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  • Writer's pictureKatie

How to Travel Sustainably

You may not realize it, but there's so many things you can do while traveling to be more mindful of the environment around you. After all, if we don't take care of our environment and the beautiful places we love to see, what will be left for us to explore?

Tip #1 - Choose better transportation

Choose public transit where available, and book a hotel on a public transit route. Rent a bicycle. If you need to rent a car, choose electric or fuel-efficient options.

Tip #2 - Fly on lower-emission flights

The most efficient flights you can book are economy class on nonstop flights. Choose airlines that prioritize fuel efficiency, have an updated fleet, and commit to waste reduction. For example, budget airline Frontier is the most fuel-efficient, partly because it fits more seats on its planes and partly because it reduces flying weight by limiting baggage. Delta Air Lines is replacing its fleet with newer, more fuel-efficient options, and they're switching to SAF (Sustainable Aviation Fuel).

Tip #3 - Stay at more sustainable hotels

Not all hotels are created equal- choose hotels that offer energy-efficient appliances, automatic temperature control, offer recycling or composting, or use renewable energy. For example, Hilton properties collects and sterilizes your leftover soap and recycles it into new bars for communities in need.

Tip #4 - Make smarter food choices

This isn't just about consuming more plant-based dishes (although that helps). You can also choose restaurants that use locally sourced ingredients, avoid buffets, and order only what you can eat (so you don't need a to-go container).

Tip #5 - Do LESS

Spending more time in one destination means you're not using high-emission transportation to jump from one city to the next - this is also less stressful and lets you really get to know the city you're in! You can also plan to take one longer vacation when possible instead of multiple shorter ones.

Tip #6 - Minimize electricity consumption

This is easy. Turn the lights off in your hotel room when you leave. Turn up the temperature a few degrees. Close the curtains during the day to keep the room from heating up (and keep the A/C cranking less) or at night to keep the heat in. Decline daily housekeeping services. And remember to turn off the lights, close the curtains, and adjust the temperature at home before you leave!

Tip #7 - Reduce single-use items

We all know we can't take water through security- but we can take empty bottles. Save some money and plastic by packing a reusable water bottle in your carry-on and filling it after you get through security. Bring your own toiletries in refillable containers. Travel with your own coffee mug and shopping bags. Choose higher-quality travel products that last. Buy practical, locally-produced souvenirs that won't end up in the trash later. For example, Delta Air Lines has replaced some of their cutlery with reusable or biodegradable materials, and they project they'll reduce their single-use plastic consumption on board by almost 5 million pounds per year.

Tip #8 - Recycle and compost where you can

Compositing is likely complex when traveling (unless your restaurant or accommodation is set up for that), but recycling can be easy. Just make sure you sort your trash before tossing it, like you do at home. Most hotels now offer in-room recycling or are on single-stream waste collection.

Tip #9 - Be mindful about your activities

Of course, walking and cycling tours offer the lowest environmental impact. But you can also try hiking, kayaking, or snorkeling/diving. Look for tour operators who use responsible modes of transportation or who have eliminated single-use plastics.

Tip #10 - Offset your carbon emissions

Tourism alone accounts for 8% of the world's carbon emissions. While flying is the largest source of these emissions, other activities such as hotel air conditioning or boat tours produce CO2 as well. Tourism also degrades ecosystems that act as carbon sinks. Purchasing carbon offsets allows you to compensate for those emissions while supporting impactful climate projects worldwide. Every journey booked by Better Kate Than Never Adventures has a carbon offset as my gift to you and the environment.

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