Become an Eco-Friendly Traveler

February 27, 2018
Kerry Lengyel

Keep these four eco-friendly tips in mind when booking your next trip.

Traveling undoubtedly has a massive effect on our environment and ecosystem. Transportation alone is a major contributor to air pollution, greenhouse gas emissions and climate change.

But those who travel often may not be aware of how their own carbon footprints affect the places they visit.

According to a 2013 Trip Advisor survey, 62 percent of travelers often or always consider the environment when choosing hotels, transportation and meals. While this shows that a majority of travelers are striving to be eco-friendly, there is still room for improvement.

Are you ready to embark on an eco-friendly journey? The next time you plan a vacation, make sure you keep these four tips in mind.

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Before purchasing a plane ticket, look into traveling by train, boat or bus. If you have to travel by aircraft, make sure you’re aware of which airlines are carbon efficient. According to The Points Guy, the world’s 50 most carbon efficient airlines include only three from the United States — Alaska Airlines, Delta Air Lines and United Airlines. Once you arrive, consider exploring your destination by biking or walking instead of by car.

We use the three R’s in our everyday lives, why not use them while traveling? Hotels usually offer throwaway amenities, such as toothbrushes and razors, but make it a point to bring your own. If you’re only staying at a hotel for a few days, tell housekeeping you won’t need their services, and reuse your towels and sheets during your stay. Even though it may not seem like much, you are helping the environment.

It’s easy to turn off the lights, air conditioning or heat when you leave your hotel room, but not many hotel guests keep this top of mind. If the area you are visiting is in short supply of water — such as Cape Town, South Africa or Perth, Australia — it’s significantly more important to take shorter showers and forgo laundry services.

As mentioned above, if the location you are planning to travel to has a massive water shortage, visiting may place more of a burden on its resources. Be thoughtful of where you choose to travel and only do so for the right reasons. Do research before you go to make sure the area you are visiting will benefit — not suffer — from your stay.