We’ve deemed April Earth Month at Where.ca, with a series of stories all about eco-friendly, sustainable travel. Go green!
By AMANDA HALM
Sustainable doesn’t have to be synonymous with sacrifice. Here are little things you can do to reduce your impact while on the road, in the sky or on the trails.
1. Fly direct. Taking off and landing requires a lot of jet fuel—the carbon footprint of flying is probably the biggest hindrance to truly travelling sustainably. Also, get an e-ticket to reduce your paper use and pack light to do your part in reducing baggage weight and extra fuel burned.
2. Drive smarter. Use cruise control whenever possible and be sure your tires are inflated to the proper level to get more mileage. Plan trips close to your home and avoid family caravans with extra vehicles.
3. Keep nature…natural. Taking to the trails? Respect wildlife and don’t stray from the beaten path. Leave nothing behind and pick up litter as you go. Resist the lure of the lodge and stay under the stars for extra sustainability points.
4. Opt for public transit or pedal power. Hop on your destination’s public transportation system. Not only will you experience the area in a more interesting way and avoid traffic, you will curtail your environmental impact. Consider renting a bike or going on bike, rather than bus, tours. If you have to rent a vehicle, zip around town in a hybrid (and see #2 above).
5. Avoid mass-produced mementos. Imagine the environmental impact of truckloads of magnets and t-shirts being shipped from store to store. Avoid these kitschy mass-produced souvenirs and opt locally made or produced items (like these edible souvenirs) instead. It boosts the local economy and it’s a more meaningful reminder of your trip.
6. Curtail container waste. Pop a pack-away tote into your bag or take a backpack for purchases and carry a reusable water bottle. (Vapur collapsible bottles take up hardly any space.) Fill reusable travel-sized containers with your own shampoo, conditioner, lotion, etc., rather than buying mini throwaway products.
7. Stop the paper trail. Tourist attractions always have loads of maps and brochures that get dumped in the recycling bin on your way home. If possible, upload maps to your smartphone ahead of time. Check out the brochures and take notes, then put them back, instead of taking every pamphlet. Or opt for the greenest option: chat. Ask a friendly pedestrian what’s going on around town and what to do—locals love to show off and you’ll likely get great advice.
8. Reduce your hotel footprint. It is tempting to get new, fluffy towels delivered every day just because you can, but instead, reuse them a few times to conserve water and energy (these days, many hotels ask whether you want this option). Turn off the lights and unplug electronics when you leave the room. Take short showers and turn the faucet off when brushing your teeth. Compliment your hotel on any green efforts or gently suggest actions that would make them more environmentally sound. See how your accommodation scores on the eco-scale.