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10 super simple ways to “green” your next holiday
Monday, February 4th, 2013

By Sudha Mathew

Green Travel – why is it important?

When I talk to friends about green travel, this is what I usually hear. “I want to but it’s too much effort” or “I want a relaxing luxury vacation, not some rustic eco friendly hotel” or “I want to but it works out to be more expensive”. I beg to differ. Green travel is not difficult and there are plenty of ways that you could be an eco friendly traveller. Here are 10 super simple ways to get you started on your way to become a green traveller.

Eco friendly hotel at Marari beach
Palm beach villa, Marari beach – an eco friendly villa

But why go green in the first place? With the greatly increased volume of travel to even the most remote places, we are in heightened danger of losing many of our natural wonders. Forget the next generation, we may not be able to see some of these in our lifetime. To mention just a few, the Great Barrier Reef and the Belize Reef are in danger of losing all their coral in a couple of decades, the Dead Sea has shrunk by a third, the Maldives islands are certainly going to sink leaving an entire nation homeless and many more disasters in the making. Nearer home, the magnificent Indian tiger is under threat of extinction and one of the biggest reasons is shrinking of natural habitat due to development around those areas. You can read more about these dangers here

Greening your travel is simply a matter of a little planning the next couple of times you travel and voila! then it becomes a habit. You could go on to incorporate eco-friendly measures in your everyday life too and save some money in the bargain.

 Green travel tip - unplug before you go away

1. Unplug before you go. Before you even start your vacation, there is a simple way to be environmentally conscious and save a few bucks. Pull out the plugs of all the electrical appliances that won’t be in use while you are gone like the television, microwave oven, kettle. A small amount of power gets used even when appliances are turned off but plugged in.

2. Always carry a re-usable water bottle. You can fill it with water from home, a cafe, your hotel or hostel. The advantages are that it saves you money and you have a sturdy bottle for travel rather than a flimsy plastic one. In places like Europe, you can fill water safely from public water fountains and the kitchen tap.

3. Carry a lightweight collapsible shopping bag that won’t take up much space in your backpack or purse. This way you can refuse the disposable shopping bags that come with souvenirs and other holiday shopping. Extra tip: trust your hunch and question any item that the store shows you secretly or any potion with “miraculous” powers. These may be on a list of items forbidden to be sold or made from endangered animals.

 Green travel tip - foldable shopping bag

4. Invest in a good quality travel adaptor that can be used in different regions of the globe instead of buying one in every new country and junking it at the end of the trip. Not only does it save you the pain of searching for one when you desperately need it to charge your phone or camera but it also rescues you from the frustration of grappling with a cheap quality adaptor that won’t work very well.

5. Do carry a bin bag on your road trip, hiking or camping holiday to bring back your litter and dispose it off at a garbage collection point. This is critical in the wilderness because even biodegradable food like fruits may be alien to that area and upset the fragile ecosystem of nature parks.

6. This is a no-brainer. Use public transport as much as you can to reduce pollution. The benefit is getting to know the city better than traveling alone in a car or by taxis.

7. Book your stay at eco friendly hotels. Unlike what many travelers think, they are not all rustic cottages or expensive hotels that flash green credentials to charge more. A little research on the Internet will fetch you a range of eco friendly accommodation to suit your budget. A great way to do this is to stay in homestays, farms or plantations. And don’t worry about the quality; some of them are akin to boutique hotels. Be sure to mention to your “green” hotel that you chose them over others because of the activities to minimize environmental impact. That will encourage them to continue with their efforts.

8. Don’t ask for daily change of towels and bed linen. And be responsible about the amount of water you use especially in water scarce areas.

 Green travel tip - unplug before you go away

9. Local is the way to go. Stay local, buy local and eat local. Make an effort to eat locally grown food to reduce carbon footprints. Restaurant wait staff are happy to help with recommendations if you ask nicely. After all, what’s a holiday if you are eating the same food that you eat at home? Buy regional handicrafts and support the local economy.

10. Avoid printing tickets if the e-ticket will suffice. If you have a smartphone, use Google Maps or a similar map application instead of buying and discarding papers maps after each trip.

Good luck, you have started on a wonderful journey of sustainable travel. I hope you will be an eco warrior at the end of it!

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Did you find these green travel tips useful? Would you like to share any tips with the community?

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This is the unedited version of the article originally published in The Alternative on 30 January 2013.

Cheers

Sudha


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Posted by Sudha at 1:29 pm
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Plan to travel to an Indian holiday destination?

We are here to help. At no extra cost.
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About me

The wise man travels to discover himself - JR Lowell

 

My name is Sudha Mathew. I'm an ex-banker who quit the rat race after a decade to follow my passion for travel and to combine it with my experience in understanding client requirements and exceeding their expectations.

 

While our content is mostly about the holiday experience, the accommodation and services, there's so much more to a journey. I have discovered a whole new me through travel. So I've reserved this corner of the website to share the unexpected aspects of travel. This space is also to hear from you about your journeys and discoveries. Bon Voyage!

 
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