With summer here, people are traveling more. Vacations are wonderful for relaxing and recharging, as well as seeing new places near and far, but they are also a time when some people lose their heads environmentally. While some eco warriors will tell you to stay at home and to never, ever fly, Recycla will not, as that would make her a hypocrite. She is a big fan of travel, as seeing the country and the world at large is an amazing privilege to have and she has learned so much over the years.
Instead, Recycla has some EASY tips for you to keep your Eco Warrior status, whether you’re driving the family to the beach, cruising in a camper to national parks in the United States, taking a train to a lovely Canadian city, or flying off to more exotic locales.
When you pack…
- Don’t buy small travel sizes of your toiletries. Instead, buy reusable travel bottles and fill them with your shampoo, lotion, and whatnot. Recycla has been using the same travel bottles for 15 years and they’ll probably last forever.
- Instead of eating junk food while you’re on the road (or in the sky), plan ahead and pack good stuff. If you’re going by car, fill some reusable grocery bags and your cooler with fruit, cut veggies, nuts, sandwiches, cheese and crackers, etc. If you’re taking the train or flying to your destination, you can still put some snacks on your carry-on bag. And don’t buy food in single-serving packages! Instead, buy the larger packaging and put your snacks in reusable containers — they’ll come in handy for the rest of your vacation.
- And it goes without saying, don’t pack or buy disposable water bottles. Tote your reusable one and refill it as necessary. If you’re going through airport security, leave your bottle empty and then fill it at the food court or a water fountain afterward.
Before you leave home…
- Unplug most of your electronics so that you won’t use electricity you don’t need during your absence.
- Turn off your hot water heater, because you won’t need it either.
- If you have air conditioning, bump up the temperature a few degrees because there’s no reason to cool an empty house.
Once you arrive at your destination…
- Depending on where you are going, you might not need to rent a car. If you’re traveling to a large city, use public transportation or even your own two feet to get around. (Recycla’s family has done this and it’s a lot of fun to see a big city by bus.) If you do rent a car, don’t get the gas hog — go for the smaller more fuel-efficient vehicle.
- Are you staying in a hotel? If so, now is not the time to be wasteful. Don’t use the little soaps and shampoos just because they are there — this is why you packed your little reusable toiletry bottles. Many hotels now give guests the option of not having their linens and towels replaced daily — do it!
- You’ll need to eat while you’re on vacation. Stay away from fast food restaurants and other places that sell McCrap. Instead, find good local restaurants — bonus points if they serve only local foods. For lunches and snacks, visit the market and stock up on your day’s supplies — fresh fruits, flavorful local cheeses, melt-in-your mouth breads. Fill your water bottle and you’ll be set.
Most of these are ideas are free or cheap and they’ll save you money in the long run, in addition to saving resources.
Tell the Eco Women: Where are you going this summer and what kind of Eco Warrior will you be when you travel?