People spend a lot of time planning their vacations. A lot goes into saving up money and time off of work, researching locations, modes of transportation, activities once you get there, staying within budget, and so on. But most of us don’t really plan around the impacts our trip will have on the environment and local economy.

Here are a bunch of ways (20, actually) that you can plan your next get-away with the planet in mind:

Food and drinks:

  1. Usa reusable water bottles.
  2. Use metal or reusable straws and cutlery.
  3. Use collapsible food containers for take-out leftovers.
  4. Consider trying alternatives to food packaging like reusable sandwich bags.
  5. Bring a collapsible cooler and ice packs for days at the beach or road trips.

Spread the word:

  1. Just say no to straws, and remember to do it before they bring the drinks.
  2. Just say no plastic bags at stores. Bring your own, or just hand-carry (the experience will help you remember your reusable bags the next time!)
  3. Just say no the free headphones on airplanes.
  4. Just say no to blankets wrapped in plastic on airplanes (bring a jacket).
  5. Where possible and appropriate, let places know that you wish they recycled or reused, etc. to help increase the demand for corporate environmental responsibility. Some areas simply don’t have the infrastructure for it, but other areas just need a little push.

Bodily care:

  1. Bring reusable/washable wipes.
  2. Use handkerchiefs instead of tissues.
  3. Use hats, tops, and umbrellas instead of sunscreen.
  4. If sunscreen is needed, use zinc-based creams without oxybenzone, octinoxate, or octocrylene.

Getting around:

  1. Use public transportation as much as possible such as trains and buses.
  2. Avoid chain fast food places and eat local instead.
  3. Stay at locally owned hotels or bed and breakfasts.
  4. Pack light. You rarely use everything you bring with you.
  5. Shop local and only buy what you will actually use or need (consume less).
  6. Purchase carbon offsets to offset the carbon footprint that your travels will make. Or consider donating to local charities where you visit.

Obviously, not all of these options will work for you all of the time, but keep them in mind for when they do! Use your best judgment and see how traveling green(er) feels.

If you have other tips or tricks for socially/environmentally conscience traveling, please let us know!!

Special thanks: This post was inspired by our friends over at the Travelling families for ethical travel, equity and social justice Facebook page.

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