For most travel enthusiasts, the high of buying a plane ticket or getting a passport stamp overshadows all other feelings, so it’s not surprising that even the people who go out of their way to recycle at home momentarily forget about being green when they travel. In fact, depending on where you’re going, traveling green can be a challenge. Recycling isn’t exactly a universal concept – and that’s just the stuff we can see.
The good news is that minimizing your impact while traveling is easier than most people think it’s going to be. Traveling in an eco-friendly way doesn’t necessarily mean you can’t take a flight somewhere. Sure, there are ways to travel that require less fuel, but you can do things like buy carbon offsets from reputable companies and rely on things like light rail or bicycling when you’re in your destination.
Eco-travel also has a reputation for being expensive travel, and in some cases that’s true – many tours that call themselves eco-tours are high-end options, and buying those carbon offsets isn’t free, either. But it’s also possible to travel responsibly on a budget no matter where you go or what kind of trip you take. Bringing your own refillable water bottle instead of buying several bottles of water each day (even if you’re recycling the bottles!) is easy and makes a difference. Also think about things like the amount of electricity you use (charging all your electronic gadgets, leaving lights on in the hostel kitchen when you leave, etc.) and where your money is going (to a big multi-national hotel chain or to people in the community you’re visiting in the form of a small independent hotel or hostel).
Green travel doesn’t have to be complicated, it doesn’t have to be guilt-inducing, and it definitely doesn’t have to be boring. Check out this beginner’s guide to traveling green to put yourself in the right frame of mind, and get inspired about the ways you can travel greener wherever you go.