Are You an Eco-Friendly Traveler? 4 Ways to Lower Your Carbon Footprint

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japan bullet train

This is a collaborative post.

Travel can be one of life’s greatest joys, and there are many different ways to go about it. From an eco-friendly perspective, your choice of transportation, accommodation, or even how you spend your time while traveling can all have different impacts on the environment. Here’s 4 ways to lower your carbon footprint!

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#1: Choosing the Right Transportation

In the journey of developing eco-friendly travel habits, taking some time to consider your transportation choices is a good idea. In fact, surveys have found that as many as 89% of tourists care about the impact of their travels on the environment, with many also suggesting sustainable transportation is important to them.

Given that just about all transport options will have some kind of effect on the environment, you’ll have to weigh up the pros and cons each time you travel. In general, the more people sharing one vehicle, the better for the environment. Instead of renting a car just for yourself, consider whether local bus or train options might be a better way to get from A to B.

Thanks to the growing understanding of how important sustainability is, airlines are focused on this issue, as well. Many major carriers now offer flights that are partially powered by biofuel, a greener alternative to oil. Many of the same airlines have carbon offset programs, too, where money is spent on environmental projects to try and offset the emissions being produced from their flights.

When you’re at your destination, think about whether you need to use transportation at all. Not only is walking great for both your health and the environment, but it can often be a great way to explore a new city. You’ll find places and experiences that you otherwise never would have heard of.

#2: Eco-Friendly Accommodation

Something that has grown in popularity in the travel world of late is eco-friendly accommodation. These types of accommodations generally focus on using renewable energy to power their buildings, have water-saving initiatives, and prioritize recycling and composting. Often, they have been awarded green certifications from organizations like Green Key and EarthCheck, too.

Staying at an eco-lodge or hotel that is actively focused on sustainability is an easy way to lower your carbon footprint. It won’t change your trip or the type of things you can do at all, and it might even enhance it. You could find that they offer unique experiences like organic gardens where you can pick ingredients to be used for your meals.

Even when you’re not staying at a green accommodation, there are some other easy steps to take. Make sure you always turn off the lights when they’re not needed, as well as the heating or air conditioning. Think about whether you need fresh towels and bedding every single day, and if there are better choices than using single-use toiletries provided by the hotel.

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#3: Sustainable Packing and Luggage

Another simple way to lower your carbon footprint is to be thoughtful when packing. Try to embrace minimalism, and instead of packing disposable products that create waste, opt for reusable alternatives like cloth bags and metal straws. Carrying a durable water bottle, packing reusable shopping bags, and anything else that limits the amount of single-use plastic you use are good ideas.

A minimalist approach doesn’t mean sacrificing comfort, either. It means choosing versatile items that serve multiple purposes and reduce luggage weight, and it means reducing plastic pollution as much as possible, something that is a big issue all over the world.

#4: Eating in a Sustainable Way

Dining out is one of the main pleasures of traveling, and it’s also an area where you have a lot of control over your environmental footprint. If it’s possible, try to choose local eateries that source their ingredients organically. This not only supports small-scale farmers who practice sustainable agriculture, but it also cuts down on emissions that are associated with long-distance food transport.

Another component of choosing these types of restaurants over international chains is that you’re supporting the local economy. Localism is one of the biggest parts of sustainability, as it allows communities to be self-sufficient and thrive in an environmentally friendly way. It also has the benefit of offering you a more authentic cultural experience, rather than something that has been watered down to cater to tourists.

Although there are a lot of other eco-friendly choices that you can make while traveling, these points should give you a nice starting point and something to think about. After all, the more people that embrace the basics of eco-friendly travel, the better off we’ll all be.

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