Now that summer travel is a little more accessible than last year, it’s a great time to get out and visit some fun places! But sometimes it’s difficult to maintain sustainable practices when you’re on a vacation. After all, you probably have to bring travel size toiletries, eat out more often, and what about all that driving?
Luckily, there are several great ways to help stay sustainable while you’re visiting family and friends this summer! Let’s talk about a few of your options.
First, consider a more local destination. Didn’t you know that stay-cations are all the rage? Any time you can have a day trip (ie no plane travel), the better! What about carpooling with a large group of friends to a local hotspot you’ve never been to? Or is there a childhood favorite that you haven’t visited in awhile? You definitely don’t have to cross state lines if you live in Oregon to find somewhere beautiful to relax.
Second, visit local businesses that might need your support. Once you’re at your destination, only shop and eat local. You’re probably going to experience all the things the locals do AND keep the money flowing through the local economy. Don’t need more stuff? Just check out some local restaurants or buy some postcards to put in the mail to family and keep the souvenirs on the shelves.
Third, bring reusable water bottles and bags with you! You probably have them in your stash already, so why not bring them along? That way you can continually fill up your water bottle or tumbler wherever you find a water fountain (or at your hotel/Airbnb) and pack your bag with your fabulous local finds!
Fourth, bring reef-safe sunscreen to the beach. Did you know conventional suncreen has ingredients that are damaging the coral reefs? Ingredients such as the following are not reef-safe.
- 4-methylbenzylidene camphor
- Any nanoparticles or “nano-sized” zinc or titanium (if it doesn’t explicitly say “micro-sized” or “non-nano” and it can rub in, it’s probably nano-sized)
- Any form of microplastic, such as “exfoliating beads”
Check the labels and purchase more environmentally-friendly products whenever you can. But always remember: it’s better to use up items you’ve already purchased, so don’t start tossing products just yet. Just plan on purchasing more sustainable items in the future!
Fifth, don’t leave a trace! Wherever you go, make sure you’re leaving it as beautiful as when you first arrived. Pick up all your litter, only travel and camp in approved areas (stay on the trail!), leave what you find, and respect the wildlife. Even though taking flowers or leaves is a nice thought, taking photos instead will mean the ecosystem won’t be negatively impacted.
This summer is a great time for us to get out and spend time on vacation, and that doesn’t mean we can’t be as sustainable as possible in our choices. So pack up your reusable bottles and metal straws, grab some cloth bags, and make sure your camera is fully charged to take as many photos as possible for great memories!