Last year I gave you 10 Easy-Peasy Ways to Be More Sustainable While You Travel. While these were small, seemingly insignificant tasks for you to do, they added up to a lot of sustainability! So I hope you’re ready for another ten, because here we go!
This is a pretty easy principle to apply. Instead of going on a mega-cruise-ship opt for a smaller ship of 500 people or fewer. Not only are you voting with your dollar and declaring those massive ships wasteful, you’re not contributing to the huge surge of waste cruise ships bring into ports with them. Thinking small can also apply to size of the car you rent, the amount of food you eat, the distance you travel during a trip, etc.
2. Ditch the Airplane
Obviously not every trip allows for this. For the most part you can’t get to Africa or Asia without flying, and those are two important continents to visit. But if you’re traveling in the US, opt for train travel, motorcoach travel, or even driving. Yes, driving—even with only two people in a car—is more sustainable than flying. Some places, like Alaska, even make it easy to get around by water. And if you want to go to Europe, try a repositioning cruise instead of a flight!
3. Vote with Your Dollar
Voting with your dollar means visiting and patronizing places that are committed to sustainability and avoiding those that don’t. This mindset can include entire countries or cities. Costa Rica, for instance, is doing wonders for reducing their carbon footprint—I recommend going there! On the other hand, places like Dubai value luxury over sustainability.
There’s an entire niche of travel called voluntourism, which is volunteering abroad. Many, many voluntourism companies exist, and often the points of them are to help bring economic sustainability to the locals as well as improve their environment. Voluntourism can easily cross the line into exploitative, so be sure to do your research and check out my Do’s and Don’ts of Voluntourism.
5. Go Paperless
The need for paper tickets is a relic of the past. You no longer need a paper boarding pass to board a plane—you can use an app on your phone. (Just make sure your phone’s brightness is at 100%, otherwise they’ll have trouble scanning it.) Hotel reservations can be stored on your devices. You can have maps and tour books all on electronic devices. Not only does it save time (and weight--see my last Easy-Peasy post), everything is all in one place.
6. Use Your “Do Not Disturb” Sign
Even if hotels brag about how they don’t give you clean towels every day unless you request them, there’s a good chance they still do. If you want to be sure your towels and linens aren’t being collected unnecessarily, just put out your Do Not Disturb Sign whenever you leave your room. They can’t enter, and therefore won’t collect your towels.
7. Order Less Than You Think You’ll Eat
Often on vacation we get tempted to really treat ourselves, and that’s fine! What’s not fine is if we end up ordering an appetizer, entrée, and dessert and don’t finish our food. Food waste is a real problem, and on vacation we rarely bring our leftovers back to our accommodations. You don’t have to eat everything in the proper order anyway. You want to eat an appetizer after your entrée? Go for it! (Maybe even east dessert before an entree sometimes, too!)
8. Keep Your At-Home Habits
Like I just said, vacation makes us want to treat ourselves. If we normally keep the A/C at 78 degrees Fahrenheit at home to save money, there’s a good chance we’ll be keeping it at 70 or below when we’re on vacay. I’ve done this myself—I sleep so much better when I’m freezing! But don’t forget, whether you’re at home or on vacation, your electricity use still causes emissions. Pretend you have to pay for all your utilities while you travel, and you’ll be much more likely to conserve.
9. Tell Your Friends
Sustainable ideas don’t work when only you do them, they work when tons of people do them! When you regale your friends with tales about your latest trip, don’t forget to mention all the things you did in the name of sustainability! It might help get the ball rolling for when they travel.
10. Choose a Company Committed to Sustainability
There are an endless number of tour companies and cruise lines. Travel has gotten more affordable and more desirable. It’s imperative that we choose companies, i.e. vote with our dollars, who are committed to sustainability. I have a few tour companies and cruise lines that I love because of their commitments! If you’re interested in finding out which they are, email me here!
Have any other ideas? Let me know in the comments!
Now get out there and go!