Did you know that Americans represent 5% of the world’s population but generate 30% of the world’s garbage? We can’t make up facts like that!
Even if you’re not the most eco-conscious traveler out there, you can easily reduce the amount of waste you create while traveling with a little effort. Kermit the frog says, “It’s not easy being green” but Kermit didn’t know about these easy tips to be more eco-conscious when traveling, now did he?
Here are 5 simple zero waste travel tips that literally anyone can do!
You don’t need to print out your boarding pass or itinerary. It’s super easy and convenient to digitally store all of your travel documents in your smartphone! Boarding passes are downloadable and you can save them in your iPhone’s wallet. You can also store your other travel documents in your email and notes section. For your convenience, download TripIt — an app that stores and organizes all of your travel itineraries and docs.
Also, when you’re out shopping and dining, skip the receipts!. Many places now will offer digital receipts (just let them know before they ring you up). And if you love to read, skip the paper books and take your Kindle with you or listen to audiobooks!
Use Reusable Water Bottles
In the United States, alone, approximately 1,500 plastic bottles end up as waste in landfills or thrown in the ocean every second. Do the planet a favor and always carry a reusable water bottle with you! In fact, carry two! This way, you’ll be prepared with water when you’re out sightseeing, at the beach or just in desperate need of water.
You can easily fill up your reusable water bottle at your hotel or Airbnb. Many restaurants will also fill up your water bottle for you if you just ask. And while you’re at it, practice saying no to plastic straws and lids! You can easily pick up reusable straws, too!
Use Reusable Shopping Bags
Love to shop? Us, too! Whether you’re browsing local markets, bringing back souvenirs or shopping for yourself, it’s always a good idea to have a few reusable shopping bags with you. You’ll actually save money in the long run because many places now charge you for buying plastic bags or don’t offer bags at all.
It’s ideal to have foldable, reusable bags stored in your backpack, purse or pockets that you can easily take out. This will not only be a convenience for you but it’ll show how much you love this earth! Reusable bags are lightweight, easy to store, and environmentally friendly!
Use Alternative Transportation
Travel without flying? It just might work! The New York Times reports that one round-trip flight between New York and California generates approximately 20% of the greenhouse gases that your car emits in over an entire year! Yikes!
If you’re able to take a trip without the use of an airplane, do it! You can easily hop on a Megabus (snag $1 fares when you book in advance) or an Amtrak train. Or you can even road trip it! If you must fly, try to walk and take public transport during your vacay! It’s better for the environment and enhances your travel experience. You’ll get a taste of the local lifestyle and find hidden gems you wouldn’t otherwise! Plus it’s cheaper than Uber-ing everywhere.
Say No To Baggage Claim
Do yourself (and the plant) a favor and only take a carry-on with you! This will not only save you time and money, but you’re reducing your carbon footprint at the same time. With a carry-on, you don’t have to worry about additional fees, lost baggage, waiting in lines, or lugging around extra stuff.
And if you absolutely must have extra bags, use LugLess to ship your luggage to your destination starting at $15. It’ll be a lot easier, trust us. We got you!
Sounds simple, huh? There’s no excuse to not adopt these tips into your next trip. If it still sounds like too much, just pick one tip (ahem, reusable bags)! Remember, you don’t have to be perfect, you just need to start somewhere.
Now it’s your turn! We want to hear your environmentally-friendly travel tips in the comments!