5 Ways to Make Your Trip Eco-Friendly

5 Ways to Make Your Trip Eco-Friendly

August 31, 2020 | By Nafeesah Allen

When you think of eco-friendly trips, you might think you have to sleep in a canopy of trees in the Amazonian rainforest or milk cows on a dairy farm in the UK. Not so! There are many ways to incorporate environmental sustainability and cruelty-free practices into your vacation without committing to a designated resort. Here are 5 tips to eco-upgrade your next excursion:

Beware of the animals: Many tour operators offer opportunities to interact with wild animals. Though this may be exciting for you, it isn’t so enjoyable for the animals – many of which are sedated or trained to pose for photo ops. Avoid this altogether by booking visits at animal sanctuaries like Ethical Elephants in Thailand and the Moholoholo wild-life rescue center in South Africa. Your admission fees and donations help animals, and the people who love them, live out the rest of their days in safety and comfort. 

Calculate your Carbon Footprint: Use sites like carbonfootprint.com and apps like Joro that will not only track the carbon footprint of your flight but also offer an action plan to reduce accumulation along the way. Small changes generate big offsets. Take an electric car for your rideshare. Ride the metro to your hotel instead of a taxi. Better yet, consider accommodations that are close to your favorite sites. Staying within walking distance of a public transportation hub and tourist highlights can save money and help the environment.

Ditch Plastic: Places like Kenya and Taiwan have already banned the use of plastic bags. Montreal and New Delhi have city-wide policies to restrict all plastics – from straws to take-out containers. We can’t always visit places that make the plastic-free decision for us. Small switches make ditching plastic a no-brainer. Bring your own reusable tote bags to the souvenir shops. Buy fresh food and veggies at vendors that haven’t pre-packaged their produce. Tell the restaurant to hold the straw. Pack foldable and collapsible bottles (like Baiji Bottles and TopNaca), so you can avoid single-use plastics along your tour. Stop and smell the roses at the coffee shop. If you drink your latte in-store, there’s no need to grab the plastic “to-go” cup. 

Preserve Water & Energy: For those of us who like adventure and cultural travel, we head to places where basic utilities are high in price and short in supply. The rule of thumb is to treat this place like your own. At home, few among us change our towels and sheets daily, so preserve clean water by skipping that service for a few days. Don’t leave faucets running for long periods and take reasonably short showers. Bring a solar-powered phone charger, so you don’t rely on local power. And remember to turn off all lights and appliances before you leave or go to bed.

Farm-to-table Food: You may not want to volunteer at an organic farm or go fruit picking in local orchards, but you can support local agribusinesses that are sustainably sourced. A web search for eco-friendly restaurants and small businesses in your destination can make it easy to throw your tourist dollars behind yummy ethical initiatives. Skip the fast food and find farm-to-table eateries that are healthy and hearty. Eating locally-grown and locally-sourced food will help you leave a lasting and positive impact wherever you go.



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