10 Eco-friendly tips for traveling with a lighter footprint

It only took the mention of “Green Travel”, to oust me from my non-blogging slumber – eco-friendly tips for traveling are kinda my thing . The planet and it’s health, has been close to my heart long before it was cool to be green. First, let’s be completely honest. Travel isn’t good for the planet, unless you’re going to walk or swim to every country you visit, you will, in some way, warm the planet with carbon emissions.

Nothing like starting off on a positive note, right?

But don’t despair, there are SO MANY things you can do, to offset the carbon footprint you leave behind when you travel.

Literally, I could write all day about eco-friendly changes we can make at home, I mean I’m not a “Zero-Waste” person, but I sure do admire the ones that are. If you’re not doing huge steps for our planet, don’t beat yourself up for what you’re not doing, and give yourself a high five for the things that you ARE doing. Make small changes, do what you can, where you are, at whatever stage of life you’re in.

Here’s what I do when I travel to be as “Green” as possible… (Whenever I type the word green, either Ireland or Washington State pops in my head– ahhh the peacefulness of Green).

1. Choose an airline that puts their money into environmental change.

I fly British Airways often, not only do I find it’s a great airline, I like what they stand for.  BA have spend millions to get a bio-fuel developed that takes the local garbage of London and turns it into fuel for their airlines. They have had some hiccups. But I think they will get there, the important thing is, they are willing to continue even with previous failures. Virgin Airways has developed fuel that turns pollution into a product that can fly a plane– Think of the scientists that are working behind the scenes, talk about some brain power! I also found this article that got my heart all pitter patter, The most Eco-Efficient airlines!

Though I wish I could take credit for this lovely grassy airplane, it’s not mine and was borrowed from a google image.

2. Carry your own silverware.

I know, that’s crazy right? But seriously. Please repeat after me “Plastic silverware is not recyclable”, even the ones that claim to be compostable, you can’t throw them in your back garden compost, they only break down with industrial composts. There are super cute sets on Amazon like these and these. But seriously, why spend money? I just travel with a set I picked up from the Dollar Store and put them in a cute zipper bag I already have. (I also have my bamboo straw in there)

3. Carry your own straw.

This is kind of a given, unless you medically need a plastic straw, there is just no reason to continue using them. I have tried many straws… bamboo, glass & metal to name a few, and I have to say I don’t like the metal straws. I’m a straw biter, I don’t like the feel of the metal in my mouth and I can’t nibble it 👀😅. I do however LOVE the bamboo straws, they aren’t good for shakes, but for the every day travel, I love them. I keep several in my purse, that way the kids don’t have to worry about straws either! When traveling, don’t forget your little straw cleaner, you will need that. Also, depending on where you travel, you might need a Life Straw! My son is always kayaking, fishing and camping. He takes his life straw everywhere!

4. Carry your own Tea Bags

Another eco-friendly tip for traveling is carrying your own tea bags. There are a few different reasons I carry my own tea bags. The very biggest reason, is It pains me to see that many hotels, gas stations, airlines, restaurants and most fast food places sell individually wrapped tea in inordinately amounts of plastic.  Not only are tea bags wrapped in plastic but most tea bags themselves are plastic, or partly plastic. I carry PG-Tips, which I am excited to say, now uses a completely 100% biodegradable bag! (Also compostable).

5. Skip the purchased mini sized toiletries.

There is just no need to buy travel shampoo, conditioner, gel, lotion or creams. You have your favorites at home, you just need to put them in re-usable containers. You can buy them in just about any store, or you can use what you have at home. I have purchased some small travel bottles, but I have kept a few cute containers from jellies and little tins as well. If you do buy one time use toiletries or use ones provided by your hotel, make sure you recycle those containers!

6. You don’t need new clothes for every trip. And you don’t need a new bag.

This is a BIG one. I see luxury blogs and posts on Instagram that are constantly encouraging consumerism, which is a MAJOR contributor to global warming. We all love the perfect photo on holiday, but those posing for the perfect photo with the perfect outfit– usually in brand new clothes, leads to Fast Fashion. I could go on and on and on about the slave labor, the children and people in poverty making our clothes. I could also go on about the HUGE amounts of water used to make clothing, and I could definitely waffle on about the amount of clothing already in our landfills. But instead, I’ll encourage you by putting this right here.

7. Buy small. Buy local.

When I’m on holiday, I love buying local goods. I’m not a big knick-knack person but I do buy things like chocolates, crazy crisp flavors and seasonings. But just like at home, I really enjoy buying from small business when I travel and checking out the local markets are always fun.

8. Try to avoid fast food. 

I know what you’re thinking, I’m just getting nuts now. But what I mean is, if you can buy food with less packaging, try to. One of my favorite places to grab a sandwich is Pret-A-Manager, and the plastic wrapped all over everything just pains me. The thing is, the company, is a good company. They give left over food to the homeless and The Pret website specifically states that they are trying to eliminate all single-use plastic. I don’t know about you, but that’s big for me. It can’t be easy feeding people, trying to remain earth friendly AND making sure packaging is safe for wrapping food for human consumption. If I can, I will eat off of a plate in a local place. But sometimes, I can’t. We have to do what we can, with the choices we are given.

9. Turn off lights.

If I can, I turn off lights when I leave a room, regardless of where I am. When I travel, I’m not paying the bill, but someone is. Furthermore, who knows if clean energy is being used? Will me leaving lights on really damage the environment? I seriously doubt it, but hundreds of thousands of people turning off their lights– All the difference.

10. Carry your own cup!

No explanation needed 🙂

Writing out a list is easy, following it isn’t always so. Changing years of behavior takes time and patience. I always say “pick your battles”, you can’t do it all. Do what you can. Make the changes that you can when you travel, and do the most when you get home. My biggest hurdle is still clothing. I tend to buy too much of it. It’s something I work on all the time, and I’m getting better and better. I used to have a closet full of purses and shoes, and now, I just buy one purse until it gets worn, and all of my shoes are sensible and bought knowing I can wear them for years.

I hope I have encouraged you to make small changes when you travel, and if you have any suggestions for me, I would love to hear them!