The pandemic means added safety precautions at home and when we travel. Some of these precautions generate waste, yet it’s more important than ever to reduce our waste and dispose of it properly. When you have the opportunity to travel again, plan to be a good steward of the environment. We have some suggestions to help you reduce your travel impact.
This past year has imposed a pause on the availability of many things in our lives including jobs, education, social engagements, and travel. As frustrating as it has been, some aspects of the pause have been beneficial, giving us cleaner air and a greater appreciation for being outside. However, our concerns for health and safety from COVID-19 have increased the level of disposables we use and added steps to our daily routine, creating more waste and challenging our patience.
Taking a break from the new normal is important for your health. Whether your next adventure is a day trip or an extended stay, you can take steps to travel more responsibly and sustainably. Enjoy these tips on being a good environmental steward as you plan your next travel adventure. Too often, travelers depend on hotels and resorts to provide all the personal care items they need using single-use plastic products and packages. There’s a better way.
These days, responsible travel might include face masks, hand sanitizer, gloves, and social distancing. But reducing your travel footprint is still vitally important. Even before the pandemic, trash was a problem. Now it’s a bigger problem. The hotel industry has enacted new procedures to make guests feel safer. That means individually wrapped toiletry items, more disposables, and, ultimately, more trash.
To reduce the amount of waste while traveling, make space in your luggage for reusable personal items like a coffee cup, water bottle, drinking cup, and bamboo utensils. If you didn’t bring them on this trip, head straight to your hotel’s restaurant or café and ask to borrow these items to use instead of the disposables in your room.
Want to order a beverage to enjoy while roaming the property but don’t want a pesky single-use plastic cup? No problem, order your drink for “here” and simply pour the beverage into your reusable cup.
Body care products, toothbrushes, toothpaste, and other items necessary to make your travel experience comfortable don’t need to be disposable either. Although more hotels are figuring out the cost-effectiveness of providing bulk shower products, you can’t count on it. Pack a travel kit and you won’t need to use the disposable shampoo/conditioner containers offered by the hotel.
If you are looking for an eco-friendly travel kit that has everything you need, check out the kits curated by the Eco Collections Marketplace. They have all of the essentials for an eco-friendly getaway that are made from natural ingredients, without the plastic.
Travel With Purpose
We travel because we want to experience how other people live, taste new foods, enjoy different scenery, and break from the norm of everyday life. Ideally, tourism supports local communities and helps protect the natural and artistic culture of the places we visit. But too often, tourism harms the environment and local population. To be good environmental stewards when we travel, we need to plan our trips to minimize our negative impacts.
If you choose to stay in an all-inclusive resort; do yourself a favor and venture out to experience the local culture. Choosing to shop at a small store with locally made products, visiting the farmers market, or buying lunch from a food truck will only enhance your experience. Your dollars go much further in the community if you eat and shop local.
Any travel experience that doesn’t require a lot of driving back and forth to enjoy the visit is a better experience. Getting to your destination by walking or biking gives you the opportunity to immerse yourself in your surroundings.
When you must drive to get to that superb hiking trail, map out your trip in advance to save time and reduce stress. Purchase a travel book and learn about the area. Let this be your companion while sipping on coffee and preparing for the day’s adventures.
Be a Good Steward of Nature
Experiencing nature is a simple and healthy pleasure, offering us fresh air and open space – a necessity in feeling safe these days. And for many of us, enjoying nature is a major goal of our travels. However, everyone else seems to have the same idea. As a result, hiking trails or outdoor spaces may be busy, making for a crowded experience. Choose the path less traveled to truly enjoy the outdoors.
Be a good environmental steward when you travel. Leave nothing behind but your stress, your footprints, and a positive impact on the local culture and environment.
About the Author
Tara Dodson is the owner and founder of the Eco Collections Marketplace and Living Full Circle Blog. Her passion for inspiring others to travel lightly, be outside, and go green stems from always living in a tourist-focused region. A recent graduate of Southern New Hampshire University with an MBA in sustainability, she has over 20 years of experience in conservation. Her goal is to inspire a more sustainable future for the travel and hospitality industries.