5 tips for becoming an eco-traveler (for real!)

5 tips for becoming an eco-traveler (for real!)
You already buy organic and local. You've changed your habits to be more eco-responsible, but have a hard time keeping them up when traveling abroad.  This blog will help you stay eco-friendly wherever you go.
 
We all have big dreams of traveling. But whether your dream is a relaxing holiday, incredible adventure or cultural, it's important to keep in mind that traveling significantly  increases your ecological footprint. Fortunately, eco-responsible traveling is becoming more and more popular.
 
Transportation: How do I get therel? 
There's no denying that airplanes generate a large amount of greenhouse gases.  In a single flight, an aircraft can produce  as much CO2 as a car would in one year.  Aware of the environmental stakes, certain airlines, such as AirFrance, allow you to calculate the amount of greenhouse gases emitted during a flight.
 
It is therefore important to limit air travel whenever possible. Quick and affordable, traveling with a low cost airline company to a neighbouring country is certainly tempting, especially when you're in Europe. But remember to consider the extra cost for checking bags, as well as the time spent going through security and waiting for your luggage.  There are several other ways to travel affordably that cause less harm to the environment.
 
Biking vs driving. 
Many people choose to travel by bicycle. This allows them to get around as they please, take breaks whenever they want, change their route and enjoy the scenery. Traveling by car might be a better option, depending on the type of trip and age of the travelers.  It offers the same benefits as biking, and drivers can even take turns to reach their destination faster.
 
Public transport and carpooling
Taking the bus is also an easy way to get from one place to another . It is a lot more comfortable than you might think.  Most buses have reclining seats, armrests and wifi for maximum comfort.  It is also possible to travel overnight, thereby optimizing your days and saving on hotel fare.  Though less well-known here, carpooling is another way to travel that has become very popular in Europe.  With the Blablacar app, you need only enter your departure point, destination and desired date of travel, and you'll find drivers who can take you there.  You'll have the opportunity to travel in great company, and it’s very safe. Every driver and passenger is given a score from their fellow carpoolers, so you can see how their previous trips went.  I personally loved the experience and even hung out with some of the people I carpooled with during my stay in a destination city.
 
As for ways to get around the city, many eco-friendly options are available.  Public transit is obviously the best option since it allows you to get around town like locals do.  Many cities, especially in Europe, also provide bike rental services similar to Montreal's BIXIs.

Let’s talk about food
Traveling is expensive. Food options must therefore be taken into account.  Going to restaurants to discover the local gastronomy is always exciting, but it can rapidly ruin your budget. To prevent this, travelers should always bring some reusable containers and a set of utensils.  This way you can take your restaurant leftovers to go. You can also go to the grocery store and make your own lunches and snacks.  No more polluting disposable containers!
 
I'll take this opportunity to remind you that when visiting a city or a country, whether you''re buying food or souvenirs. it is recommended to go local, and  support small artisans.  In doing so, you will support the local economy, and the environment will thank you!

Where to sleep?
Now, lets talk about lodging.  For an eco-friendly stay, many hotels now have an environmental certification such as Green Key Global.  If the hotel you choose is not certified, simple things can be done, such as requesting that your towels not be changed every day.  Towel laundering requires a lot of water and uses products that have a high impact on the environment.
To fully appreciate and immerse yourself in the culture of the country you are visiting, you can also spend the night at a local’s home.  On the CouchSurfing website, you can find people who can host you for a night or longer.  Some will even share meals with you and give you great advice on the best places to discover in their area.  A rich experience of sharing is guaranteed!  Don't forget to bring a gift for the host. Though not mandatory, it is highly recommended.
 
You don't need to go through a travel agency to plan an eco-friendly trip.  Just  be aware of your environmental footprint and follow these simple tips to make your stay outside Quebec more eco-friendly.
By Melissa Rodriguez

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