Our planet is under stress and, since it is the only one we have, we need to take care of it. While many people try to forget about most of their responsibilities while traveling on vacation, you absolutely cannot forget about your responsibility to the environment. The harm that can be caused to the earth does not change just because your office email shoots back an “out of office,” notification.
It is possible to be environmentally-sustainable while traveling – if you travel smart.
Look for Eco-Friendly Accommodation
It is not hard to find a green resort these days. While some put their conservation into practice more than others, a lot of their ability to maintain a green status depends on the guests. Think about it – when you are home, do you wake up in the morning and change the sheets on your bed every day? Highly unlikely. So, why do you let the hotel’s housekeeping staff do it? By changing them every day, it requires more energy to be burned and more water used. Same goes for those bright white towels – re-use them!
Resorts that are trying to make an impact generally:
- Are paperless. They stick to electronic signing and emailing of receipt.
- Use energy-efficient laundry machines.
- Switch to water reducing toilets.
- Replace old lightbulbs with those that are energy efficient.
- Participate in recycling programs – and encourage guests to do the same.
Make use of Public Transportation
When traveling to a new place, there are several ways you can usually get around. For example:
- Rent a car
- Utilize a taxi service or those companies such as Uber or Lyft
- Train (such as a metro or subway system)
- Public bus system
Sharing rides with others and not using your own automobile can greatly reduce the amount of environmental damage that is being caused. Choose one of the above transportation methods or, if it is possible, choose to walk or ride a bicycle. Not only are you helping the environment, but you are also making yourself healthier and as an added bonus – you get to experience the city up close, rather than just driving by!
Diving into locally-grown foods can help you become environmentally-sustainable while on your travels. In fact, buying and eating local* has a lot of benefits for everyone involved!
- It reduces waste and energy, as the food (or product) doesn’t have to travel extensive distances.
- You get to enjoy the freshest foods since they were born close by!
- By purchasing these foods (or products) – whether at a local restaurant, market, or store — you are putting your money into the hands of the locals. In turn, that money is likely going to stay local – keeping the city afloat and stable.
And finally, by consuming these local goods and eats within the local community, you are surrounding yourself with those who call this place their home. You can learn about their culture up close and personal. This is something you don’t get when you spend your time and money at various tourist traps or chain stores and restaurants.
Perhaps you volunteer in your own city, but have you ever considered volunteering while traveling? Time and time again, studies have shown that volunteering can increase your level of happiness. If it can make you happy (especially on your vacay), why wouldn’t you want to do it?
Making a difference has great rewards – and it isn’t based on location. So, while traveling, try to spread some love by doing litter cleanups, rebuilding projects, etc. Who knows, you may even meet some new friends while getting down and dirty in a city and increase your network! You will also likely learn some local secrets to check out in your downtime.
You can have all of that just for doing something selfless.
Keep Your Normal Routine
If you care about being environmentally-sustainable while traveling, then you likely care about it while at home. If so, then keeping your normal routine will help greatly. Being cautious of the resources you use and how you use them (preferably conservatively), as well as taking steps in the green direction. Here’s how:
- Reduce your shower time. Just because you are traveling doesn’t mean that you can take your time in the shower.
- See litter? Pick it up. Be proactive. Don’t walk past trash as if it is not there – do something about it!
- When you leave your room, turn off the lights.
- It’s exciting to buy souvenirs while traveling, but think before you buy. Do you really want it? Does it serve a good purpose or meaning? Or will it be collecting dust out of sight before next month? Don’t be wasteful.
- Recycle. Most major cities have recycling programs. Don’t just throw it away if you would be recycling it at home. If you know you are traveling to a place that isn’t up on its recycling efforts yet, then do your best to not to discard anything that could be harmful to the planet.
- Don’t drink bottled water. Bring your own reusable bottle with you and refill it in water fountains or other sources.
Just as you should be doing in your own city to reduce your carbon footprint, you will want to do in other cities that you travel to. Become a local and live as locals do. Take care of the city as if it were your own.
* Link to third party site
Diamond Resorts International Marketing, Inc., its parents, sister companies, and subsidiaries, make no warranty, express or implied, as to the condition, capacity, performance or any other aspect of the activities, events, or service providers listed herein. No inquiry has been made into the activities or events, or the qualifications or the quality of services offered by the providers. Do not consider this an endorsement of or recommendation for any of the activities, events, or providers.