Tips for Traveling Green

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Go Green TravelWell I’m off to Vancouver, British Columbia for 5 days. I’m really stoked for the trip, but concerned about my greenness. Traveling always makes things difficult because I get out of my routine. Plus, at airports and hotels, everything seems to be disposable.

Jet fuel aside, just getting through all my meals without generating piles of garbage is going to be tricky. The hardest thing is going to be maintaining my pledge to have a water bottle-free summer — the plane, airport, and conference I am attending will have water bottles at ever turn… I’m scared!

So what’s a guy to do? Well, here’s a few things I’m going to try:

  • Carry a Nalgene water bottle. This will reduce my chances of snapping up disposable plastic water bottles.
  • Collect recycling in my hotel room, and then dispose of it before I leave. This might get a little sticky, literally, but I’m going to try.
  • Bring my canvas bag with me for shopping. Buying things in a foreign land is no different than at the local mall — single-use bags should be avoided.
  • I’m going to travel with two of our cloth napkins — I mean, why not?
  • Using public transportation. I’ll be using whatever Vancouver has to offer since I won’t be renting a car.

Those are the things I’m focusing on, but there’s more I can do. This article gave me some additional ideas:

  • Reuse hotel towels and sheets like you do at home.
  • Don’t use the free hotel toiletries if you brought your own.
  • Turn of the hotel lights, AC, and TV when not in use.
  • Ask the hotel about recycling, particularly the free newspaper.
  • Purchase electronic tickets.
  • Use public transportation.
  • Fly on airlines that recycling waste (British Airways and Southwest Airlines are best)

And don’t forget to prepare your home to hibernate while you’re away. Adjust the temperature on your water heater and AC unit, turn off water inside and out, unplug appliances and electronic equipment, and stop your newspaper.

Upon my return to the Lowcountry, I’ll do a postmortem on my low-impact travel experience. Wish me luck!

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