Today I find myself day dreaming about all the wonderful towns, cities and countries that I have traveled to over the years – not to mention the many other destinations that still await a visit. And, as the mother of two young children, I can’t help but think how lucky we are to have the world at our doorstep.
It certainly wasn’t always that way. Maybe it is testament to the fact that I’m getting old, but I can remember when some parts of the world were not as easily accessible…even two decades ago.
But our ability to move about freely also comes with responsibility. Here are 8 tips that you can use to stay environmentally friendly while you travel. And they can also help you save money!
8 Ways to Reduce, Reuse and Recycle
1. Conservation starts at home
Before leaving for your trip, remember to turn off lights, computers, air conditioners, heating systems, appliances etc. Not only will you be doing your part to help conserve energy while you are away, but the lower utility bills will be a nice surprise when you get home!
2. Use environmentally-friendly transportation
The best form of transportation is undoubtedly your own two legs. Not only is walking great exercise but it also helps to reduce carbon dioxide levels. However, if you need to travel farther afield (once you are at your destination), look for opportunities to use buses and trains…or even a bicycle. And if renting a car is a “must-have”, consider an environmentally-friendly hybrid or a small compact as these types of vehicles are the most fuel efficient.
3. Choose “green” accommodations
There are many websites that list environmentally friendly hotels around the world. Several large hotel chains, including Marriott and Starwood have added LEED-certified hotels. This certification means the property has passed stringent environmental and energy-efficient design guidelines. In fact, Marriott has set a goal of 300 LEED-cerfitied properties by 2015.
4. Ask your hotel to refrain from changing your linens and towels
Many hotels give you the option of choosing to keep the same towels and linens each day versus having them laundered. And if your hotel doesn’t have this type of eco-friendly program available, you can still always make the request!
5. Take non-recyclable waste with you
Some countries don’t have the type of sophisticated waste disposal programs that you are used to back home. Keep this in mind when traveling and try and take things like batteries and non-biodegradable items back with you.
Consider packing your own reusable water bottle so you don’t have to buy countless plastic bottles of water. This is also a great way to avoid paying tourist or restaurant prices for a soda – and better for your health.
7. Respect the local ecosystem
If you go hiking, do not stray from the designated trails. When visiting coastal areas, do not disrupt local life forms such as corals, seashells or starfish. And don’t litter!
8. Reduce or offset carbon dioxide emissions
If you want to do even more to help the environment, then consider a program that enables you to offset your carbon footprint through donations to renewable energy, energy efficiency or reforestation projects. But if this isn’t in your budget, simply making the choice to fly nonstop can have a huge impact on emissions because take-offs and landings release about 50% of the total carbon emissions. Here at Fly.com we even have a feature that allows you to filter your airfare by number of stops.