Every winter I get bitten by the travel bug. Maybe it's the shorter days or the colder nights, but I'm usually so desperate by February I'm practically ready to get in a rowboat and row my way to the Bahamas. However, while rowboats are eco-friendly (go, go gadget manpower!), and unless you are in Central Park, they really aren't practical. Here are five easy tips - no rowing involved - to help you stay your earth-lovin' self while taking a trip, going on your honeymoon, or jetting off to your destination wedding.
One: Get yourself some good luggage! Sure, that rolling duffel bag from the big box chain store may be super affordable, but I promise the quality is not up to par (I'm speaking from experience here). It will get holes and you'll have to throw it away, only contributing to more waste. Instead, focus on luggage sets that will last and if you're the occasional traveler, something basic but of good quality will do just fine. The Heys EcoCase is made from 100% recycled plastic, while Planet Earth Luggage offers products made from environmentally friendly materials. Another option is to peruse sites like Craigslist and visit consignment stores around town for good quality used luggage.
Two: Travel sized bottles are usually necessary, but skip the cute, little, dare I say even overpriced, tiny containers of shampoo, conditioner, hairspray, and whatever other cosmetic you need. Just buy tiny bottles (like these from The Container Store) that you can re-fill with your own makeup and hair products. This eliminates unnecessary waste and will save you money too!
Three: Before you leave the house, save power and un-plug the appliances! Things like the toaster, microwave, coffee maker, and phone charger aren't going to be used while you are out of town (unless your cat decides to have a party and needs to make pizza rolls, in which case you have a whole other set of problems) so there is no need to keep them plugged in. Even when things like this are "off," they still draw power and use electricity.
Four: One of my must-haves for traveling are shoes that can easily slide on or off. This is not only important for the mandatory shoe removal required at airport security, but even when traveling by car, bus, or train, where you may need to slip your shoes on quickly at a rest stop, for a bathroom break, or when you have to make a mad dash into the gas station convenience store to satisfy your road trip induced chocolate bar craving. Fortunately, I have found that there is a pretty awesome selection of earth friendly shoes, great for traveling around town or across the world. Pictured above is the: Jambu Touring, Keen Sienna, J-41 Essence.
Five: When choosing a place to visit or hold your wedding, make your destination one that allows you to exercise your right to be environmentally friendly. Skip the cabs and rental cars and utilize public transportation in big, gorgeous cities like New York, Boston, Chicago, and San Francisco. Been there, done that? Try some of the most walkable cities, like Seattle, Philadelphia, Portland, or (not on the list, but in my opinion) Savannah, GA! Eco-tourism options are wide and varied - find more info at The Nature Conservancy, National Geographic Travel, or The International Eco-Tourism Society.
(Walking picture credit)