Happy Earth Day! In honor of Mother Earth’s recognition day, I’m going to show her some love by sharing tips on how to be a more responsible traveler. Being a responsible traveler is easier said than done. Everyone is yelling and screaming about plastics and climate change and it can be overwhelming to digest everything into any planned trip. For me, practice makes perfect. By simply acknowledging how we travel and the differences we can make (however minimal as they appear to be), goes a long way. It took me almost three years to figure out how to travel like a professional. Where to start? And what to pack? Let me help.
I’ve compiled 10 easy steps to be an eco-friendly traveler. Some—like dropping single-use plastics—will have an effect on the environment, while others—like selecting sustainable companies—will help you contribute to local communities. Don’t stress out if you can’t commit to all 10 on the next trip, it’s about the baby steps first.
I’ve got a lot of hair and it’s the equivalent of those three small hotel shampoo bottles per wash. Ick, not good for the environment since they’re generally not biodegradable, which is why you’ll see more hotels using containers secured to the wall. Better yet, bring your own shampoo, conditioner, and lotion in reusable bottles (Nomoon sells them here). Encourage the hotel to adopt more eco-friendly policies.
Choose Green Destinations
I love telling people that Nomoon supports destinations that are working to combat climate change and implementing sustainable practices within their local communities. For example, Lygenfjord, Norway is a destination we offer our customers that was listed on the 2018 Sustainable Top 100 Destination Awards for their focus on going green.
Pack Smarter, not Bigger
I honestly don’t know why some people check-in luggage for a weekend trip. Seriously. Packing efficiently for a flight not only helps you narrow down what you truly need, it also reduces an aircraft’s carbon emissions. To lighten your load, here are our few tips. The next time you want to complain about baggage rules and fees, remember that the lighter the aircraft, the less fuel it burns.
Technology exists. Save some trees and get tickets scanned on your mobile.
Keeping it Local
I love this step because you can definitely support locals without much work. Eat in locally owned restaurants, stay in locally owned hotels, and buy locally made products and handicrafts.
Offset Your Impact
Calculate your travel carbon footprint by using Sustainable Travel International’s calculator. Some airlines even have a carbon offset option when booking your flight—any money donated will go toward reducing the emissions you’re adding somewhere else. Plus, if you use Goodshop coupons to purchase anything from luggage to currency, a portion of what you spend can be donated back to an environmentally focused organization, like the Natural Resources Defense Council or Conservation International.
Quit Single-Use Plastics
Globally, almost 300 million tons of plastic are produced annually—half of which is single-use—and more than 8 million tons of that plastic are dumped into the ocean, according to the Plastic Oceans Foundation. Think about what you can do when you travel, by declining plastic straws, plastic coffee stirrers, plastic bags, and plastic cutlery.
Choose Sustainable Travel Companies (like us)
Of course I am going to toot my own horn here. Nomoon is one of those trusted travel companies who utilize the best environmental practices—even if it takes additional work, or added expense. We partner with suppliers who abide by certain sustainability standards. We want our customers to travel sustainable and green as much as possible. Doing so can also strengthen and support local communities. We also donate some of our proceeds to 1% for the Planet.
Use that Same Towel Again
I know it can be a bit ew to reuse that towel but look at the big picture. Laundry generally accounts for 16 percent of a hotel’s water bill, so it’s a good thing to help eliminate using too much of Mother Earth’s valuable resource: water.
You already know that single-use plastics are not good for the environment. If that doesn’t get you, consider that the average price of a water bottle at an airport is around $5—and that’s $5 you could have spent on a cappuccino. Get a good water bottle to help you save the environment and stay hydrated while traveling.
Overall tip, one of the biggest misconceptions is that traveling responsibly somehow is difficult. It’s not! Traveling responsibly doesn’t mean giving something up, it’s appreciating what we have (Earth) and doing something about it for future generations.