Sustainable Living While Traveling

Traveling can be fun, but also hectic when figuring out all of the logistics. It can be even more difficult if you are trying to plan sustainably. Here are some tips and tricks to help make vacation planning a little easier for the avid environmentalist.

Flying vs Driving

A plane produces a lot more carbon than a car does, even if you drive for a longer period of time. Try to pick vacation destinations that are within driving distance. Taking a road trip also allows for the opportunity to do more sightseeing along the way! If you chose to go on a road trip, bring friends along! Driving and road tripping are ecologically better if you travel with more than one person.

If you are going somewhere by yourself, try to opt for flying. If you decide to fly, try to book nonstop flights since the most carbon is released from a plane during take off and landing.

Travel to destinations that support sustainability.

Spring break is an economic boom for areas that are popular during travel seasons, like spring break. If you are trying to decide where you would like to travel, consider places where you would like to help the economy, because they put their money towards their environment.

Some sustainable destinations are:

  • Costa Rica has been consistently working towards protection and restoration of their natural beauties and ecosystems. They focus on land preservation, which is why 60% of the island is covered in forest, and 30% of these forests are nature reserves. Costa Rica has also planned to become carbon neutral by 2021, which would make it the first country to become carbon neutral.
  • The National Park Service has been actively working towards protecting and preserving the parks since Theodore Roosevelt started the National Park Service in 1905. The National Parks continue to strive towards conservation. Some examples of this would be Yellowstone National Park bringing back the wolves, Bird monitoring in Pinnacles National Park, and the reintroduction of wolves at Isle Royale National Park.
  • Switzerland is well known as a leader in sustainability due to their impressive recycling rate including 94% of old glass is getting recycled, along with 81% of all PET containers. Along with this, legislation in Switzerland has been actively making sure that 30% of the land of Switzerland is trees. They have been doing this for 125 years now!

When you travel to destinations, you benefit the economy in these areas. Take time to think about where you want to benefit the economy and choose areas that promote for sustainability and conservation when possible.

Packing for Travel

Don’t forget to pack these essentials for traveling sustainably!

  1. Reusable water bottles (especially great for tropical destinations).
  2. Reusable bags are handy for shopping trips while on vacation.
  3. Wooden utensil sets are a great alternative to plastic ware because they are biodegradable, reusable, and easy to throw into a purse, cooler, or backpack.
  4. Reusable containers can come in handy for snacks or leftovers throughout your trip. Mason jars are a convenient option and a great alternative to plastic bags. 
  5. A good pair of sunglasses and shoes to enjoy the outdoors as much as possible, wherever you go!

Have fun on your spring break trips, but also try to instill daily sustainable practices while on vacation, just as you would in your daily life.


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