It's safe to say that I really love this planet we live on. I also enjoy traveling and experiencing everything our world has to offer... but recently I came to a harsh conclusion that I needed to improve my lifestyle and adjust the way I travel. Traveling in itself can be harmful to the environment, so in order to have a minimal negative impact on the places I visit, I needed to make a change.
I put together a short list of five ways to travel "green" while on the road. I'll be doing my best to applying these principles whenever possible, and if you are reading this, hopefully you can too! By taking these small steps, we can travel with a smaller footprint while also supporting the communities we visit.
1. Eat Local
Eating locally is one of the best ways to promote sustainability and be environmentally friendly. If possible, try shopping at a farmer's market or dine at restaurants with locally sourced ingredients. By doing this, you are supporting the local farms and farmers, and the best part, locally sourced food is fresher and tastes better! Remember, the way we eat has an enormous impact on the health of the planet.
2. Bring a Reusable Water Bottle and Shopping bag to your Trips
Bringing a reusable water bottle makes your life easier and is good for the environment. Unless you're traveling to places where drinking the water is unsafe, this is a great way to minimize plastic use throughout your trip! Before your trip, pack a reusable bag or snag one on your travels, they can end up being a perfect souvenir to bring home with you.
My favorite water bottle is Ayur Bottle since they support projects to build wells for clean drinking water in India. Not to mention they're beautiful copper water bottles locally made in Ventura, CA. And if you need a shopping bag Ethnosphere, has some pretty cool tote bags perfect for traveling around with.
3. Ditch the Plastic Straw
According to the National Park Services, Americans use 500 million drinking straws a year. The sad part is that straws often never make it to the recycling bins! Plastic straws are only a tiny part of the plastic that ends up in our oceans but their size make them very dangerous to marine animals and fish. An easy way to do your part is to travel with a reusable straw or opt out of straws all together.
4. Ride a Bike or Take a Walk
While traveling, consider other options besides driving such as walking, biking or taking public transit. Not only is this is a more environmentally friendly option, but you get to experience all the little things you would have missed while driving! Sometimes it can be hard to exercise while on vacation, but by incorporating active transportation, you can kill two birds with one stone.
5. Volunteer or Donate
What better way to travel than by doing it with purpose and in a kind way. Travel has the power to change lives and personally, travel has opened my mind and changed the way I see the world. An easy way to start by supporting a local or international charity, maybe in a location that you especially enjoyed traveling to. You can also plan on incorporating some volunteer time into your adventures as a way to support a community and do more than just hit the "touristy" spots.
Be kind and change the world!