Traveling, if not approached correctly, is an activity that can leave a large environmental footprint. But fortunately, today going green is a global effort. Even when traveling abroad, there are many things that you can do in order to insure that you make the smallest environmental impact possible. Here are some “dos” and “don’ts” in order to help you keep green while traveling:
* Do inquire as to whether your hotel has a recycling program. If so, be an active participant. This includes tidbits you may pick up during your travels such as periodicals and maps.
*Do find out about your hotel’s housekeeping policies. If you can, request that your bed linens and towels be laundered every rather week than every day, or after the tenure of your stay. This helps to conserve both water and energy.
*Do make appropriate use of curtains and blinds in your hotel room in order to aid in temperature control.
*Do use electronic check-in systems whenever possible, both at your hotel and at the airport, in order to reduce paper waste.
*Do leave unopened soaps, shampoos, and other products in your hotel room so that the next guest can use them.
*Do patronize local businesses as frequently as possible in order to support the local economy. Buy locals food and goods that have not been shipped many long miles to reach their destination. Look for Fair Trade coffee shops.
*Do bring as many of your own snacks and drinks with you as possible. Re-fill a stainless steel water bottle every day rather than purchasing plastic bottles of water. An empty water bottle can be brought through airport security check points.
*Don’t litter! In some countries it is still common to throw trash right on the ground. Don’t do this yourself. Take a trash bag with you wherever you go.
*Don’t book a cruise. Cruise ships are notoriously unfriendly to the earth. In one single day, passengers aboard a cruise ship generate up to 21,000 gallons of sewage; 8,000 plastic bottles; and 170,000 gallons of waste water.
*Don’t pick up paper brochures and pamphlets that you do not need. The same goes for disposable napkins and utensils.
*Don’t use disposable cameras, as they create a lot of waste. Use a digital camera instead, preferably one with a rechargeable battery.
*Don’t forget to turn off all electrical appliances such as TVs, radios, chargers, and lights before leaving your hotel room to sightsee for the day.
*Don’t rent a car unless you really need to. Utilize public transportation whenever possible. If you do have to rent a car, inquire as to whether the company has high efficiency or alternative fuel vehicles.