Are you planning a road trip this summer? Going on a vacation with the family? Now that school’s out for the summer, many of us will plan to hit the road in search of a new destination. But the one thing we don’t think about is the effect our travel habits have on the environment.
Just making a few adjustments to our normal packing routine can greatly reduce our carbon footprint and have a smaller negative impact on the environment. As you know, TT&E is a huge advocate for protecting our environment. Below are some questions to ask yourself and a few tips to become a more eco-friendly conscious traveler.
- Are you a light or heavy packer?
Some of us like to grab an extra shirt or pair of shorts when packing, or maybe throw in a couple jackets or coat options, especially if we are unsure of the weather conditions. However, keep in mind that lightening your suitcase can prevent extra baggage fees and increase your car or airplane fuel-efficiency. If it is a family vacation with multiple people traveling in a group, it is a good idea to make sure each person isn’t packing duplicates of items.Packing tip: You should also consider packing clothing items you can wash in the sink and dry quickly if necessary so they can be worn more than once during your trip.
- Do you have housekeeping clean your room each day?
We all appreciate the luxury of having our hotel room clean when we return at the end of the day. But if you really think about it, the carpet probably doesn’t need vacuuming each day and your bed linens can be used more than a day or two. Many hotels provide “Do not disturb” signs for the door that tells housekeeping that they don’t need to clean your room while you are away. This will save on chemical cleaning supplies, the use of electricity and extra loads of laundry for your towels and sheets.Another quick tip: Be sure to turn off the lights and air conditioning in your room before you head out for the day.
- Do you use public transportation or rent a car?
Be sure to check for public transportation options before arriving at your destination. Many places will have cost-effective and eco-friendly transportation that you can take advantage of while visiting. Look for bus stops, train depots, bike rentals or taxis before deciding to rent a car. If you do need to rent a vehicle during your stay, choose a car that gets good gas mileage.Reminder: If you can reach your next point of interest on foot, take the walk instead of driving. This will reduce pollution and add to your experience!
- Do you buy locally made souvenirs or goods?
Buying local has many benefits! First of all, you will purchase an authentic locally made product and support the local economy – which the locals will celebrate you for. Secondly, you will appreciate the item and remember the experience associated with it. It also means that the item was not shipped to that location and avoided being transported which is a huge polluter, the farther it has to travel.
- Do you pack plastic water bottles?
This is a simple switch to make and is actually more efficient. Bring along a reusable, BPA-free water bottle that you can refill. Many bottles now have built-in water filters so you can be sure the water you are drinking tastes good. You won’t have to worry about disposal of plastic water bottles or recycling them on your trip. This way you can just keep up with one bottle and have a clean container to refill over and over.
- Do you stay at eco-friendly resorts?
One new major trend that has become very popular are eco-friendly hotels and resorts. This means these places have already put forth the effort to be more sustainable in their day-to-day operations. Green lodging options and even golf courses are out there – just check to make sure they have a certification for sustainable tourism, which meets the criteria for being considered ‘eco-friendly’.
You can have peace of mind and make your vacation more rewarding knowing that you chose to be more green in your travels. It is a simple change we can all make, and still have a blast this summer!
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