Sustainable Summer Travel 2.0

We recently did a post about how to make your summer travels as green as a leprechaun. While we covered everything from good (and sustainable) food to how to control your waste footprint on vacation to giving you the greenest airlines out there, we did leave out some other crucial points. Not because we don’t care! Because we didn’t want to send you into sustainable lifestyle overload. But it’s all okay because we’re back to cover even more ways to green your summer vacation.

Summer is coming to a close but there’s still a bit of time to fit in an adventure before we close in on Autumn. And when you’re doing that, try to keep these tips in mind:

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Last time we covered how to drive and fly to your destination with as few environmental problems as possible. We didn’t, however, cover sustainable transit within your destination, even though it’s equally as important. We also didn’t cover a popular mode of travel: cruises. So without further adieu, let’s tackle em.

Getting Around If wherever you’re headed to has public transit that’s (at least relatively) organized and efficient, then that’s definitely the most environmentally friendly route to take (pun intended). A handful of modes of transportation getting a shitload of people to wherever they gotta go rather than a ton of cars taking individuals just has a smaller eco footprint. This could be trains, buses, bikes, shuttles, trolley’s...Google the options in your destination and you’ll be set.

BUT if wherever you’re going isn’t so great at public transit (read: my hometown), and you’re going the car route (whether it’s your own or rented), there’s a few things you can still do to decrease that eco footprint. According to Tennessee Vacation, these things include turning off your g-ride if looks like you’ll idle too long, avoid charging things in the card because it lowers fuel efficiency, and chill out on the speed and road rage because calm driving does actually improves gas mileage. You could also try a walking tour, which provides a new way to see your next vacation spot.

Cruises Like airplanes, the idea of having a sustainable cruise may sound a bit like a paradox. Some efforts are being made to improve the environmental impact of cruise lines though. The simplest way to having a green cruise is to pick a line that’s taking steps to taking it easy on the planet. So what are some good cruise lines to pick from? Carnival Cruise Line gets rid of quite a bit of its waste via recycling and incineration, and they also donate things like furniture, appliances, clothes, and more rather than sending them to a landfill or dropping them in the ocean. Carnival along with Costa Cruises, Crystal Cruises, and even more lines provide training for their employees for more environmentally sound practices. These are just a few examples, so check out Cruise Critic for a more comprehensive list.

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In our previous post we talked about green hotels, but maybe hostels are more your style. They’re definitely the cheapest option, which is great when you’re young and broke. Eco-lodges are also an up and coming option, but what the hell are they?

Eco-Lodges These probably aren’t for you if you’re intending on visiting a city, since they tend to be more remote. BUT! Since at ALDA we’re all about protecting the environment because we enjoy being in it, we’d recommend mixing up your next trip and aiming for a place where you can stay at an eco-lodge. But come on, doesn’t spending a vacay near a peaceful beach or in a dope jungle or mountain range sound kinda awesome?

What is it about them that makes them “eco” though? Cause it’s not just because they’re in more natural areas. It’s also because they’re meant to have only a light effect on the planet - which is saying something considering your typical hotel is a natural resource guzzler. So how do you find one to stay at? Some well known lodges around the world are Phinda Forest Lodge in South Africa, Nimmo Bay Wilderness Resortin Canada, and Rosalie Bay Resort in Dominica. For domestic lodges, El Monte Sagrado Taos in New Mexico, Birch Pond Lodge in Alaska, and Zion Lodgein Utah top the list.

Hostels Okay, now for the star of the show I mentioned right off the bat (no offense eco-lodges). Have you heard the word ‘hostel’ before but didn’t quite know what it was? Basically they’re super cheap, typically shared rooms. They’re a pretty dope way to meet like-minded people on your travels, and as mentioned it’s a nice way to save some dough.

Like eco-lodges (and everything else whenever travel is involved), your options obviously vary depending on where you’re going. Looking for international options? St. Christopher’s at Mosaic House in Prague has a buttload of recycling facilities and is also powered by solar energy. The High Street Hostel in Edinburgh has invested in over 800,000 square feet of woodlands to offset its CO2 emissions, and also uses renewable energy and has recycling in place.

But what about domestic choices? The HI-Point Reyesin Point Reyes National Seashore, California has a LEED rating for energy and water conservation, as well as reducing waste and using sustainable building materials. The Hedonisia in Hawaii has recycling aplenty, all while being powered by geothermal energy. It also has some uhhh...very uniquely (weird AF) eco-friendly restroom options, like a ‘Pee Garden’ to eliminate the need for toilet paper. Yes, you read that right…’Pee Garden’ my friends.

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Last time we talked about both food and waste, but not food waste. We’ve talked about food waste before on both the blog and the podcast, but not when traveling.

Pack Ahead If you’re hopping countries this may not be so convenient, but if you’re taking part in domestic travel then going on a shopping trip beforehand can help you cut down on food waste because you don’t have to worry about being served huge portions whose leftovers you’ll forget. It’s especially good if you make some sort of meal plan ahead of time so you don’t have to worry about cooking too much. As far as what to buy, getting snacks that don’t spoil easily is good, and so is cutting back on meat since it tends to be sensitive to going back quickly. As a side note, packing your own food is also a great way to cut down on that (probably freakishly large) vacation bill!

Let Your Accommodation Do It For You Picking a place to stay that gets rid of food waste in a more sustainable way is of course a great option. EcoCamp Patagonia in Chile sends its organic waste to a local pig farm, so it’s not TOO bad if you leave a bit on your plate. Not planning on going to Chile? There are also some cruise lines that are tackling their food waste problem, like Royal Caribbean. Some hotels are hopping on the bandwagon too, like Hilton, Hyatt, and Marriott International. Not to say we shouldn’t pay attention to our food waste as individuals, but isn’t it kinda nice to know that wherever you’re staying doesn’t just dump their food waste in a landfill?

As a side note, it’s not too bad an idea to choose an eco-friendly destination and invest your vacation time into (at least some) sustainable activities. Check out Green Global Travel for loads of tips and tricks so you can #protectyourwild on your next vacation.

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By Darian Williams, ALDA's Blog and Digital Marketing Specialist Intern 

Colin Campbell