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Sustainable Travel: An Itinerary

Travel offers the opportunity to broaden your horizons while also getting in some much needed relaxation time. But while we appreciate the planet, we must also be aware of the effect we’re having on it. Luckily there are many ways to embrace sustainable travel, reduce your travel carbon footprint and traverse the world in an eco-friendly manner, from small adjustments in the way you get around a new city, to bigger decisions like your hotel choice. Before you leave home, first make sure that you are working with companies that are making strides to be more sustainable. There are many different options spanning from eco-luxury cruises to green getaway spas. No matter what you’re looking for, with a little research you can be sure to find a green option. Here are some tips on creating an eco-tinerary, no matter where you go.

    Hydrate

    Bring an empty reusable water bottle to fill from a water fountain in the airport once you pass through security and to use throughout your trip. (Be mindful of where tap water is safe to drink.)

  • Walk

    Once in your destination, try to do as much navigating as possible by foot (or bike!)—the ultimate in sustainable travel. If you have to drive, opt for using public methods of transportation rather than taxis or Ubers. Some cities have really great mass transit options.

  • Eat local

    Support local restaurants and cafés rather than big businesses to benefit local business owners and families. This will also help reduce the distance your food has to travel.

  • Shop local

    Shop local and be careful to buy products made from sustainable materials rather than things like plastics or animal products as those have a more negative, lasting effect on the planet.

  • Volunteer

    Research volunteering opportunities or consider donating to a local organization that helps the community. Be wary of simply giving hand-outs as that can cause a dependence on tourists by the locals.

  • Reflect & Donate

    On you way home, reflect on your trip and consider the ways in which you were less eco-friendly than you could have been. You could also use an online carbon calculator to find out just how green you were and donate to a carbon offset program.

It’s no secret that the Earth is in trouble, and pollution, climate change, and deforestation are just a few environmental problems we currently face. In order to reverse this, it will take a strong effort and some innovative thinking. Things like buying locally and sustainably, prioritizing walking/biking, and monitoring your waste are all important to keep in mind when planning your next, greenified itinerary. What other tips do you have for traveling responsibly?

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