Sustainable Travel: Tips for the Journey
With spring in full swing, no doubt many folks are thinking about warm-weather travel plans. We love to get away to play and rejuvenate, and especially love enjoying the Oregon coast, hiking the state’s verdant forests and rafting the Rogue River. (Of course, Ashland, OR is a fabulous place to visit, too, and we’re happy to live in and around it!)
We’ve been thinking about how to make our own escapes more sustainable lately, since Travel Oregon granted us its Sustainable Tourism Leadership Award, recognizing our efforts to provide visitors with food and beverages that benefit people and planet. We try to practice Standing Stone’s sustainability ethics wherever we go, and are always looking for ways to do more. We think the best way to appreciate the places and people we encounter is to take steps to protect and enhance the environment, and support local communities.
We thought we’d share a few ideas we’ve incorporated in our own travels, inspired by some great resources we’ve found:
- Choose reusables. Carry a reusable water bottle to avoid waste and enjoy the local tap water. (If local water is not potable, take appropriate purification supplies.) Pack a durable bag for souvenirs, a cloth napkin or multi-purpose cloth handkerchief, and reusable utensils and a plate for food on the go.
- Pack your own personal care items. Travel-size toiletries and single-size hotel freebies result in a lot of waste. Refill small bottles and jars you already have with your favorite shampoo, toothpaste and other products, and pack soap in a small reused container (lid make a great soap dish).
- Visit natural, cultural and historical sites and enjoy environmentally responsible recreational opportunities to appreciate the environment where you are, and support efforts to protect and maintain it. Take in local arts and music for multi-sensory cultural immersion.
- Waste not. Find out what’s recyclable where you’re traveling, and try not to buy things that will generate non-recyclable waste. Recycle everything possible. (On airplanes, decline plastic cups and keep cans to recycle at the airport if the airline doesn’t recycle.) When booking lodging, looks for hostels or green hotels, which usually have recycling and even compost.
- Travel lightly. Opt for public transit, which is a great way to experience real local culture that saves gas and emissions, too. Rent a bike or take a bike tour to explore places at human speed using clean pedal power. If you’re taking a shorter road trip and have some extra room and flexibility, consider a ride share. When renting cars, choose fuel efficient, electric or hybrid options.
- Eat and buy local. Ask around for restaurants that use local food and stop by the farmers market to get a true taste of your destination and support hardworking producers. Bring home locally crafted souvenirs and gifts to share and remember your experience, and help artisans thrive.
How do you make your travels lighter on the planet and positive for the communities you visit? Post a comment to share your ideas. Happy trails!