Use these eco-friendly ideas and products for your next big adventure.
1. It all starts with inspiration, right? Subscribe to a magazine like Afar magazine and you’ll be treated to travel stories with a focus on authentic experiences, cultural exploration, geo-tourism and more six times a year. And, bonus, with every issue, Afar makes a donation to Sustainable Travel’s International Gold Standard portfolio to offset the carbon emissions generated by flights taken for the magazine. Nice.
2. Plan your trip with help from sites like Travelocity’s Travel for Good. The sub-site offers up info on green destinations, volunteer opportunities and hotels. The site has high standards for giving out their seal of approval – no self-certifiers allowed.
3. If you’re traveling by air, choose a greener airline. The Huffington Post has a great roundup of the top 20 most energy-efficient airlines. Does it really matter? According to researchers at Brighter Planet, yes. “A passenger flying from New York to Los Angeles on Qantas could leave a carbon footprint almost three times greater than the carbon use of a passenger flying the same route on JetBlue. That is because the Qantas flight uses a much larger aircraft, which burns almost four times as much fuel. In addition, the flight is nearly half-empty, carrying only 44 more passengers than the JetBlue flight.”
4. These apps can help. Instead of printing out a piece of paper, use your iPhone as a boarding pass. Many airlines offer you the option of an e-boarding pass. It just gets scanned at the gate. TripIt puts flight, hotel and car rental confirmation emails into one easy itinerary. Maps are old school. Use EveryTrail to figure out where you are, share your walks and find new destinations.
5. We all know the rules by now: liquid carry-on items have to be 3oz. or less and fit into a clear, one-quart bag. According to Three1One, consumers worldwide use a staggering 500 billion to 1 trillion plastic bags annually – 5% are recycled. Don’t be that guy. The company offers reusable zip top bags that will hold all of your goods.
6. Get a brand new old bag. If you’re looking for an eco-friendly suitcase, check out Craigslist or your local vintage shops. Want something new? The Kind Life breaks down some great options, including the Heys USA Eco-Case three-piece. These suitcases are made from 100% recycled plastic and come with a seven-year warranty.
7. Bring an empty water bottle and fill up at the gate as many airlines offer water stations now. Choose glass or metal and you can fill it up with coffee on the way to the airport, rinse it out and add water for the flight. Done.
8. Flying can do a number on your skin. Hydrating is a good start, but stay refreshed with a good toner – this one is travel-sized and smells fantastic. French Rosemary and Sweet Orange beat the smell of airplane food any day.
9. Lots of cities, including Paris, Miami and more, have really easy bike rentals. Many places allow you to grab a bike where you are and drop it off where you end up. Check out the rental options in your destination.
10. If you’re heading to a city, traverse it like a local. Get a transit pass and a map and download the city’s transit authority app if there’s one available. In some cities – like Chicago and Oahu–the local transportation offers some of the city’s most interesting views.