Written by: Jennifer Rota
After studying abroad for a semester, I’ve learned how to travel more efficiently. Packing everything I needed for a five-day trip to Italy in one carry-on backpack forced me to be a much smarter traveler. Walking to the grocery store limited the number of things I could carry, which helped me to cut out the excess. Thankfully, overseas, traveling smartly and living environmentally-friendly go hand-in-hand. Not only can you travel more efficiently, but you can also positively impact the environment and have the opportunity to explore the local culture more fully. Whether you’re a study-abroad student or traveling for business or leisure, here are a few tips to help you stay green!
- Use a reusable water bottle. Over 75% of plastic water bottles in the United States end up in landfills and these bottles will not decompose for thousands of years. By using a reusable water bottle, you can limit your impact on the environment, as well as save money. Fill up your bottle as soon as you come across a water fountain and subsequently avoid those overpriced plastic water bottles.
- Save your travel-sized toiletry containers. Airports only allow a certain amount of liquid through security, so cut back on the waste and expenses by refilling travel-sized bottles. Furthermore, reusing the same bottles ensures that you’ll always be under the liquid limit.
- One thing I always carried with me around London was a notepad. From jotting down observations to keeping track of tasks at my job, having a notepad quickly became essential. TerraCycle offers unique note pads, like the Clif Bar Mini Note Pad, that are made from upcycled packaging. Not only would this notepad come in handy, but it also could be a great conversation starter with locals. Even the smallest observations, like how your favorite products aren’t available in other countries, can spark up the most interesting conversations.
- Take advantage of public transportation, especially if the place in which you’re traveling is known for it. Instead of spending money on expensive cabs, rely on subway and bus systems, as well as walking. Not only does this help you cut back on your carbon footprint, but it also provides the perfect landscape for interacting with locals.
- Instead of buying an “I love [Insert City Here]” keychain at the local tourist trap, incorporate things you already have into a unique abroad present for your loved ones at home. Wrappers from local snacks and candy bars can add a memorable twist to a DIY project.