You want to see the world, but you also want to limit your environmental impact—where to begin? While there’s little we can do to avoid the carbon emissions from the planes, trains, and buses we ride on, there are many small actions we can take while traveling to be mindful of the environments we tread on. Here are five ways you can become a more eco-friendly traveler.
When traveling, limit the amount of water you use by reducing your showering time (try to keep it under five minutes), not leaving the faucet running while you brush your teeth, staying in sustainable hotels/hostels, reusing your bath towels several times in between washes, and always carrying a reusable water bottle (no more plastic poland springs bottles!).
Water is a finite resource—the quantity we have now is the only amount we will ever have. And even though 70% of the earth’s surface is water, only less than one-third of 1% is available for humans. So we can’t afford to take water for granted.
As you may be aware, many companies are starting to use recycled material to create their products. One reason is because it saves energy, and thus cuts costs. Do your part as a responsible traveler by making sure to recycle everywhere you go—especially plastic bottles, which take 450 years to completely degrade.
Eat Less Fish and Meat
This works as a safety tip as well as an eco-friendly tip. Since you don’t know where most meat is coming from, the best way to avoid food poisoning and help out the planet is by eating mostly vegetarian meals while you travel. Most international cuisines feature plenty of delicious veggie options (when it doubt, try Indian, Ethiopian, Thai, Japanese, Turkish, or Italian restaurants) and making an effort to avoid meat may lead you down unexpectedly delightful culinary paths.
Always turn out lights, and switch off TVs and fans when you leave the room. Also, unplug computer and phone chargers from the wall when you are finished with them to avoid an ongoing energy pull.
Instead of running to chain shops, support the local community by buying handmade products from artisans. Natural resources are less often exploited or overused in shops in that promote local traditions. Read about how to shop sustainably here.
Further reads about traveling sustainably here.