By Amanda Wilkes:
No matter where your destination might be, you can make a difference in the environmental impact that you make while traveling. Half the battle in green travel is done before you even leave your house! With nearly 1 billion people traveling the globe each year, it is essential that we take into consideration what small steps we can take to make our traveling footprint a little lighter.
Before You Leave Your House
- Unplug all appliances.
- Adjust or turn off the AC/Heater.
- Turn off any unnecessary lights.
- Check faucets and hoses for leaks; each little drop adds up.
- You won’t be reading the newspaper, so stop the service while you are gone.
- Pack your own eco-friendly toiletries so that you don’t have to use pre-packaged merchandise when you arrive.
- Pack your own reusable water bottle so you can eliminate buying a bunch of plastic ones.
- Bring a reusable bag that can be used while shopping on your trip.
- Learn about your destination’s public transportation in the comfort of your own home before being too intimidated by it when you arrive.
- If you must rent a car, rent it in advance to be sure you get a hybrid!
- Book hotels, motels or inns that have been certified with green qualifications and that employ locals.
- Book a nonstop flight…most of the carbon emissions from planes come from take off and landing.
- Don’t print your airline ticket; instead, show them your e-ticket on your electronic device.
Once You Arrive
- Request that your sheets and towels be changed every few days rather than every single day.
- Be as eco-friendly in your travels as you are at home — lights off when they aren’t being used, AC/Heat adjusted appropriately and short showers.
- Immerse yourself in the culture by finding locals tour guides to show you around rather than using large tourist companies.
- Be aware of your destination’s scarce resources, respect them, and use as little of them as possible.
- Be aware of and stay on marked trails.
- Continue to immerse yourself in the culture by eating food that is local to the region rather than products that have been shipped in from far off destinations.
- Buy local products that will support the members of the community.
- Preserve the culture by learning about it.