By Cecilia Toro
We’re confident we’ve all thought about making the switch to a waste free life in recent years. We start by simple things, like making sure the space that immediately surrounds us is as plastic-free as possible or that the products we consume are as organic as they can be.
Whether we care to admit it or not, our impact on our planet is closely related to the distances we travel, the modes of transportation we depend on, and the materials we choose to consume when traveling. Air travel, for example, “generates more carbon emissions than the average person in dozens of countries around the world produces in a whole year.” And that’s just one way of moving around.
If you’re internally screaming right now, don’t worry. There’s a solution! Thanks to eco-traveling, we can travel in a responsible way while also having a positive effect on the environment. So, before you go on a trip and panic over if you’re doing it in an environmentally friendly way, try and evaluate how you can achieve that. Sounds a bit daunting, but we promise eco-traveling is completely doable!
Here are some ideas that might be helpful for when you plan your next trip:
1. The less often you travel, the better.
Making your trips shorter or traveling a shorter distance is a great first step towards limiting your carbon footprint. The great thing about traveling less is that you can visit places closer to you and explore your home and community in a new and exciting way. Even if you stay in your city, going to local museums, galleries, or shops you’ve been meaning to visit will be well worth it!
2. Feeling like a tourist? Do what locals do.
You can do this by finding accommodations such as eco-hotels or an apartment or homestay. These are usually more environmentally friendly than staying in bigger, overcrowded places. Staying in these places also means that you’ll interact with your surroundings a bit more hands-on than you normally would and you’ll engage with communities that you can give back to.
When thinking of where to eat, visit local markets or sustainable, zero waste grocers. In doing so, not only do you promote small businesses, you also get to enjoy some local food you might not have access to easily. It’s a wonderful way of getting comfortable with something new and respecting the culture of the country you choose to visit.
3. Explore sustainable methods of moving around the city.
Once you’re at your destination, assess what you can do to go from one place to the another. Some obvious options are to walk, bike, or take public transit. This way, you’ll find little corners or hidden gems you normally wouldn’t. Oh, and it’ll feel great to get those steps in, too.
But, if you’re in a place where there are other modes of transportation, find out the way to do it.
4. Reusables are indispensable!
Without a doubt in our mind, this little tip is absolutely crucial to remember. When going on a trip, or even if you’re staying where you live, it’s nice to be prepared and carry the essentials. Consider the kind of trip you’ll be going on and try to bring along these materials wherever you go to avoid producing more waste. Psst, these are usually the ones I carry with me:
5. Keep your bags tidy (and color coordinated!)
Pack conscientiously, always! Carry-on or smaller luggage is your best bet, as this reduces carbon emissions. Not to mention that this makes moving around just a bit easier for you. Our favourite backpack is the Fairview 40 by Osprey.
Traveling with color coordinated clothes made from natural materials means that you can layer often and spend less. It’s always nice to have pieces that can be repurposed throughout your travels, plus you get to push yourself to be creative about how you style your clothes!
I hope these tips help you view eco-traveling as both challenging and inspiring. In the end, you’ll not only be enjoying your vacation but also helping the world become a bit cleaner and greener! What’s not to love?