Eco-Travel Tips from a Sojourn in Seattle

This week I was lucky to visit and stay with one of my best friends and her better half at their sweet (and SUPER organized) home in Seattle. It was my first time traveling since committing to a more eco-friendly life, and I wanted to use the opportunity to think about how and where I could make better choices during the trip. Luckily, Seattle is the perfect place to start. The city’s standard-issue garbage bins are only about 1/4 the size of their recycling and compost bins and it seemed every cafe, restaurant or shop we went into had information readily available as to how they sourced products, heated their building or generally their business to be more environmentally friendly…Basically my version of paradise.

However, whether you’re traveling to the eco-conscious capitol of the world, seeing relatives in the midwest or enjoying a romantic weekend with your S.O., here are some tips for keeping your environmental impact at a minimum:

  1. Purchase Carbon Offsets From Flights - Flying is often an unavoidable part of travel, as was the case with my trip to Seattle. By purchasing carbon offsets from a place like carbonfund.org we can somewhat makeup for that and minimize our carbon footprint. For a roundtrip flight to Seattle from Cleveland I paid $6.85 and donated that towards renewable energy (you can also choose reforestation, energy efficiency and more!)

  2. BYOB (3oz Toiletry Bottles) - Whether we stay with friends, at an airbnb or in a hotel we often encounter those travel size, plastic toiletries. My extremely thoughtful friends always put them in the guest room for me to use during my stay. However, when working to minimize our plastic container usage these little guys aren’t so great. By bringing our own, reusable containers we can reduce the use and subsequent waste from these close-to-single-use shampoos and such.

  3. Reusable Bottle + Coffee Cup - Sorry if I sound like a broken record here but two things are almost guaranteed during your trip - drinking water and coffee (ESPECIALLY coffee if you happen to find yourself in Seattle). Don’t leave home without your reusables! Set a positive examples for denizens of cities around the world!

  4. Run, Walk or Bike to See The Sights - When I visit a new city, one of my favorite things to do is go for a morning run early in the trip. It orients me with the neighborhood and gives me a sense of ownership of that particular place. Visiting new places on foot not only grounds you, but has the added benefit of allowing time to enjoy the journey, not just the destination. Seattle this time of year is full of beautiful blooms and I got to stop and smell the literal roses many times on my runs and walks.