10 ways to be an eco-traveler
There is more reason than ever to be an eco-traveler these days. Being a tourist doesn't have to mean hurting the environment, and there are lots of little things you can do to lessen your carbon footprint on vacation. They needn't be time-consuming, either. In fact a lot of these things happen to make sightseeing a lot simpler.
At tentree, we’re committed to seeing the world, and doing it in a sustainable way. That’s why we’ve put together this list of ways to jetset in an environmentally-friendly fashion:
Do your research
Reading about attractions online is really important. Thailand is a good example why: there are many elephant-trekking camps, and not all of them treat the animals kindly. Some claim they do, but the reality is otherwise. Look for activities that have certifications and awards. Reading travel blogs and TripAdvisor can be helpful too.
Write about your experience
If you encounter something that’s really cool on your trip, tell others about it by leaving an online review. Whether it’s a hotel that provides incentives for saving water and energy or a B&B with its own organic farm, sustainability is all about spreading the word.
Use electronic tickets
It save paper waste, it’s one less thing to carry around. These days it takes nothing more than a couple clicks to have everything from concert tickets to boarding passes sent by email and SMS.
Look around the house before you go
Believe it or not, TVs, toasters and microwaves can use energy even in off mode. Unplugging appliances before a holiday is good for the environment, and good for your bills – and more money’s always good for a holiday, right?
Same goes for the hotel room
Never leave the card the energy card in when you leave., and if you’re staying somewhere that doesn't use a card system, remember to always turn out the lights. Small tricks like that, and closing the drapes, can help keep the room naturally cool if you’re somewhere hot and humid.
If you hotel has an environmental program, make sure to tell them that you appreciate that. Filling out comment cards may seem silly, but they do make a big difference in helping resorts to know what their guests want. Likewise, if you’ve stayed at a resort that seems wasteful it’s important they’re aware of how it could hurt their business.
Let your mobile be your tour guide
Instead of taking handfuls of brochures, snap photos of the most relevant information using your mobile phone. If you make an album for your trip with only the most relevant stuff, it’s also easier to flip through than shuffling through a stack of paper in a busy place. If you’re in a group, you can also share one map for everyone.
Eating locally grown food and buying handmade goods makes any travel experience more authentic. You’ll get to know the locals, and learn from their way of life. You can also be sure that your money is going directly into the community.
B.Y.O.B. (Bring your own bottle)
Plastic bottles are always a major pollution problem in tourist areas, especially tropical ones. A lot of destinations that have unsafe drinking water aren’t known for having reliable recycling, either. It may be tricky, but you can do your part by buying a big bottle of drinking water for your room and refilling a smaller bottle to carry around. You may still need to buy water when necessary, but the impact (and costs!) will already be less.
Pack a trash bag
Don’t even be tempted to unload gum wrappers and empty sunscreen bottles on the beach – instead, bring a garbage bag along. It’ll leave the sand nice and clean for the next visitors, and save the risk of these things getting washed into the water and harming wildlife.