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Tips for an Eco-Friendly Holiday: Plan Your Travel the Green Way

At home, it’s easy to be green. Reuse water. Use solar energy. Cook meals and eat leftovers. At home, being eco-friendly is second nature. But when on vacation, it can be considerably harder to minimise the impact we have on the environment. However, with a little bit of planning, having a sustainable trip is possible.

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SELECT A GREEN AIRPORT AND AIRLINE
No one denies that flying uses a lot of natural resources. However, some airlines, such as Air France, go out of the way to incorporate fuel conservation, recycling and alternative fuels. Certain airports are also greener. The airport website will list everything they do to be eco-friendly, so compare airports in your area to see if one uses more conservation practices than another. For instance, some use wind turbines to conserve energy, while others have ground pump heaters and water recycling facilities.

WHAT TO DO WHILST ON HOLIDAY
Whether you’re on holiday in the beautiful region of Tenerife, or your taking your vacation on the other side of the world in Japan, you can make choices that will make the experience more eco-friendly. Instead of taking a bath, take a short shower to conserve water.

Avoid using plastic bottles, but use glasses or refill any plastic bottles that you do purchase. Additionally, indicate that you want to reuse your towels by hanging them up after you’re done instead of throwing them on the floor.

Talk to the hotel staff about reusing sheets for the duration of your stay, instead of having them changed every night.

Just like at home, make sure to turn off lights. When you’re not in the room, turn off the air conditioning or the heat, or at least turn it down, and switch off the television.

LIVE LIKE THE LOCALS
Use local transportation, like buses, subways and trains instead of using a car. This is much less expensive and can provide the opportunity to see something you’d be interested in visiting that you wouldn’t have known about, otherwise.

It also allows you to enjoy the view and take pictures or have conversations with family members. Since they’re already running, it’s not worsening the environment.

It can also reduce stress, since driving in an unfamiliar location can be a huge headache. If you’re not a fan of public transportation, walk or ride a bike.

Instead of popping into chain restaurants or buying factory-made tourist items, stop in local restaurants and buy locally-made souvenirs. Not only does this allow you to experience the local community in a more interesting way, but you’re also supporting local businesses.

This allows you to support restaurants that buy locally instead of eating foods that have been shipped in from elsewhere. Consider jewellery made by locals or scarves or hand-crafted leather. They may cost more, but they’re also better quality.

Having an eco-friendly vacation doesn’t have to be a hardship. Not only does it preserve the environment, but it can make for a more enjoyable experience as you live like the locals, providing the opportunity to interact with the people, the cuisine and the businesses in a new way.

James Richings is the author of this article.

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