Packing light: environmentally friendly travel

blog-packlight-squareAnyone who has ever charted their carbon footprint knows that traveling can add enormous weight to your impact on the planet.  Plane travel uses a frighteningly large amount of gasoline, and the airline industry and its associated services use lots of energy and create a serious amount of waste. So how does one embark on more environmentally friendly travel?

For some of us the thought of making every vacation a staycation just doesn’t cut it.  So until we can come up with a better solution (more efficient planes and a commitment from the airlines to reduce their energy use and waste), there are some ways we can lessen our impact.

One of those ways is packing.  The less weight a plane is carrying, the less gas it uses, so bring less stuff!  Remember, most hotels have a hairdryer, so leave yours at home.  Bring fewer outfits – stick to clothes in neutral colors that can be mixed and matched.  Take a real vacation – leave that heavy laptop at home!

However, there are some things you CAN bring that would make your trip greener.  For starters, bring your own aluminum water bottle to avoid purchasing bottled water.  If quality is an issue, bring a small filter.  (This might not be desirable if traveling to other countries where water quality is really sketchy.)

Bring a collapsible, reusable shopping bag.  Stash it in your day bag, and use it for all purchases made on your trip.

If you’re a coffee drinker, you can also bring a reusable coffee mug. Most coffee shops will give you a discount for using it.

Anything light that you can pack to help you reduce waste while still keeping your luggage weight down will make a huge difference in the footprint of your trip.


  • I am excited by the development of high speed rail as an alternative the to the fuel guzzling ways of the airline industry.

    See, now if I could just loose that extra twenty pounds, I’d be helping the planet too!


  • And Lucky Charms to you, Mr. Gilmour. That gives me an idea – we should definitely start a campaign to de-obesify America in the name of the environment. If 10 people flying on each air leg lost 20 pounds, that would shave 200 pounds off the payload of each flight. Talk about savings!

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