduction projects and focusing on eco friendly travel.
- Another option to travel guilt free would be to look into non-profit programs that plant trees around the world to offset carbon emissions. Trees are natural carbon eaters. When a tree breathes, it inhales carbon dioxide and exhales oxygen. Exact opposite of what we humans do. This natural process helps clean air and directly reduce carbon footprint thus saving our planet.
- If you have to rent a car while traveling, make a choice to pick hybrid or electric vehicle. It use less fuel, produces less carbon emission and therefore is perfect for green travel. Even if you have to take a quick pit stop to charge up your vehicle, at least you’ll be surrounded by a great view!
- When making hotel reservations, by simply choosing to book rooms in LEED-certified hotels, you can help to conserve energy. An LEED certification is one of the most popular green building certifications and is used on a global scale.
- Make the conscious effort to leave “Do Not Disturb” sign on the door of your hotel room while you are away. It cuts down on chemical cleansing agents, electricity used in vacuuming, and the unnecessary washing of bed linens.
- Towel reuse has been emphasized by hotels extensively. Although not a new idea, this helps to conserve immense amount of water and energy. We don’t wash towels everyday at our home anyways, do we?
- Explore ways to reduce food waste at the buffet and only take what you need. You can always reach out for seconds. Also, try opting for local, plant-based foods over imported meat and dairy products.
- Don’t buy anything made from endangered plants/animals, unsustainable hardwoods or ancient artifacts. Not only is it wrong, but you probably won’t be able to get them through customs.
- Always carry your own reusable bag when you go shopping. Plastic bags are SO 20th century and not at all eco friendly!
- Seek out indigenous artisans when you can. When you buy directly from an artist, you’re not only helping them feed their family, but in many cases you’re helping to preserve their culture. And it’s so interesting to listen to their stories and inspiration behind their craft.
- Immerse yourself in local culture. This is my favourite! Be a participant, not just an observer. Try foods made of local grown ingredients, listen to local music, and explore different cultures. Seriously, don’t be that guy who goes to India and insists on ordering a hamburger!