I’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.