Guest Post: Green Travel for 2012
When you think about your duty to protect the earth, you can consider the multitude of ways that exist to travel in “green” style. Since 2012 is still young, still have the opportunity to make a New Year’s resolution to travel in a more eco-friendly fashion this year. Here are several tips that will help you have a greener 2012.
Your destination. If you are staying in a hotel, use only what is necessary. Many places will encourage you to reuse your towels, asking that you leave them on the floor if you would like to replenish your supply. While it is tempting to take advantage of amenities such as a seemingly endless supply of bath towels, make an effort to resist. In this same vein, you can also take shorter showers that are not scalding hot. You also have the opportunity to cut down on waste by refilling bottles of shampoo or bringing along your own soap in a travel canister. Don’t use disposable cameras, and always use rechargeable batteries.
Travel. When flying, use an e-ticket. This will save on paper, plus it’s a more convenient option. Walk as much as possible. It’s eco-friendly and it’s good for you as well. If you have a lot of sights to see, try to rent a hybrid vehicle or a bicycle. Bring your own water bottle that you can refill on your travels.
Souvenirs. Don’t disturb nature areas by picking flowers, destroying trees or plants, or picking up pretty stones. You can also support local communities by shopping at the farmer’s market for locally grown produce or hand-made souvenirs produced by community artisans or craftspeople.
Packing. The lighter you pack, the less fuel required to transport your luggage. If you bring your own bags (i.e., totes, duffel bags, or Ziploc bags), you reduce waste by using them to carry any purchases you make rather than take a plastic bag from a store. Plan to wear the same jeans and tee shirt two or three days in a row (this is usually a sound ecological choice unless you’re visiting a climate that will cause you to sweat excessively). By reducing your laundry use, you will cut down on the amount of water and energy it takes to clean them. (This practice applies to the hotel’s sheets as well. Do you really need them changed every night?) You can save more energy by air drying your clothes.
Eating. Avoid fast food restaurants. Reduce the amount of meat you consume – cows in particular are responsible for creating methane pollution, and going vegetarian, even just a few times a week or for the duration of your vacation, will eventually help cut back on air pollution. Eat at local restaurants and purchase organic food or food that has been locally grown, thereby reducing pollution caused by the fuel burned to transport imported foods. If your eyes are bigger than your stomach, don’t throw the food away: save it to eat later.
Begin your earth friendly vacation now by taking advantage of travel credit card rewards.