How to vacation sustainably? Here are 7 strategies.
Photo by Leah Kelley from Pexels
A vacation can be a much-needed break from the stressors of work. In that regard, it’s a positive thing. It can have negative effects on the environment, however, and these are just as important to acknowledge. From jet fuel to the tiny bottles you find in hotels, the pollution and waste adds up.
If you need to get away — but you have concerns about your environmental impact — you can take measures to make your trek more sustainable. Here’s how.
Weigh your transportation options
Assuming you’re not going overseas, you should give serious thought to your transportation options. In determining the most eco-friendly choice, you have to give thought to a few factors.
- How long is your trip? Planes use the majority of fuel during takeoff and landing. Once they’re in the air, they consume slightly less fuel than automobiles. Generally, if you’re journey is more than three hours, flying is a more sustainable choice.
- Who is going with you? If you’re traveling solo, flying may also prove more eco-conscious. If you drive alone, the ecological cost is twice that of flying for the same distance. However, this figure dramatically changes if you carpool. When transporting a large group, consider driving.
Go eco-friendly with a vacation home
You might have invested in a vacation home if you make the same trip every year. Naturally, you’ve thought about renovations if you’re savvy with real estate, renting the space out to someone else when you’re not there. Before you move forward with improvements, browse eco-friendly materials.
For example, you can replace the standard materials you’d normally use for green alternatives like bamboo. It can provide the structural durability of other materials, as the wall thickness of solid bamboo is between 55% and 99% of the pole’s diameter. In short, you’re not making a compromise.
Take reusable bags
If you’re going on a road trip, convenience stores rarely offer eco-friendly packaging. That plastic sack you put your chips in will likely end up in the ocean. If you’re going overseas, not all locations ban the use of plastic bags.
Take a set of reusable bags with you, even if you have to pack them in a suitcase. If you’re driving, you can use these bags to carry snacks and refill them as you go. It’s an easy, eco-friendly way to reduce waste.
Shop and dine locally
Did you know that vegetables begin losing their nutrients just 24 hours after harvest? By shopping and dining locally, you decrease your carbon footprint when you travel. Plus, you enjoy more vitamins and minerals for energy, and your meals taste better.
Why? Transporting food over long distances creates a ton of emissions. Instead, seek out local establishments where you can experiment with fabulous local flavors. You’ll have a fun time learning about the area’s culture while eating delicious food!
Use public transportation
Are you planning on renting a car on your holiday? Why not opt to take public transportation instead, at least if you’re traveling to a major metro area. When you don’t have to drive, you can take in more of the sights.
If public transport isn’t an option at your destination, walk or rent a bicycle whenever possible. You’ll decrease emissions while soaking up the authentic local flavor of your destination.
Take only photographs
It’s tempting to snap a selfie while holding wildlife or pluck a single flower to press between book pages. However, if you disturb the native wilds, you rob others of the opportunity to experience them in their natural state.
Plus, you could unwittingly harm flora or fauna. Instead, take only photographs, and do so from a safe distance if animals are involved.
Give back on your journey
Finally, consider ecotourism for your next trip. Ecotourism refers to responsible travel with an educational and stewardship component.
You might help a local village plant trees, for example, or participate in a beach cleanup. The idea is to leave your destination enriched, not depleted, from your visit.
Make your next getaway more sustainable
Travel can create quite a carbon footprint, but you can minimize your environmental impact with relatively little effort. Use the seven tips above when planning your next getaway and feel good about your commitment to sustainability.
You’re making a positive difference!