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They say that charity begins at home, and so does sustainability.
Every household or neighborhood that embraces sustainable energy is bound to prosper both financially and environmentally.
There’s a myriad of ‘green travel’ alternatives that will not only ensure the planet’s safety, but your wallet’s as well.
From recycling to packing your own healthy treats, here are simple ways to travel green that could save your money big time.
1. Leave Your Home as Green as Possible
Before you set the ball rolling on your journey, it’s wise to leave your home as eco-proof as you can. Regardless of whether you’ll be gone for a day or a month, it’s a worthwhile move to keep wastage to a minimum.
You wouldn’t want to come back to a handful of bills at your doorstep as soon as you get back from your business trip or leisurely excursion, would you?
If you’re leaving your loved ones at home, you’ll never know how they’re using the available resources.
On that note, here are a few tips you should do before leaving your humble aboard:
Control Your Heat or AC
This can be achieved by installing a small but handy device known as a programmable thermostat. This gadget allows you to gain control over your heat/AC while you’re away. Doing so will extensively reduce pollution as well as save you money you would otherwise spend on utility bills.
Limit Water Wastage
In most households, water is used and polluted faster than it can be replenished. Standout by sticking to the following water conservation strategies to make sure you don’t end up footing a hefty water bill:
- Recycle and purify waste water.
- Hand-wash your dishes rather than use water-consuming dishwashers.
- Purchase a less expensive, water-efficient dishwasher.
- Switch out your regular showerhead for a low-flow type
- Save up to $80 per year by installing a low-flow faucet aerator.
Use LED Lights In Place Of Light Bulbs
Investing in LEDs has the potential to save energy as well as hundreds if not thousands of dollars. What’s more, LEDs have the potential to last as long as 10 years. Energy efficient lighting has always been known to be the number one way to lower utility bills faster.
Unplugging electronics, switching off all running appliances, and using eco-friendly cleaning products are a couple of additional ways you can switch to a greener lifestyle before your trip.
2. Counterbalance Your Carbon Footprint by Greening Your Transportation
You may be aware of the fact that transportation is among the prime causes of global warming, climate change and air pollution. If you know that, you know that driving a car isn’t really a good idea as far as the environment is concerned.
Most people feel a surmounting pressure to drive less than usual. They’re right to feel that way, considering they spend more on fuel and pollute the environment in the process.
If you’re among the driving class, there’s no reason to beat yourself up about it. There are so many greener transportation alternatives.
One of them is ditching the car and getting on board the train. Though they take time, trains tend to be highly efficient.
Most transit riders have cars, but they generally prefer to save more than $10,000 a year on regular travels. Automobiles, planes, and trains emit carbon – that we know.
You can’t really get around it but you can play your part in reducing it. Another cheaper, healthier and eco-friendly means of getting around is cycling.
Regular commuters who cycle rather than drive or ride transit save even more on fuel costs. Cycling regularly is good for the environment as it is to your health.
If you do it regularly, you can attest to the fact that it’s a lot of fun. In fact, it’s one of the most engaging recreational activities. Cycling through the busy streets can be a particularly interesting experience.
When flying, avoid connecting flights. Instead, take the nonstop routes as most fuel use takes place especially during landing and takeoff.
Though carbon offsets are not as perfect as you want them to be, they’re a sure way to mitigate the critical impact of travel on the environment.
3. Opt for Environmentally-Friendly Destinations
In most cases, most destinations that embrace sustainability and preservation are often the most affordable to visit.
Environmentally aware travelers will find locations such as the U.S. Virgin Islands (Maho Bay on St. John), Belize, New Zealand, South Africa, Costa Rica, Finland, The Azores Islands and Alaska to offer more in terms of eco-friendly enjoyment.
When touring eco-friendly locations, you’ll naturally need to adapt with eco-friendly habits. Here are a couple of practical green travel habits that you may need to adopt while on your trip:
Leave The Plastic Bags at Home
Plastic bags take a long while before they fully biodegrade. It’s, therefore, recommended for you to carry or purchase a re-useable shopping bag. You may need it when replenishing your items at the store or when going grocery shopping.
Pack What You Need
No need to over-stuff your suitcase/travel bag. When taking a flight, every kilo counts. The more the plane you travel in weighs, the higher the carbon emission it’s bound to produce. Pack only the essentials and the environment will forever be grateful to you.
Travel Via Public Means
Doing so will not eradicate the level of carbon emissions but it will reduce it by a huge percentage. Private transport only contributes to air pollution. Public transport will also serve as a bonus to your travel experience considering you’ll have a chance to interact with locals.
Enjoy a Low-Carbon Drink
A locally-brewed beer not only gives you the satisfaction of a top-notch ale but it also helps you cut down on beer mileage. The same applies to local produce as well.
An alternative to international travel would probably to opt for local eco-friendly destinations. You can decide to purposely vacation closer to your area of residence.
4. Ditch the Bottled Water
A common mistake among travelers is buying commercially-packaged drinks before or during their green travel.
Quick fact: bottled water has the potential to cost as much as 10,000 times more for every gallon than tap water.
Just so you know, your constant failure to turn on the faucet is costing you a lot of money – not to mention your contribution to plastic waste.
Contrary to most peoples’ belief, clean tap water is not really difficult to find. As a matter of fact, it’s really easier to find than you ever thought – the more reason to carry along a refillable bottle.
Carrying a container of your choice will help you avoid the in-flight plastic cups.
When you fly with a budget airline, you can save a lot on heftily priced bottled water by ensuring you have your own constant supply of water.
If there’s an airport with water dispensers near you, don’t hesitate to book a ticket from there. Most airports – especially in Asia – have water dispensers in boarding areas.
Facilities like these will keep you thoroughly hydrated at no expense at all.
As if that’s not enough, most diving centers and accommodations all over the world offer free refills to those with refillable bottles.
This should not be mistaken for the complimentary bottled water offered by most hotels. After all is said and done, how can you ensure that the water offered to you is entirely safe?
Simple: purchase a gadget that will help treat tap water. SteriPen, for example, will sterilize water with the help of the sun’s Ultra Violet rays.
Ensure you stir the water completely to fully sterilize it. A metal canteen or wide-mouthed water bottle would probably be the best alternative to use as a refillable water bottle.
5. Book a Stay Exclusively at a Green Hotel
With most hotels masquerading as eco-friendly tourist inn, it’s good to keep in mind that different people have different perceptions of ‘green’.
Vacationists seek out third-party certifications including LEED building certification, Green Globe, Green Key, ISO 14001, etc.
The only problem with all of these is that they don’t really guarantee a green experience. Just because it recycles its waste it doesn’t automatically make it green.
You can tell if they’re truly green by how they go about the recycling process. It’s also a fact that most of them are easy on the pocket, but that shouldn’t be a determinant either.
Focus on essential stuff such as the kinds of products they use to maintain the overall hygiene of the rooms.
You wouldn’t want to stay at a hotel room that’s oozing of toxic chemicals from the rugged carpet to the bathroom floor. Who in their right mind would want to be surrounded by chemicals and end up paying for it?
Cleaners that are Green Seal certified have no chance of harming you in any way. Additionally, they’re also biodegradable and unlikely to pose a risk to your health.
Sometimes it’s good to look past the environmental aspect and focus on the impact certain products have on your health.
If you’re not really sure how to determine whether a hotel is green or not, it wouldn’t hurt to simply ask the management.
When they answer your question in the affirmative, challenge them to explain the role they play in ensuring their client’s safety and the environment as a whole.
If they’re unable to explain in in-depth detail, chances are they’re not really the hotel you should be booking. Don’t fall prey to their affordable prices – your decision may come back to haunt you sooner than you know.
6. Invest Your Earnings on Eco-Clothing or Shop Second-Hand
When saving money for travel, shopping for clothes may come across as the easiest thing to leave out. However, you may need to buy a few shirts or blouses in-between your travel. That’s where you need to buy second-hand garments.
Quick fact: Fast fashion is among the leading pollutants the world over. Declining to purchase the latest trends is a sure way to reduce your carbon footprint.
As the clothes are not really what you’d call ‘designer material’, you also get to save a lot from buying a bulk of them all at once.
Most of these clothes are made from gallons and gallons of water, CO2 emissions and loads of other valuable resources.
If shopping second-hand isn’t really your cup of tea, consider investing in high-quality clothing from ethical and eco-friendly brands.
7. Prepare Your Own Healthy Treats
Most times, the burden of traveling regularly may make you forget to pack something for the road. You may have carried everything you need and stash away some extra cash for expensive airport food or snacks from the store.
When you decide to make your own snacks, that money can easily stay safe in your pocket or be used for a more worthwhile cause.
Some of the healthiest and most preferred traveling snacks are those that you don’t really need to fuss about when making them.
Fortunately, you don’t have to give all your energy and time into it. All you need is a great deal of strategic planning and little culinary skills.
When coming up with a list of snacks to make, think of preparing those that won’t do anything that will automatically make them super messy or inedible.
If you’re bent on spending less to nil at the airport restaurant, here are a few healthy alternatives you can make 24hrs prior to your travel.
Making all of these will be enjoyable especially if you’ve made the necessary preparations and you have some spare time on your hands:
- Creamy yogurt – The probiotics and active cultures in this tasty treat are great for your digestive system.
- Popcorn – Popping plain and organic popcorn in advance has its fair share of perks. You stand to save a lot on airport cafes while doing your body a lot of good.
- Trail mix – This particular type of snack contains fiber, protein and healthy fat. Customizing this treat makes it even better.
- Banana and string cheese – Bananas are generally a splendid no-fuss alternative when it comes to dishing fruit on-the-go.
If you opt to carry fruits rather than go through the planning process, think of oranges and apples. Fruits like these – unlike bananas or pears – can stay fresher for longer.
Also, they won’t end up leaving a huge mess on your valuables. Aside from being fairly affordable, fruits are the most ideal way to keep yourself hydrated.
8. Do Some Sustainable and Eco-Friendly Planning
A number of travelers share the same twisted notion that there’s a lot of hard work that comes along with sustainability.
In some cases, however, you will need to make a couple of major changes in your daily itineraries. Aside from that, there are generally minor steps you need to take when curbing the impact.
Traveling in a sustainable or environmentally-friendly manner is relatively easy to achieve with the right planning and proper budget. The most expensive part about traveling is the accommodations and flights.
Keeping that in mind, there are loads of green travel apps that can be of great use to you when planning for your next travel.
Each of these has the potential to save you a lot of cash in expensive planning. The following are some of the best smartphone apps to help kick-start your eco-conscious travel experience:
The moment you become fully aware of harmful emissions and their impact on the environment, you’ll see the need to make a change by downloading the Spinlister app.
It basically serves as the AirBnB for bicycles by searching for bike rentals from ‘peers’ in over 22 countries.
This app gives its users comprehensive overviews of carbon emissions for various categories of transport. From there, you’ll be provided with the best eco-friendly alternatives.
By using this app, you’ll contribute a great deal in reducing the critical level of carbon in our surroundings.
The Green Globe app is a product of a leading eco-friendly travel venue certifier of the same name. This particular app is fully dedicated to greening your travel by letting you search for hotels, attractions, cruises and loads of other eco-options.
From there, you can book directly at all participating attractions and hotels.
Local dining has always been a delight to most travelers. The Locavore basically seeks to mitigate carbon emissions and promote local producers by helping you locate both in-season and local produce regardless of your location.
If you wish to do some on-road cooking, this app also offers wonderful recipes that you can share on Facebook. It’s available for download on both iOS and Android platforms.
To leave your carbon print on the planet while traveling green, you don’t need to make some reservations at South Africa’s Bushmans Kloof Wilderness Reserve.
Sustainable tourism goes a long way in maintaining the cultural and natural ecosystem while simultaneously interacting with it.
9. Be Conscious in Your Travel Shopping Escapades
When traveling to a foreign or local place, it pays a lot to bring a piece of your adventures home in the form of souvenirs. They serve as meaningful reminders of our travels.
However fun, affordable or easy to pack they may be, knowing where your purchase is sourced from is equally important.
It makes no sense buying a trinket in a French market that was originally manufactured in a Chinese factory. Of course, there may be items you need to buy that can’t really trace its place of origin.
That’s why you should do thorough research in advance for locally owned and operated shops. At the place you plan on staying, inquire if they have suggestions for shops stocked with eco-friendly, fair trade products.
Why should you do this? Most of these items cost exceedingly more up front. Draft a comprehensive budget and stick to it. Putting money into a place’s economy can go a long way in sustaining the country’s tourism sector.
When shopping, it’s also important to use certain money-saving apps and look into the products you purchase. What ingredients have been used?
Are they earth-friendly or biodegradable? Products with labels such as B Corp, USDA Organic or the cruelty-free leaping bunny are great places to start from.
For packaged goods, cut down on wastage by ensuring the packaging is 100% recyclable – even better, compostable. If you need a head start in this particular department, find a retailer that can directly relate to your needs.
Most natural retailers have their own individual processes for sourcing the best eco-friendly products.
10. Save Travel Money by Using Bring-With-You Reusables
Adapting to a zero waste lifestyle definitely has its challenges, but it’s actually way simpler than you can ever imagine.
Aside from the fact that you’re saving the world by the waste you recycle, you can save a substantial amount of money. This is just one of the many ways you can save money as a young adult.
The best instance of saving travel money would be skipping single-use plastics such as coffee cups, takeaway containers, plastic water bottles, plastic cutlery, plastic straws, plastic bags, etc.
Depending on your municipality, some of these single-use plastics have recently been taxed following a public outcry.
Typical single-use plastic taxes are the five cents charge for plastic bags. Nowadays, most restaurants even charge you for takeaway containers at fifty cents to $2 per piece.
If you decide to bring along your own cup or container, you will be rewarded with a fifty cents discount by some fast food joints, cafes, and restaurants.
In terms of saving cash, this option is definitely a harder sell – aside from plastic water bottles, which are notably overpriced.
Either way, it’s the most straightforward swap when saving the environment. The following are some of the simple swaps to carry along when traveling green to keep your money intact:
- Water bottle
- Travel coffee mug
- Metal straw (at your own discretion)
- Reusable tote
- Travel cutlery
Traveling Green Has Never Been Easier
It’s a fact that our surrounding is in dire shape. We seem to be running short of greener alternatives while pollution and trash seem to have an upper hand in the struggle for mother earth’s valuable resources.
At times, the thought of adopting a greener lifestyle may not sound like a worthwhile option. From cooking to shopping to traveling, the green lifestyle is quickly gaining approval with generation z and Millennials alike.
Unfortunately, the financial part of it may not be as enticing as the profound impact it has on the environment.
What most people are unaware of is that you can actually save money by traveling green. As the environment faces its share of trouble, so does the economy.
In harsh times such as these, who wouldn’t want to save some extra cash?