If you’re like me, you love to travel but get concerned (understandably!) about the harm your trip can cause to the environment.
Between fuel consumption, plastic cups and wrappers, harsh cleaning chemicals, and all the rest, traveling can be pretty taxing on the planet.
After traveling for most of my adult life I’ve come up with a system when traveling that minimizes impact.
Make your own meal
To avoid the waste from airline meal service, pack a lunch in a stainless steel or BPA-free plastic container, or pack your food and snacks in a Stasher Bag or beeswax wrap. This way when you get to your destination, you have them to store leftovers or any food you pick up while traveling. This is very handy if you’re planning to stay at an Airbnb or a hotel with a fridge and need food storage options during the trip. Then fill them up for the plane ride home!
Travel with To-Go-Ware
I don’t go anywhere on the road without a set of To-Go-Ware, a reusable set of bamboo cutlery. This way you can turn down disposable, plastic cutlery given to you when you get take out, airplane meals, and even at some cafes.
Pack a reusable water bottle
Ever since liquids over 3oz were prohibited from being carried through security, plastic water bottles in the airports and plastic cup consumption on airplanes drastically increased.
Fortunately, most airports have become hip to this problem and have installed filtered water stations for travelers to refill their own bottles. Make sure this item is on your packing list and leave time to fill your bottle when you get past security.
And of course, while you’re away, instead of buying water in plastic bottles, you’ll have your bottle with you. Get in the habit of asking to fill your bottle when you’re visiting friends or family’s homes.
Many hotels are doing their part to provide water for their guests rather than charge them for plastic water bottles – you can call ahead to inquire. That being said, I’ve had a lot of luck filling my water bottle at the hotel gym, which typically has a water cooler where you can fill up.
Use your digital boarding pass
To save paper and avoid the toxic, dangerous BPA (bisphenol A) on most printed boarding passes, use your airline’s app to get a digital boarding pass on your phone that can be scanned when you need it.
Offset your carbon
Traveling by car and especially by plane spews an inordinate amount of carbon into the atmosphere – the very thing causing global warming. To reduce your carbon footprint, commit to the following practices:
- Ride on public transportation rather than drive a car if you can
- If you have a garden space, plant perennials – preferably the kind that attract pollinators like butterflies, hummingbirds, and honey bees. Practice no-till gardening and grow a regenerative garden.
- Support Regenerative Organic farms in your area by going to the farmer’s market or by joining a CSA (community supported agriculture) membership.
- Reduce your consumption of animal products and eat a more plant-based diet.