By Heather Gunn
Let’s face it – travelling is not always the most Eco-friendly activity. Things like flying, car rentals, and limited access to recycling in hotels are not great for the environment.
Luckily, there are ways to cut down on pollution and other harmful practices during your vacations.
- Fly Smart
Flying sometimes just can’t be avoided, especially if you’re travelling internationally. To make sure you’re flying smart, check which airlines have Eco-friendly practices and see which one fits best with your values.
Of course, flying and driving aren’t ideal if you want to be Eco-friendly, but being aware of the practices companies you book with can give you peace of mind when on your way to your destination. And remember to pack light! Any extra weight on planes causes them to release more carbon emissions.
2) Book Eco-friendly hotels or opt for home sharing
Many hotels aren’t very Eco-friendly; They encourage you to have your towels washed every day, and sheets changed when you’ve only slept on them once. They also have mini shampoo and body wash bottles that just get tossed, and most hotels don’t have a bin for recycling in their guest rooms. Despite this, there are many hotels out there who are making significant steps to be more Eco-conscious, such as having lower-pressure shower heads, recycling bins, solar panels, and more.
If you’re not into the hotel idea, opt for a home sharing experience like Airbnb! This way, you and your guests will have their own apartment, condo, or house where you can cook meals, do your own laundry, and have more control as to where your recycling and waste goes. Plus, supporting homeowners stimulates the local economy of the place you are visiting.
3) Walk or take transit
If you aren’t going too far when touring around your destination, think about walking, taking the bus, or taking the subway rather than renting a car or hailing a cab. Biking can be really fun too, and many cities now have bike and electric scooter rentals.
Walking, biking, and local transit are some of the best ways to see the sights and connect with people that you may miss if driving in a car.
4) Bring a reusable water bottle
In some destinations, you will need to drink bottled (not tap) water for safety reasons. But, if you are travelling somewhere that has filtered water stations or safe tap water, bring your own reusable bottle! Most places in North America have water refill stations or fountains that are safe for drinking water.
5) Shop and support local
When you go out to eat on your holiday, skip the chain restaurant and try out a unique diner! Instead of shopping at a big mall that has all the same stores you have at home, check out a small mom-and-pop shop that sells unique items. Shopping at small businesses helps owners so they can sustain their local economy.
6) Have your reusable bags on hand
Vacations often involve a lot of souvenir shopping, which in turn means a lot of unnecessary plastic bags that you usually don’t know what to do with at the hotel. Bring your reusable bags on vacation with you! Bags like this are light, which means you can pop them in your suitcase, duffel bag, or purse and keep them for any shopping trips you have along the way.
What are your go-to Eco-friendly travel tips? Let us know!
Power up the Planet is an Edmonton based non-profit aiming to reduce e-waste in our community. Find us here: poweruptheplanet.ca