1. Pack Light
When it comes to flying, the lighter the plane, the fewer greenhouse gas emissions. While it’s not exactly practical to drop 10 pounds before your trip, choosing to travel light can make a sustainable difference. (Pro-tip: Some airlines have carbon offset programs. Try to buy tickets from them!
2. Stay Local
Major hotel chains are often unsustainable when it comes to the environment and/or the local economy. Instead, try finding a local lodge, hostel or Airbnb to directly give back to the community.
3. Don’t Buy Wildlife Products
Not only is trafficking furs or skins of an endangered species often illegal, it’s also completely unsustainable. By giving money to these types of businesses, you’re advocating for the extinction of an endangered or threatened species.
“But, what if a local is selling it to me? Doesn’t it benefit their community?”
It might, but the cons greatly outweigh the pros. Buy handmade souvenirs from locals instead.
4. Book Nonstop Flights (Or No Flights At All)
A huge amount of a plane’s carbon emissions come from takeoff and landing. Non-stop flights can drastically lower your carbon footprint. If possible, skip the plane entirely and make it a road trip. The ozone will thank you.
5. Eat Local
As convenient as the Mcdonald’s across the street from your hotel might be, try looking for a local eatery to give back to the community. Eating local also allows you to immerse yourself in the culture by trying traditional dishes and new flavors. You might even find your new favorite food!
6. Leave Nature Be
Don’t take rocks, artifacts, or flowers from nature. Leaving as little impact as possible on the environment improves the quality of the trip for those who come after you. If you want to preserve the memory of something beautiful, take a photo instead! (Pro-tip: Carving something into a rock or tree might seem really quirky and fun, but it was only cool when the cavemen did it)
7. Look for Local Tour Guides
Instead of big-industry tours, look for community-based tours. The money you pay directly gives back to the local economy, and you may get to visit some lesser-known spots that only the locals know about.
8. Use Public Transportation
It may seem easier to find a taxi or Uber, but utilizing the public train or bus cuts down on fossil fuel emissions. Oftentimes, public transport can get you to your destination faster (Have you ever seen NYC traffic?) and may cost less money. Besides, trains are perfect for people-watching.
For more sustainable tips and eco-news, visit the Eco Local Markets blog!