Now that the world is finally beginning to ease back to life, people are desperate to get out and get away. But, there's a renewed abundance of concern for our species and our planet. We can't just jet-set without a care. Global greenhouse gas emissions fell 7% during the pandemic and wildlife, unbothered by human activity, flourished. Let's not undo this momentum. Here are 10 ways we can resume traveling without doing harm to our natural world.
1 PACK YOUR REUSABLES
One of the simplest ways to reduce plastic waste while traveling is to bring your own packaging. Of course airport food and convenient snacks are packaged in plastic for ease of use and hygiene. Bringing your own water bottle and snacks in a stainless steel box makes it easy. And, don't forget your reusable bag, which doubles as a catchall when you return with more than you packed! Harder than packing them is remembering to use them. Reward yourself when you go a whole day without creating any new plastic waste.
2 AVOID AIR TRAVEL
Air travel has the highest carbon emissions. If you aren't boxed in to a destination that requires a flight, consider a bus, train or car. If you need to hop a plane, offset your flight directly through your airline when you book, or use Gold Standard if your airline doesn't offer offsetting.
3 DAY TRIPS
Day trips not only reduce your carbon footprint, you're more likely to be able to pack enough of your own meals and beverages to easily avoid single-use plastics!
4 POWER YOUR TRIP WITH HUMAN ENERGY
Once you reach your destination, commit to carbon-free transport for the duration of your stay. Use bikes, boats, rollerblades, skateboards, or your own feet to get from place to place without fossil fuels. Need to cover more ground? Try renting an electric vehicle or electric scooter.
5 SHOP LOCAL
Live like the locals: shop at farmer's markets for fresh fruit and veg to avoid packaging and support the local economy! (It's a great way to get to know the culture as well, not to mention insider tips on what to see and do!)
Bring your own soap and shampoo. Leave any hotel amenities untouched so they can be used for the next guest. Keep those towels and sheets going, too. They don't need changing every day.
7 OPT FOR ECOTOURISM
There are a number of ecotourism certifications from country to country. Look for accommodations that have one or more certifications to communicate a commitment to local communities and the environment.
8 CHOOSE YOUR ENTERTAINMENT WITH EARTH IN MIND
Skip the motorboat and go sailing. Forget the four-wheeler and try ziplining. Be mindful about the activities you "consume." Keeping things simple usually amounts to keeping Earth healthy.
9 LUGGAGE MATTERS
Shopping for a new bag or suitcase? Brands are reimagining the way we pack. Paravel's suitcases are made from recycled materials and Patagonia makes the duffel bag of all zero-waste, weather resistant duffel bags.
10 RESIST THE URGE
It's really fun to pull together carefree looks for vacation. Instead of buying new things you'll wear once because you can pull it off in South Beach but maybe not in Chicago, try borrowing a few things from a friend or shopping secondhand. If you want something new for your trip, why not choose something sustainable and fun that works wherever you go? We've got ideas for you, HERE.
What did we forget? Do you have ideas for traveling light? Share them with us at firstname.lastname@example.org!