When you travel, whether it’s for leisure or business, you’re polluting the earth. From fuel consumption while driving, or the emissions from airplanes, you’re leaving a carbon footprint everywhere you go. Your travel choices, eating habits, luggage, and your accommodations all have an impact on the planet whether you’re conscious of it or not.
So how can you take an active role in lessening your negative impact? Become more aware of your travel choices with a few of these recommendations.
If you’re driving, it’s important to have your car checked in order to make sure it is in tip-top condition. A car that is running well emits less CO2 than one that is in need of maintenance.
While you’re at it, it’s a good idea to make sure your tires are in good condition. Check your tires by using the coin test. With just a penny and quarter you can deduce the thickness of your tires by measuring how far the tread comes up on the coins. Worn or improperly inflated tires won’t get optimal fuel efficiency.
When it comes to flying, there are certain airlines that try to have less of an impact on the environment. Virgin American, for example, has been regarded as the greenest airlines in the U.S. for some time because of their policies and practices in recycling, fleet efficiency, as well as bio fuel research. In Europe, Lufthansa was recognized as the leading green airline in 2014. When you have to fly, you can decrease your carbon footprint by flying with one of these airlines.
There are several luggage options made from durable, recycled materials. Heys Luggage has a whole line of 100 percentrecycled luggage, which includes three-piece sets to small backpacks. When looking for eco-friendly luggage, keep these points in mind: First, eco-friendly material isn’t always 100 percent recycled. Other alternatives are made from hemp or organic cotton. Look for something with a water-based coating. Second, if your business trips are short, opt for something small and compact for a lighter load.
Book your stays at hotels and resorts that have made a commitment to green practices. While the Green Hotels Associationdoesn’t certify hotels or endorse certification because of the cost that the certifying entities require, it can be a good resource to find establishments that offer green options. Also consider EcoStay, a program that helps to support hotels in their efforts and actions against climate change.
During your stay, hang your towels and use them more than once to cut down on your water use from laundry cycles. Be mindful of your room temperature and slightly lower or raise the thermostat accordingly during the hours you’ll be out of your room. When you eat out, eat local. Look for restaurants that source local meats, poultry, and produce grown in the nearby region. This boosts the local economy and supports local farmers and growers, while also reducing the emissions and fuel consumption that it takes to transport food across the country — sometimes the continents.