Seven Tips for the Eco-friendly Traveler

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Traveling gives you the chance to see new places and experience different cultures. But unfortunately, it can also take its toll on the environment. On your next trip, learn how to contribute to a greener Earth with these helpful tips. 

1. Knowing Where To Go Matters Most

Choose your destination well before you even make concrete plans. Different forms of transportation contribute to carbon emissions, which have a massive impact on climate change. Select a destination that is closer to home. Explore options like train, bus or car as your mode of transport. But if you really must go to a different time zone, opt for direct flights from an airline company that operates fuel-efficient aircraft. 

2. Bad news for excess baggage

Did you know that vehicles require greater amounts of fuel to carry heavy loads? Bring only the essentials and enough clothes for your trip. Packing light also enables travelers to get around on foot, without having to hail a taxi to haul heavy suitcases. This means more chance for you to burn calories and more TLC for the depleting ozone layer. 

3. Reuse to reduce

While you’re packing, don’t forget to bring your own water bottle that you can refill and take with you everywhere you go. Reusable shopping bags can also be handy for those trips to the convenience store or souvenir shops. Doing so will help reduce waste during your travel.

4. Try the local transport systems

In most Asian countries, travelers are likely to come across unique public transport systems, such as jeepneys, rickshaws and motorbikes. Why not soak up more of the culture by sharing a ride with the locals? Start a conversation with the family beside you on the bus, or ask for directions from the friendly jeepney driver. Aside from saving energy, taking the local transport is the cheapest way to move from one point to another. 

5. Eat at local restaurants

Shun that familiar fast-food chain for your meals or snacks. By supporting local restaurants, one can indulge in an authentic culinary experience and sustain the growth of local businesses. Do a bit of research on where to find restaurants that source their ingredients locally. These establishments help support the livelihood of those who work in farms, fishing villages, vineyards or microbreweries in the area. 

6. Be an eco-friendly guest

Make your stay more fulfilling by remembering a few basic rules as a hotel guest. Turn off lights, faucets or air-conditioning when you’re not using it. Short showers should suffice to help you wind down after a busy day. And don’t ask for new towels or bed sheets every day to reduce water wastage. 

7. Shop wisely for souvenirs

When we travel, we want to bring home a keepsake that will remind us of the place. Forget the ubiquitous souvenir t-shirt and plastic key chain! Visit handicraft stores and see artisans at work. Buy locally made products from the farmer’s market, craft fairs and antique shops. Be careful though. The World Wildlife Fund (WWF) reminds us not to purchase products made with parts from endangered species. It’s illegal and downright cruel as well.