Being Green While Traveling

Hi Guys! I’m writing to you from the road this week. I had to make a trip to take care of some family things, and decided to extend my visit and turn it into a road trip vacation. So where am I? Well right now I’m right outside of Atlanta, GA but I started this adventure of mine in Florida. I flew down to Florida on Saturday, and since then I’ve been working my way back up the east coast (by car).

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So far the trip has been really great! We spent some time wandering around Savannah, then drove over to Atlanta and spend the day here yesterday. We were able to cover a LOT of territory in Atlanta yesterday, visiting the World of Coca-Cola, the Atlanta Botanical Gardens and Piedmont Park, and the Georgia Aquarium. I have also been SO happy to see so many examples of sustainable living as well. In Savannah, the parking garage we used had spaces specifically reserved for electric vehicles and provided charging stations. In Atlanta, several locations are LEED certified buildings, had have placards up about sustainable buildings, water use, and resource conservation.

Since I’m on the move at the moment, I thought this would be the perfect time to share with you guys some of my favorite tips for being green while traveling. I love to travel, but it can be hard to maintain a sustainable lifestyle on the go. Over the years, I have adopted a lot of different tricks for maintaining my “do what I can” lifestyle on the go. Below are some tricks that are hopefully easily adaptable into your travel style!

Bring a reusable water bottle with you

For me, this is just a good rule for everyday living. Staying hydrated is SO important, and having a reusable water bottle with you at all times means you’ll be good to go without having to buy a disposable bottle while you’re out and about. I love the Contigo stainless steal insulated bottle because it can be used for water, tea, hot chocolate, coffee – basically anything you could want! Beverages handled.

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Photo by Anastasia Zhenina on Unsplash

Pack healthy snacks!

Hanger is a real thing so plan ahead! If you’re going on a road trip, pack a cooler or insulated bag with some nutritious snacks, preferably with no packaging or reusable packaging so you cut back on your food waste along the way. If you’re flying, make sure you stick with things that don’t need to be refrigerated. If you’re going internationally, just do a quick check with the State Department to make sure you’re not bringing something banned by your destination country. Some of my favorites are:

  • Apples – either whole or cut up. My favorite it so slice up a honey crisp and then sprinkle some pumpkin pie spice on them – delish! Or if you prefer your slices plain, put a splash of lemon juice on them to keep them from browing.
  • Nut butter – to go with the apple slices, pretzels, or just by the spoonful if that’s how you roll.
  • Trail Mix – I like mixing in craisins, raisins, almonds (50% salted from Trader Joe’s are my favorite), cinnamon chips, and walnuts and/or cashews. Not too complicated, but has just the right amount of sweet and salty for my taste.
  • Late July Organic Mini Cheddar Cheese Sandwiches – I have these in my house ALL the time. They’re so good and are certified organic, free of dye and color additives, free of high fructose corn syrup, contain no artificial ingredients, and taste so good! I just have a hard time controlling myself around them. The box doesn’t last long. 😉
  • Simple Mills Smoky BBQ Cheddar Crackers – you guys – these might be THE best crackers ever. They’re completely delicious and are made from all natural (and pronounceable ingredients). Plus they’re also gluten free, kosher, non-gmo, cholesterol free, dairy free, soy free, and are made in the US by a woman-owned business. That’s a lot of goodness crammed into a little cracker!
  • Carrot sticks – I prefer to buy regular carrots and then peel and slice them myself rather than buy baby carrots, but either way works. Buy a big bag because these are pretty easy to snack on and go quickly.
  • Hummus – if you are able to keep food cool while you travel, this is also a great snack. Goes well with crackers, carrots, on a sandwich, and provides some protein.
  • Grapes – when you want something sweeter and refreshing, grapes are a perfect snack.

The key when you’re packing snacks is to make sure you have a variety of flavors and textures so you’ll be prepared when a craving strikes. Having some salty, some sweet, some crunchy, and some smooth snacks is a good plan of attack.

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Photo by Dogancan Ozturan on Unsplash

Eat Local

Keeping on the food trend, one of my favorite things about traveling is trying new restaurants. I love finding places that use locally sourced, in-season produce (and preferably sustainably farmed meat and fish as well). These places generally have such creative and scrumptious menus! This also ensures that although you’ve been traveling, your food has not.

Shop local

This is pretty much a good rule of thumb wherever you are, but by shopping local small businesses, you support the local economy of wherever you’re visiting. If you’re looking for a momento or gift while you’re traveling, stopping off at that little shop that sells handmade goods is a lot better than picking up a generic nicknack at a gift shop.

Chat with locals

While you’re eating local and shopping local, chat with the locals! The best thing about traveling is getting to meet new people and experience different cultures (even within your own country!). Getting to know more people means you learn more perspectives on life, broaden your understanding of the human condition, and become more empathetic. It opens your mind to how others live and view the world, so don’t shy away from random conversations with your Uber driver or barista. Nothing bad can come from being friendly.

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Photo by Anthony Ginsbrook on Unsplash

Re-evaluate your transportation

Generally when traveling, people stay closer to action which means more flexibility when it comes to how to get around. Think about walking or finding a bike share to get around while you’re away. Bike shares are cropping up all over the place, and walking is always an easy and free option! Plus, by slowing down you get to see more and explore the local landscape.

Other Ideas

Some other thoughts include participating in any green initiatives you come across (many hotels ask that you hang your towels in a certain place if you plan to reuse them), or looking into volunteering while traveling. If you plan to volunteer, look into the organization and how your work benefits the local community. I’ve read articles saying that in some cases, voluntourism can actually harm the local economy because it takes jobs away from locals. Be sure to do your due diligence if this is something you’re interested in to make sure you’re having the affect you’re hoping for.

It can be a little bit harder to maintain green habits while away, but being mindful of your footprint and trying to reduce your impact can go a long way. One thing I didn’t mention above is carbon offsets. There is some controversy around this point, and it’s important to do vet any company you’re buying offsets from to make sure they’re legitimate. If you’re interested in pursuing carbon offsets, you can check out the following articles:

https://www.nrdc.org/stories/should-you-buy-carbon-offsets

https://www.smithsonianmag.com/travel/if-you-travel-and-care-about-environment-you-should-buy-carbon-offsets-180952222/

What are your favorite ways to maintain your green habits while away?

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