5 Easy Ways To Minimize Your Carbon Footprint While Traveling
Jetsetting is bad for the earth. It’s a fact. Any type of travel that isn’t powered by your own two legs has an environmental impact. But there are things you can do to mitigate the negative effects your adventures have around the globe and give back to the world that’s giving you such amazing travel experiences. Here are five easy ways to minimize your carbon footprint while traveling.
1. Use a carbon offset program.
Flying burns a lot of fossil fuels. It’s one of the dirty travel truths green travelers struggle to grapple with. But if you do choose to take flights, you can use a carbon emissions calculator to help offset the impact of the fuel used by your airplane.
The calculator will determine how many miles you’re flying between airports and estimate the cost for adding some green to the world. Some airlines even have a calculator on their website. For instance, let’s say you’re flying from New York to London with Delta Airlines. You can use the carbon emissions calculator to learn that you can offset your share of the carbon emissions from the place by basically purchasing $7 of help for the environment. Delta partners with The Nature Conservancy, but there are plenty of other organizations that would happily use your $7 for green causes.
However, if you want to do a little more good, go ahead and double your donation on behalf of your seatmate on the plane who’s probably not sending any money back to the earth.
2. Bring a reusable water bottle.
We swear by reusable water bottles. We bring ours everywhere, especially to the airport. There’s no need to waste a brand new plastic bottle at the airport or the bus station or the rest stop when you can bring your own. It’s cheaper and also significantly more stylish.
Now, there are some destinations where you have to buy bottled water for water safety reasons. So in that case, try to avoid other plastics instead. Maybe bring some reusable containers for picnics, reusable bags for shopping or reusable toiletry containers (there are refillable shampoo and conditioner bottles out there).
3. Trade cars for bike tours.
Whenever possible, power yourself on your travels. If you can walk there, walk. If you can bike there, bike. You can see so much more on your own two feet or on a bicycle than you can see from the window of a car or a bus. Plus, you’ll be able to stop and admire a hidden alleyway or pop into the cutest cafe down the road without struggling to find parking.
4. Find an eco-friendly hotel.
You probably already know not to let housekeeping change your sheets daily in your hotel, but you can actually take things to a new level of green by selecting hotels based on their commitment to the environment. Look for hotels that focus on water efficiency, use natural building materials and highlight local ingredients in any food offerings. There are even some hotels around the world that are completely carbon neutral, meaning they produce as much energy as they use. Even better, there are some that produce more energy than they use.
5. Volunteer for an ecological project.
Voluntourism can be complicated, but ecological endeavors are less dicey than working with schools or orphanages. You could choose to help with hiking trail upkeep with the American Hiking Society or the Sierra Club. Or you could volunteer to help care for wild elephants in Sri Lanka or help with reforestation efforts in Indonesia with Volunteer HQ. The sky’s the limit.