There's little question that it's easier to be green staying at home. But for those of us who are struck by the occasional wanderlust, there are some things we can do to make our trip as eco-friendly as possible.
Eco-Friendly Before You Leave Home:
- When you leave, make sure that not only are all the lights off in the house, but all appliances that can be unplugged are unplugged. This will stop your TV and desktop from sucking energy from you home while you are away. To learn more read our article on vampire energy. (Unless you empty your fridge before leaving, be sure not to unplug your refrigerator, there is nothing worse than coming home to the smell of rotting meat and cheese.)
- If you wish to leave some lights on so burglars think someone is home, put your lights on a timer. This makes it more believable and saves energy.
- If you are leaving in the winter, turn the thermostat to around 50 degrees, if you are leaving in the summer turn the thermostat up to 85 degrees.
- Bring one refillable water bottle, not several plastic ones. This will keep them out of landfills for as long as possible.
- Stop delivery of your newspaper while you are away, this will cut down on waste and spending.
- Pack lightly. Not only will you save your back some pain, you will also cut down on the CO 2 that your mode of transportation uses.
- If flying, try to fit it all on a carry on to avoid making the carousel haul extra weight.
- Pack rechargeable batteries
- Try to pack bio-degradable versions of standard products; such are rapid-dissolve toilet paper.
Eco-Friendlier Modes of Transportation:
- Keep on the ground. Emissions from airplanes are three times as damaging because of how high up they are released. They also emit more than trains and buses.
- Take trains when possible, they are much more efficient than planes and cars, and can be surprisingly relaxing.
- If driving, travel in a group. One car with four people is several times better than four cars with one person each.
- If you must fly, try to take a direct flight, which are more efficient than a lay-over.
- Consider carbon offsets. Although you can't completely offset the damage you are doing to the environment in this fashion, donating to these organizations will help to alleviate some of the strain on the planet.
Eco-Friendly When You're There:
- Stay in an eco-friendly hotel.
- Use your towels and wear clothes more than once before having the hotel wash them.
- Turn off the lights! As much as 75% of a hotel room's energy is used lighting the bathroom when nobody is using it.
- Rent a hybrid car if you will be driving while you are away.
- Rent a bicycle. You are traveling to see the world aren't you? Then why not look around as you travel?
- Buy local souvenirs, not ones shipped in from somewhere else.
Although traveling is not the best thing to do for our planet, you can certainly reduce the damage that is being done to the Earth.