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Five ways to live clean and stay green

Live a sustainable life on vacation

Guest article by Heather Barbour Wyatt from iDiveBlue

Traveling is a top activity for all types of people, but how can we protect our planet and travel at the same time? Here are 5 ways to live a sustainable lifestyle on vacation by living clean and staying green.

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Take Longer Trips

When you are planning your next big adventure, book a longer trip. Using that extra saved vacation time by extending your trip decreases your flying time, which decreases air pollution. Air travel has a high impact on the climate, so the less frequently you fly each year, the greener and environmentally clean you will be as a traveler.

According to the NY Times:

“As a general rule, the shorter the distance from home you travel, the lower your carbon footprint. But if you want to go farther, some destinations are more sustainable than others.”

One option when looking to live a sustainable lifestyle on vacation is to stay closer to home. Booking a staycation in your home state or a few states overtakes flying out of the equation. Carpooling with friends and family for a nearby staycation will cut down on pollution, so try and ride together, the environment will thank you later.

If you are set on flying to a warm tropical paradise, book a flight in economy instead of the first class cabin. Also, look for nonstop routes instead of making multiple connections. First class seats take up more space and require the use of more fuel. Some airlines like are invested in being environmentally-friendly, so picking one of these airlines can help you live a sustainable lifestyle on vacation. They promote cabin recycling programs and the environmental health of their destinations.

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Eat Clean, Eat Local

Eating foods that are locally grown is a sustainable way to live, whether you are on vacation or in day to day life. Eating locally sourced foods helps reduce air pollution and supports the local economy. It is much better to look for foods that are locally grown and harvested instead of those that have to been flown into your destination on large ships or planes, which both use fossil fuels.

Supporting local farmers and local businesses by eating local vegetables, fruits, and other foods also boosts the local economy. Eating clean and eating local is not only sustainable but gives you a chance to try local cuisines that you may not have experienced before. If you ever visit Fiji, you can eat locally caught fish and meals using local produce while floating on candlelit vessels at sea.

If you like to cook, try visiting local markets (with a reusable grocery bag, of course) and pick your own local ingredients. If you are staying in a villa, condo, or any place with a kitchen, you will have a blast giving your own spin on the local ingredients, all while being more environmentally friendly.

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Stay Green & Unplug

During the planning phase of your trip, research environmentally friendly hotels, or eco-resorts. US News talks about what makes an eco-friendly resort or hotel. They said:

“As consumers contemplate the negative effects travel has on the environment, greener alternatives are steadily growing in popularity. This is especially evident in the hospitality industry, where ecolodges, or accommodations designed to have a minimal impact on their natural surroundings, are popping up across the world. Many ecolodges employ local workers, provide environmental education programs and give back to their local communities.”

And, when you leave your room for a beach adventure or a snorkeling trip be sure to turn off and unplug your electronics. If your room is equipped with air conditioning, turn it off or down to save energy while you are away. Did you know that the average phone charger consumes 2.24 watts of energy even when your fully charged device is connected?

Taking these steps will definitely help you to live a more sustainable lifestyle on vacation.

Walk, Bike or Bus

Instead of hiring a car or taking a taxi during your next adventure, consider taking public transportation. Or if the destination is pedestrian or bicycle-friendly, this is a great way to explore and cut down on gas at the same time.

Public transportation takes you off the beaten path most of the time so you will also get to see more of what the locals see on a daily basis. You may even meet a local that can give you the inside track on the best places to visit, the best places to eat, and any secret spots that most tourists don’t usually get to see.

Walking or biking keeps you active during your travels too. If you like to exercise while on vacation this is a win-win.

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Lighten your Load & Bring Reusables

Instead of carrying heavy bags with too much stuff with you on a vacation, packing lighter luggage requires less fuel during transport, and is better for your back. In many cases you only wear half of what you pack anyway! A pro tip: plan your daily outfits in advance to keep down the number of clothes you have in your bag. Also, look for laundry services at your destination if you need to wash and reuse your clothes.

Another tip: carry reusable items like water bottles and toiletry containers to save on waste. Other examples of reusable items are canvas grocery bags, a towel that doubles as a sarong, or environmentally-friendly food containers. Skipping plastic straws and bringing alternative likes steel, glass, or silicone straws is also a better choice for the environment.

Remove the packaging from your toiletries before you pack your bags. This will keep the weight of your luggage low and also keep you from having to throw these items away when you reach your destination.

About the author

Heather is a product expert, a degreed communications and business professional, and an adventurous, entrepreneurial travel writing enthusiast originally from Raleigh, North Carolina. Heather is a PADI-certified Master Scuba Diver Trainer (MSDT) and holds a Silver Advanced Open Water Instructor certification from SSI, having logged more than 300 training classes over the last four years.