When you think about eco-friendly travel some of the things that may come to mind could be going camping and back-packing, or choosing to use a train to travel across the country rather than a vehicle… But eco-friendly traveling is so much broader, and doesn’t require committing to living out of a backpack and washing your hands in the river (unless of course, you want to). It also includes the concept of using low-waste essentials, rather than throw-away items, while you travel.
There are many small and easy ways that you can help make a difference while you travel. From green activities, reusable products, and reducing your transportation footprint.
As long as you try your best to be more environmentally conscious, you’re doing your part. The best and easiest phrase to remember when traveling is to leave no trace. This concept means to leave nothing behind but footprints, no matter where you go. Here are our tips to do just that!
10 Tips for Eco-Friendly & Low-Waste Travel
Bring a spill-proof tumbler or aluminum water bottle
After you finish that long check-in at the airport, most of us go straight for Starbucks to get a coffee while we wait for the flight. Right away, we’re contributing to yet another disposable cup that will make its way into a landfill. Then, throughout the course of your trip, you’ll no doubt go through many more disposable cups (or equally harmful plastic water bottles) that could fill up at least a garbage bag.
With the simple change of tossing a spill-proof tumbler and/or a reusable, eco-friendly water bottle into your bag, you’re set. This is the #1 most important change that you can make that will keep your trip greener.
Unplug your home
Before you leave your home for a trip, whether it’s a weekend trip or a long excursion, unplug everything in your home. Even if you’re not using something, just having it plugged in drains energy from the grid. This not only saves electricity but also saves you money (win, win!).
This may seem insignificant, but packing light has a huge environmental impact. If your bag is lighter (let’s say you pack just one suitcase instead of two) that means the plane will weigh 50 lbs. less, and if you’re not flying, then the bus you ride or the car you drive will be just as light. Each one of those changes means the fuel consumption will also be less.
Not sure how to pack lighter? We get it; it’s hard to pack when you’re unsure of the weather and the activities you’ll be doing on your trip… Which is why we have so many travel-friendly clothing options! So many of our apparel and accessories are made for multi-wear, whether that means they’re moisture and odour-wicking, or it means they’re great for multiple activities such as going hiking AND going for dinner later… or a combination of both!
Here are our some of our favourite multi-wear and multi-use brands:
Use public transportation or walk
While we may not always want to take the bus or train, mass transit is by far the greener way to travel on land because it uses a reduced amount of fuel per passenger as compared to a car. Even better, whenever possible, why not walk? One of the best ways to see any place and experience the local intricacies is by walking around, and it’s great for your health too!
Planning to do lots of walking on your next trip? We have footwear that you’ll want to wear all day long! (Goodbye aching travel feet!)
Check out our footwear options when planning lots of walking:
Whether you’re traveling or not, purchasing local food/products means that nobody had to drive those goods across the country just to get them there. Buying or eating the local produce also encourages local businesses. Let's admit it, food is one of the 'tastiest' ways to get to know a destination. So, ask a local for their recommendations and get to tasting!
- Choose eco-hotels
- Responsibly use electricity/heating/cooling
- Reduce the amount of water wasted
- Build establishment in stable locations that are not prone to flooding and doesn’t damage the ecosystem
- Promote environmental practices like beach/forest cleanup activities
- Bring your own bag when shopping
If you plan to do any local shopping during your travels, make sure to bring your own reusable bag to try to reduce the use of plastic bags. All those plastic shopping bags just get left in your hotel room to be thrown away after your trip is over, and having your own reusable tote can be a fashionable accessory on its own!
- Leave no trace, and clean up the trace of others
No matter where you travel, the only thing you should leave behind is footprints. Most eco-travelers take this one step further now, and suggest that each of us should leave the place we visit even better than when we found it. That means picking up a few pieces of trash we see on the beach or in the forest and tossing it in waste containers, so it doesn’t end up sinking into the ground or ocean.
- Take non-stop flights
The biggest impact of flight isn’t the flying, but rather the takeoff and landing that consumes the most amount of fuel. Of course, nobody likes having layovers, but the next time you think about flying, maybe that extra few dollars of a non-stop flight is worth it for Mother Nature.
- Reusable containers for toiletries
Rather than purchasing multiple toiletries and tossing in the trash when they’re empty, why not bring reusable/refillable containers and filling up whenever they’re getting low? You’ll save money and time by purchasing a large or bulk container and refilling, rather than purchasing multiple smaller ones all the time, and you’ll save the environment by reducing the amount of plastic used and thrown away.
These are only a few tips, and there are so many other great ways you can travel greener! It is all about doing one small thing at a time, and we hope our tips helped give you a few ideas for your next vacation or weekend getaway!