Traveling is one of the harshest activities we engage in against the environment. We take transportation that pollutes the air, we produce a lot of waste, and we’re typically less conscious of conserving resources. I’m not a tree hugger, and I don’t come down on people for not recycling, because I think it needs to be a personal conviction to be better stewards of this Earth and our resources. There are several ways to travel greener AND save money at the same time.
Here are 4 tips that I try to follow:
- Pack lighter. This is one of the most important green travel tips, and with all of the airlines trying to nickel and dime us nowadays, you can literally save hundreds of dollars simply by packing lighter. Many airlines charge $50 for every checked bag that’s over 50 pounds, and many charge for additional checked baggage. Packing lighter helps the environment, because it makes the airplane, car, train, or bus lighter, which allows it to use less fuel and run more efficiently. Choose pieces of clothing that can be mixed and matched to create dozens of different outfits. Also, take less shoes and bring eBooks with you instead of real books.
- Bring a stainless steel water bottle with you. Choose a sturdy, stainless steel bottle that’s BPA free. You’ll save a lot of money on buying water bottles and you’ll use less plastic while on your trip.
- Choose an economy-sized rental car. I would say choose a hybrid, but most rental car companies that offer them will charge a much higher rate than a compact or economy car. If space is not an issue for you, go with their smallest model, because the car will get great gas mileage, and it will be their cheapest rate. You’ll save money on gas, the rental rate, and you’ll be helping out the environment.
- Buy snacks for your trip from your local farmer’s market. You’re supporting your local economy, and you’ll spend less on your food budget if you have some great snacks like peanuts, dried fruit, beefy jerky, and popcorn.
- Unplug all of your appliances, close your blinds, and turn the water off. Preparing your house for no one to be in it for a little while can be a huge money saver. Your house will spend much less energy if everything is unplugged and the water is turned off.
I love knowing that what I’m doing is helping to preserve God’s beautiful creation, but one of the best auxiliary benefits of traveling greener is that it helps you save money at the same time. Some of you all are so creative, and I know you’ve got some sweet ideas for green travel that saves you money. Let’s hear them!
( photo credit: ingridz )