Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Eco-friendly Travel Planning and Packing

We are going on summer vacation soon (can't wait :)) ! I am busy planning and packing for it. We always try to have eco-friendly travels as much possible and I have been sharing our Eco Travels with you, my readers all these years.

But this time I am sharing my eco-friendly travel planning and packing tips, which somehow I didn't thought of before. Eco tourism is not just staying in eco-friendly resort, but there are many things involved to reduce our carbon footprint while we travel.

Eco-friendly Packing

1. Pack Light. The more weight planes, trains, cars are carrying, the more fuel they use. Plus it's convenient to travel light though it's difficult for us ladies, I know :). But try to limit clothes by creating combinations of outfits out of few pieces. And better to take just one or two universally matching shoes.
2. Travel size refillable bottles with ecofriendly toiletries. Instead of disposable bags or carrying full size containers of toiletries use refillable travel size bottles. After returning I finish and clean them and use it for my next travel. This time I have packed my favorite eco-friendly and biodegradable shampoo, body wash, face wash, scrub, multipurpose detergent from newly found Forever Living Aloe products range. If you are staying in sustainable hotel, they provide you biodegradable toiletries or always request you to bring the same with you.

Travel size Toiletries
3. Reusable Tote bags for shopping for groceries, souvenirs, picnic etc. To avoid using plastic bags and increasing garbage use these reusable tote bags. These bags fold into small size which can fit easily in your purse, bag pack or handbag.

Tote bags

4. Refillable water bottle. Instead of buying plastic bottles  for water repeatedly. Just make sure the tap water of your destination is safe to drink or not.
5. Opt for rechargeable batteries for alarm clock, cameras, flashlight and toys.
6. Travel literature- Don't buy too many books and maps for your travel. you get better and updated information on internet. And your luggage is reduced too. You can always find maps in information centers of your destination. This way you are helping cutting many trees.
7. Reading list on travel- Avoid buy too many books and magazines for your travel. There are newspapers, magazines always available on plane, in hotel. Some people now a days buy ebooks and read it, it's smartest way to reduced paper use. And some people instead of reading on travel, explore as much as possible and take surround in whenever seating or waiting for something.
8. Carry a tiffin box. Specially if you are travelling with kids to store food or leftover food from your lunch. Instead of using zip lock plastic bags or take away containers this is best, healthier and greener solution.

Before you leave home

1. Turn off and unplug all the lamps and household electronics. Unplugging is important since electronics leach power even if they are turned off.
2. Turn off water and gas valves. It's safer that way.
3. Put filled bottle upside down in planters, so that you won't come back to dried up plants at home
4. Recycle all those packaging cardboard boxes of things you bought for your travels.

Enjoying destination greenway

1. Avoid using transport when possible. Walk as much as possible, you get to explore more when you walk. And you can indulge in eating local food without worries about extra gain in weight on travel. We have a great memory of cycling on the scenic roads of Cappadocia in Turkey.
Cycling in Cappadocia

2. Use public transport instead of hiring car. On our upcoming travel we are going to travel internally by train; not just our son but we too are excited about it. We had travelled by bus overnight on our Turkey trip few years back, while I was planning my husband was not very happy. But that trip is most memorable and one of his favorite from that trip. You get so many interesting experience when you travel with locals, by keeping your CO2 emissions lowest.
3. Choose eco-friendly hotel/resort. It's amazing to see how they lessen their impact on environment by creating their own power, innovative recycling, employing locals and you get to eat amazingly fresh food grown in their gardens. You can always get great tips for greening your home from these hotels.
4. Support Eco-friendly housekeeping- You stay in eco-friendly hotel or not you can always reuse your towels and hang them on rack for drying after use. And can always request not to change your bed sheets everyday. this way you will save lot of water by not asking your hotel to wash your towels and linen everyday.
4. Shopping Locally-purchase things from local market fruits, food, local handicraft etc and use that reusable tote bag you packed for it.

Bought exotic fruits, vanilla and spices from farmer's market in Bali!

5. Recycle you waste on travel. If your are staying in eco-friendly hotel there will be recycling bins. Else there are generally recycling bins kept on airports, public transport stations and parks. Use your one of the tote bag to store recyclables till you reach the bin.
6. To offset your travel, you can always plan sustainable plants either in your travel destination or back home. But make sure you are planting a specie which can sustain without much maintenance (water, sunlight etc) and is local to that terrain. Buy the seeds or plants locally. There are restrictions on taking foreign species to countries like Australia etc.
7. Wrap gifts after landing back home. Security check on airports might ask you to open the gifts you bought for family and friends. And there is chance of getting the gift wrapping damaged in transport. So instead of wasting wrapping papers and boxes; just wrap them after you land.
8. Cooking from locally grown- If you have kitchenette facility available in your hotel, buying from local farmer's market and cooking a meal for your family on travel is great fun. During our vacation in Australia, I couldn't stay back from buying fresh organic vegetable from Queen Victoria market and cook it for dinner. According to my husband that was one the best meal on that trip.
Cooking in Melbourne

9. Eating locally and sustainable- There is no better experience that to eat from local eateries. This way you get to eat fresh food, local cuisine, explore their food culture and you can give back this way to that community. Less logistics and carbon emission is involved in eating locally. So next time you are ordering your meal from Mac Donald on your vacation think twice.
10. Go outdoors, explore the natural beauty of your destination. But remember not to disturb the local flora fauna and environment. Have as less impact as possible when you are out in Nature. Go for nature trails, walks, hikes it's great way of teaching your kids about environment and conservation. This will be great family bounding time too.

Hope these tips will help you to make your travels eco-friendly. Please share any of your eco friendly tips for travel which I skipped here.

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