How to be Eco-friendly while Traveling
So, you’re environmentally conscious when living at home, but think that you’ll have to give up that lifestyle during your next adventure? Well, I’m here to tell you that that is not true! Don’t believe the myth that it’s difficult to “go green” while on the road. There are dozens of ways to keep your ecological footprint small while exploring the world. I have compiled a list of my favorite methods to keep up an eco-friendly lifestyle while on the go (*hint* It’s so much easier than you think!)
More good news – most of your eco-friendly travel choices will save you money, too! Two birds with one stone, eh?
Take public transportation
A little obvious, right? Aside from renting a personal car, public transit might be your only choice. On the other hand, sometimes an Uber is a simple *click* away. And while we can all agree that Uber is a lifesaver, taking a bus is typically the greener option.
Luckily, a lot of cities offer public transportation in the form of buses, trains, and subways. Some areas even have their own personal touch. Cable cars in San Francisco? Bicycle and buggy in Belize? Gondola in Colorado? Back of a pick up truck in Guatemala?
Public transportation can even be…dare I say it…fun? Yep, it’s true. I’ve met friends on buses and gone on to spend an entire weekend with them at our destination. You can also get some great stories out of a simple bus ride – but that’s for another time (yes, Zoe, I’m talking to you!)
Do your own walking/biking tour
This is my favorite way to see a city! I’m a little picky when it comes to tour groups because I feel like it’s hard to get an authentic experience. I prefer wander around like a local.
Lots of tours will pile everyone in a bus and make stops along the way. Without even realizing it, you probably will only cover a few miles. Totally not worth it! Save your money and stroll around town by yourself.
I followed Lonely Planet’s walking tour of Granada, Nicaragua and found so many hidden gems along the way (and was able to treat myself to a margarita midday) 😉
I’ve also considered renting bicycles to explore bigger cities – and often daydream about traveling to Europe and exploring town after town on an adorable, pastel colored bike. Cute, right?!
Bring a reusable water bottle
In all honesty, I cringe each time my parents buy a big case of plastic water bottles. It’s so…20th century? Outdated? Unnecessary? Wasteful? All of the above, really. But in some countries you may not even have the option to buy one-time-use water bottles!
I rely on a Nalgene for stateside travel, and my Lifestraw when traveling abroad or camping. My Lifestraw saved me (and my stomach) while traveling throughout Central America on numerous occasions. I highly recommend it to everyone!
Carrying a reusable bottle is an easy way to save the environment – and your bank account.
Shop at local markets
You don’t have to give up farmers markets and delicious fresh fruit when you’re abroad. In fact, you may have more access to it! In Guatemala, locals and travelers shopped at the market. The central market in Antigua was actually overwhelming because it was so huge. It was also set up every day, not just twice a week like is common in the US.
This will be your best opportunity to get fresh, local food. Farmers and ranchers sell their products at the market – you will never run out of options.
Alright, so I usually camp because it’s my favorite way to experience a natural area. And although I don’t have the downright intention of being “green” each time, it is still an advantage! Doing something I love while saving money and the environment…SIGN ME UP!
Set up a tent or sleep under the stars. You’ll be decreasing your ecological footprint since you won’t use electricity or running water. You can even check out my Backpacking Guide for Ladies for some outdoor adventure tips.
Stay at eco-friendly hostels/hotels
I am so excited about this one! During my WWOOFing experience I volunteered at an eco-friendly hostel and organic farm and it was so. awesome. I have never felt more connected with nature.
The market for green hotels is growing a ton right now and is still fairly inexpensive. You need somewhere to stay anyways, right? You don’t have to sacrifice luxury, either. Eco-friendly lodging can range from tent camping and composting toilets to an extravagant hotel that has installed a grey water system.
(Grey water is the end product after you have bathed or washed your clothes. It is gently used, but not actually dirty. This soapy water used to flush toilets or water plants. Who needs their toilet bowl water to be as clean as their drinking water, anyways?)
When I travel I love to explore as I go – wander off the beaten path and what-not. And sustaining my environmentally friendly lifestyle as I go is the cherry on top.
While planning your next adventure, don’t forget these easy ways to go green. Sign up for my email list and connect with me on social media. Instagram and Pinterest are my go-to’s! Also, leave a comment below – let me know what you think about going green while traveling. Do you know of any more tips that I haven’t mentioned?
See you around, adventurers!