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Natural Awakenings Westchester / Putnam / Dutchess New York

Eco-Friendly Travel Tips

Mar 29, 2024 09:31AM ● By Nanaz Khosrowshahi

By malp / AdobeStock

Eat locally. Food and beverages transported from farther distances add to increased carbon emissions and gas usage. Watch meat and seafood consumption. Plant-based options are becoming more and more available.

Support farmers markets, local craftsmen and artisans when purchasing souvenirs. Curb overspending on items that are unnecessary, exhaust more resources in producing and add more weight to luggage. 

Litter tends to accumulate in cars during lengthy road trips and at the beach. Pick up and toss trash in designated receptacles to protect animals and water.

Apply reef-safe sunscreen. Chemicals from sunscreen can damage coral when people stand or walk on them or during water activities like snorkeling, scuba diving and swimming. Do not stand on coral because they are fragile, can break and die.  

Elephant rides are a fun activity for humans, but a form of animal exploitation as they may be subject to abuse and neglect by the owners. Try visiting an elephant sanctuary, animal refuge or park as an alternative. 

Turn the lights, air conditioner and heater off to conserve energy and close the curtains while staying at a hotel. Hang up the “do not disturb” sign to pass on housekeeping from vacuuming and depleting paper towels to clean the room. Hang up towels to dry and reuse since towels do not need to be washed or replaced daily. Ditch the hairdryer.   

Return brochures and maps to save resources such as water and ink to produce extra copies.  
Bring reusable cutlery, reusable water bottles, tote bags and shampoo bars to decrease plastic waste.

Opt for e-tickets in lieu of printing boarding passes.

Pack lightly by bringing only what is needed.

Do direct flights. Flights with layovers deplete aircraft gas more than direct flights with takeoffs, landings and time spent flying.

Rent an electric or eco-friendly car. They cut gas usage and minimize noise pollution. Bike, walk or take public transportation like trains and buses.  

Check to see if the hotel or lodge has the LEED or Green Globe Certification. LEED evaluates the building’s indoor air quality and what measures are being taken to minimize water and energy waste. Green Globe checks the sustainability of the business and their supply chain partners.

Travel off-the-beaten path to limit overtourism. Overtourism means popular tourist destinations that suffer from intense traffic congestion, excessive noise, wildlife being scared off and degradation of historical sites. The local residents living in these heavily crowded hotspots start witnessing damage to natural resources and are often threatened by landlords placing skyrocketing rents to push them out of their homes. The vacated properties are turned into tourist accommodations as a lucrative business opportunity. 

Nanaz Khosrowshahi is a published freelance writer who likes to educate the public about how to help the environment.  She has written articles on creating eco-friendly school cafeterias, throwing vegan parties and recycling unique items like breast pumps, beauty products and jeans.  She lives in the New York suburbs with her husband and three children.