When the weather heats up, the urge to travel naturally increases. Traveling can be both fun and exciting, but unfortunately it also has a largely negative impact on the environment. Before you rush out the door to parts unknown, make sure you are traveling in an eco-friendly manner. Whether you’re headed to another city, country, or continent, keeping the environment in mind can still be a priority. Even though the changes you make may seem small, we can do what we can to help reduce our ecological impact.
Research your Companies
Eco-friendly travel may be somewhat of a challenge, but it used to be much more difficult. Fortunately, there are more companies dedicated to sustainable travel.
Hyatt for example, currently holds a 64% Corporate Social Responsibility rating, which is very impressive for a hotel conglomerate of their size. They’ve also announced an Environmental Sustainability Strategy to reduce their energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions by 2020. I loved the Hyatt Place I stayed at in Charlottesville, North Carolina. My friends rave about cruises though I’ve never been on one. Virgin Voyages is an all-inclusive luxury cruise line which has the practices of eliminating ocean waste, and converting geothermal heat into clean electricity.
Whatever kind of trip you’re planning, doing some research before you book will ensure you’re patronizing like-minded companies.
Do Not Disturb
If you’re planning an extensive stay in a hotel, consider cleaning your own room. The maintenance staff at a hotel will use copious amounts of water per day washing their patrons’ sheets and towels, and waste additional energy and electricity on continually vacuuming rooms. You can do your part to reduce this by simply utilizing your “Do Not Disturb” sign when you leave your room during the day. Cleaning up after yourself is not only a good habit to be in, but it will help guarantee no additional water or energy will be unnecessarily used on your behalf.
Some hotels give you the option when you check in to do housekeeping only after 2 or 3 days.
Once you’ve arrived at your destination, the best thing you can do to support sustainability is to shop, eat, and drink locally. Giving your money to the community helps local culture flourish. Eating locally also encourages you to try new foods that you wouldn’t normally find at home. One of my favorite parts of traveling is trying the local cuisine.
Be sure to gently enjoy the natural areas around as well. Each new place gives you new wildlife to observe and views to take in.
Before You Leave
Sustainability starts at home! Even though you may be headed elsewhere, you may still be wasting energy at home. Most appliances and devices will continue to draw energy even when they are turned off. For some, the difference in energy consumption while they’re on versus when they’re off is negligible. Items like a washing machine, Apple TV, or your cable box will continue to use almost as much power while they’re off, while things like your television, routers, and modems, are never technically “off” to begin with. If you want to keep your energy usage to a minimum, make sure that all non-essential appliances and devices are fully off and unplugged before you leave for your trip.
These are just some of the things you can do to make your next expedition eco-friendly. What are some of your favorite tips and tricks for travel?