Is travel incompatible with a “green” lifestyle? Not necessarily. There are a variety of ways to go green on the road. Here are some ideas for how to combine your love of travel with the goals of sustainability and a reduced carbon footprint.
Take a vacation close to home
An easy and effective way to curb your carbon footprint is to forego a vacation overseas or across the country. Instead, opt for a vacation in your local area, preferably to a place that can be reached by an easy drive or by public transportation. Vacationing closer to home will not only be better for the environment, but it has the added benefit of being gentler on your wallet, too. Also, exploring close to home can be just as inspiring as journeying to a far-flung location. With an open mind and a spirit of adventure, you might discover an amazing place right around the corner.
Reconsider over-touristed destinations
If you venture into the Louvre Museum in July, you might find yourself shoved and elbowed by crowds of other tourists as everyone tries to catch a glimpse of the Mona Lisa. Not only can over-tourism create hassles for visitors to popular destinations but it has also been linked with resource depletion and environmental degradation, not to mention a whole host of social issues.
Before booking a trip to a popular destination, check to see if the area has been experiencing any negative impacts from tourism. If so, you might decide to skip the destination altogether. With a little research, you might find another attraction nearby that is lesser-known but equally interesting to visit. If you still want to go to a top tourist destination, you could opt to visit during the off-season or travel in a sustainable manner, if possible. For example, instead of going to Venice on a cruise during the peak summer tourist season, you could visit in the winter, reaching the city by regional public transportation.
Buy locally sourced products
A good way to reduce your carbon footprint and discover unique local products is to purchase food, souvenirs, and other goods that are made in the area you’re visiting. For example, you could buy produce and street food at a local farmer’s market rather than going to a fast-food restaurant. By “buying local,” you will also help to keep money in the community you’re visiting.
There are many ways to conserve resources while traveling. The conservation methods that you choose might depend on your destination. If you’re visiting a place that is experiencing drought, for example, you could take short showers and reuse the towels in your hotel room in order to save water. On the other hand, several conservation practices would be appropriate anywhere. Pollution from plastic waste, for instance, is a growing problem all over the world. Carrying a reusable water bottle instead of buying disposable plastic water bottles is a simple way to combat plastic waste. Many things you do to conserve resources at home, such as recycling, can also be done on the road.
Going green is not only good for the environment, but it can also be fun when it comes to travel. Far from being limiting, sustainable travel can lead to new adventures and a deeper appreciation of the places you visit.