50 Sustainable Travel Tips

eco travelI’ve written before in Transitions Abroad on easy ways to lessen your environmental impact when you travel. With all the hype about offsetting airplane carbon emissions and eco-friendly travel gear, it’s easy to ignore the ongoing issues that require a slight shift in habits.

I like this Sustainable Travel Tips feature that ran in a recent issue of National Geographic Traveler because it looks at the whole picture, including what you can do in your house before you even take off. As in print your travel documents on recycled paper (or at least on both sides). Unplug all those computers, chargers, and appliances you won’t be using while you’re gone. (And, I might add, turn off that hot water heater unless your house plants are planning on taking a shower.)

It’s easy to be wasteful in a hotel room. After all, we can justify that we’ve paid for that air conditioning running while we’re out for hours and the lights we left on in the bathroom. But really, it’s a giant waste of resources no matter who is footing the bill.

Some of the tips in the story seem like an odd stretch to get to 50, such as “limit left turns” while driving and “hike a historic cemetery.” (Huh?!) But others are easy and effective.

Carry your own water bottle. Buy local. Pack light. Take public transportation. Stay at small and simple hotels. Eat local food. Bring a reusable shopping bag.

The cool thing is, most of these moves will save you lots of money as well. Win-win for you and the planet.

  1. Marilyn Terrell

    Thanks for the link, Tim!

  2. james

    In a few hotels I’ve stayed at overseas your room card key is required to access the power. (lights and a/c) via a main slot in the wall.

    I think its a great idea, and surprised more hotel and motel chains here in the states don’t adopt the idea.

    And yes guest houses and small hotels are definitely the way to go.

    all the best- james…

  3. tim

    James – the problem with key-activated electricity is that people forget the key and leave it in their room. I did just that on a recent hotel stay.

    Me, asking for a new key at the front desk: “I bet this happens a lot.”

    Desk clerk, rolling his eyes: “Only about once an hour. All day every day.”

    Then other people ask for two keys just so they can leave one in the slot because their laptop is charging.

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