Traveling, though extremely rewarding, can also be quite stressful which makes staying green on the go a real challenge. Check out these tips to help minimize your footprint and maximize your travel experience.
- Do your research. This is the first and most important step for the ecoconscious traveler abroad. Try dining in restaurants where meals are locally sourced and staying in hotels/hostels with green policies. Websites like Expedia and GreenHotels allow you to search directly through their databases for approved accommodation. Of course, a bit of extra personal research can also do a lot of good. Services like Airbnb or Couchsurfing are also great alternatives to hotels altogether for those seeking a different experience.
- Take Direct Flights. Flying can be extremely frustrating for the eco-conscious consumer. While it may be terrible for the environment, unless you choose to simply sit at home, it is an evil that must be accepted. One way to minimize your impact is by paying the extra bucks and taking a direct flight, where possible. On a side note, there are a plethora of other advantages to taking a direct flight, the most obvious being convenience and comfort as layovers can be long, boring and just plain exhausting.
- Ditch the rental car! And forget the taxi! These are two incredibly effective ways to reduce emissions. While in many American cities it can be extremely difficult to get around without a vehicle, throughout the rest of the world, particularly in Europe, it’s fairly simple and cars can even be a hindrance. Take public transport or rent a bike, both of which will help you trim both your budget and your carbon footprint.
- Go local! Exploring flea markets and farmers’ markets is a really cool way of getting a feel for the local way of life while simultaneously staying green. Forget the porcelain mugs or cheap trinkets manufactured in massive factories in distant lands, find a much more personal locally produced souvenir. Buying something at a market gives a much better and more personal story anyway.
- Reduce, Reuse and Recycle. The basics of recycling don’t change just because you leave your house or cross a border. Water bottles (or bottles in general) are an excellent opportunity to apply the rules abroad. For some reason, the reusable bottle revolution has yet to cross the Atlantic and cities in Europe tend to be flooded with plastic water bottles so stay green by using a reusable bottle, you may even convince some locals to change their ways!
Madeline Sinclair originally hails from Toronto, Canada. She loves traveling and currently resides in Berlin where she works for GoEuro.