If you're a health-conscious traveler, you think of all the ways your business trip or vacation will impact your physical and mental wellbeing. You probably know how to avoid jet lag during time changes, stay fit while you travel, and plan for sickness and medical emergencies when away from home.
You should also think about your impact on the environment when you travel too. It not only benefits the planet, but many of the same things you do to reduce your carbon footprint will also keep you healthy. These five tips will help you go green and stay healthy at the same time.
Tip 1: Rethink Your Transportation Options
If you're traveling internationally, there's not much you can to avoid flying in a plane. Just keep in mind that airplanes are one of the biggest emitters of carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas that contributes to global warming. If you have to fly, choose a coach seat to reduce your carbon footprint, since first-class seats take up more space than those in coach, and choose the most direct flight.
Once you're at your destination, consider how you will travel locally. If possible, do your sight-seeing on foot or travel by bicycle to lower your environmental impact and get some much-needed exercise. If you have to use a vehicle to get somewhere, busses and trains are more ecofriendly than cars.
Tip 2: Eat Organic and Sustainably
When choosing meals while away from home, your best bet is to seek out options that are organic and sustainable, which means they have a lower impact on the environment and pollution levels during production. In general, they'll also be healthier options since they're not farmed using a lot of chemicals and pesticides.
A few tips to keep in mind that will make it easier to eat this way:
- Eat local, seasonal fruits and vegetables since they have traveled the shortest distance to your plate.
- Reduce your consumption of meats and dairy, since they take a lot of resources to produce.
- If you do eat meat and dairy, look for options that are grass-fed and hormone free.
- Choose seafood that isn't overfished using the Monterrey Bay Aquarium's interactive list of sustainable seafood.
Tip 3: Keep Track of Your Packaging
Instead of buying snacks in the airport and bottles of water when you're exploring a new city, bring reusable containers. A small Tupperware container for your tasty treats will help you reduce waste, save money - and it fits easily in your backpack or carryon. Assuming you're going to a place where drinking the water is okay, a reusable water bottle reduces waste too, with the added healthy benefit of helping to keep you hydrated since it's instantly available.
If you must buy something that's prepackaged, make sure you recycle as much as possible.
Bonus Tip: Unplug Your Phone - and Your Brain
There's a growing movement of using vacation time to unplug from the world - this means using your phone or texting for emergencies only and taking a break from email and social media. This allows you to leave your charger at home (or use it minimally), which helps to reduce your energy consumption and lower your environmental impact. It also gives you a nice little mental health break so you can recharge your own batteries and return from your trip refreshed and healthier.