Saving resources can be a lifestyle at home and abroad. And for those who are just getting started, here are some environmentally friendly things to think about when you travel. In collaboration with staffers from World Wildlife Fund, members and editors of global travel website VirtualTourist have put together a list of the 10 Travel Tips that are Good for the Environment.
Bring your own water bottle
Photo courtesy of VirtualTourist.com
Plastic bottles are one of the biggest pollution problems in natural spaces I have visited. Bring your own water bottle with you when you travel.
Wild animals should stay in the wild
Photo courtesy of VirtualTourist.com
Don't encourage local people to keep wild animals as pets by paying to have your picture taken with them. This may actually provide incentive for them to hunt endangered species in order to obtain pets to display for tourists.
Be Fuel Efficient
Choosing a fuel efficient aircraft such as the Boeing 777 or Airbus 345 is one of the ways to reduce your carbon footprint on your next trip. Soon, the Boeing 787 aircraft will be the best option, since its fuel consumption will be 27 percent less than other similarly sized aircraft.
Use Safer Products
Chemicals in detergents and sunscreens can damage coral reefs - the very habitat that the WWF is working hard to protect. Use biodegradable soaps and reef-friendly sunscreen.
Eat local. Find a farmer's market or street stall and eat what the locals eat. You'll get to know the culture, and more than likely the food will be locally grown and sourced. You also support local communities and their needs - in this case, paying the vendor directly instead of paying up a chain of command.
Interacting with Animals in the Wild
When you encounter animals in the wild, blend into their world. Don't feed them, don't taunt them, and most importantly don't try to take them home with you. If you come across people selling wildlife or wildlife products, be aware that those "souvenirs" could very well be endangered species that have been poached from the wild and are being sold illegally.
Don't Trash In Your Room
Don't use the trash can in your room, which is usually lined with a plastic bag. Each time housekeeping comes in to clean, they will change out the bag. Instead, try and use the trash bins in the hotel lobby.
Wash linens less while on the road
Ask when you check in that your sheets and towels are not changed every day, but every three days (or longer if you can manage). Often, housekeeping will swap out your towels even if you follow the towel on the "floor means exchange" rule. This way, the receptionist will make a note of it. Don't worry, you'll still get maid service.
Keep your room cool only while you're there
Don't forget to turn off the lights and air conditioner/heater when you are not in your room. Yes, it's nice to come back to a cool or heated room depending on where you are, but wasting energy not only costs the hotel more money (and if everyone's doing it, then rates will go up), it leads to the burning of more coal and other fossil fuels that contribute to global climate change.
Car Rental Rules
If you need to rent a car for your whole trip or even part of it, choose the smallest vehicle possible or rent a hybrid. Larger cars are gas guzzlers, so you'll save on money, gas and help the environment.
Whether you're on a hike, safari or visiting a local village, being green can be easy at home and away. We hope these tips will help you keep the environment in mind at all times. For more information on green tips visit WWF, for more travel tips visit VirtualTourist (www.virtualtourist.com).