Today in Australia, we celebrate ANZAC Day. One of Australia's most important national occasions, it marks the anniversary of the first major military action fought by the courageous Australian and New Zealand forces during the First World War. But another date came and went with a lot less fanfare, at least in my hometown of Sydney, the 23 April. Don't know what it is?
On the 23 April, more than one billion people in 192 countries took part in the 42nd Anniversary of Earth Day. From Cairo to Beijing, Melbourne to Rome, Rio to St. Louis, communities everywhere stood united in their efforts to be kinder to Mother Earth.
So for Earth Day, I invite you to conserve the Earth's resources everyday of the year, but most especially on your travels. Every little adjustment that we make to the way that we travel can make all the difference. The benefits to you on "traveling green" are twofold: Apart from preserving our environment, more often than not you’ll find yourself saving heaps of money!
Here are 8 travel tips for greener travel that will benefit the Earth as well as your hip pocket:
1) Invest in an iPad or Kindle - Why buy novels and travel guides by the dozen in hardcopy, only to chew through them on your trip and banish them to your bookshelf on your return? You’ll save tons of money by downloading the latest books on your Kindle or iPad.
2) Pack Economically - For those of you that know me from my fashion industry days, I urge you not to laugh. Seriously, a lighter suitcase lessens the load on the aircraft, allowing it to burn less fuel and release toxic fumes into the environment. You’ll also save on all those excess baggage charges.
3) Re-use Containers - When traveling, stock up on mineral or filtered water in the larger sized containers and just top up your refillable water container as needed. This will save you from raiding the mini bar in your hotel room, where all the drinks and snacks are double the price.
4) Conserve Energy - Air conditioning, heating and lighting use more energy than washing towels, so turn off the lights and air conditioning when it isn’t needed, or when you’re stepping out of your room. Don’t leave the TV on if you're not watching it.
5) Economize on Water - Avoid wasting water by dawdling in the shower, and turn the water tap off while you are brushing your teeth. Let housekeeping know that you’d like to reuse your sheets and towels.
6) Watch Your Fuel Usage - Use public transport on your travels if it’s safe enough to do so, and choose smaller, more fuel efficient cars from the car rental companies. You’ll be saving yourself some money as well as lowering the carbon footprint.
7) Buy Locally - Promote the local economy by eating what the locals eat and hiring local guides. Find out where the local artisans sell their goods rather than buying handicrafts that have been mass produced. You may pay a little more for it but at least your money will benefit the local artisans and their families.
8) Go Eco-friendly in Your Accommodation - Eco-friendly hotels, guest houses and B&B’s have made a long-term commitment to minimizing the impact that its operations have on the environment. Take the time to find out where they are. Your planet will thank you for it.
Remember, if we didn’t preserve our natural habitat, we’d have nothing left to explore!