Three Eco-Friendly Travel Tips for Earth Day
I'm not the only traveler who carries reusable shopping bags from
Photo: Culture Shock Happens, a blog from a couple living in France.
by Wendy Perrin
Why do we travel? To open our eyes to other cultures and the differences between them and us, hopefully with the result that we become better citizens of the world. In honor of Earth Day, here are three earth-friendly tips that I've gleaned from my travels in Europe. They also happen to save you money:
(1) Pack a lightweight, reusable shopping bag.
When you go to an outdoor market or a grocery store, instead of collecting your souvenirs or picnic provisions in disposable plastic bags, carry a reusable bag such as those from Carrefour or a lightweight duffel such as those from Le Sportsac. I started doing this years ago in Germany where, in many towns, when you purchase items in a grocery store, the only way you can get a disposable bag is to buy one.
(2) Wash clothes in the hotel sink.
Carry a small bottle of Woolite with you and, instead of spending an arm and a leg having the hotel do your laundry, wash whatever dirty clothes you can in the sink and hang them out to dry (there's often a clothesline in the bathroom or a railing on your balcony). Why so many people in the United States object to clotheslines is beyond me. In Italy we think the clotheslines strung from village windows add color and charm to the scene--especially when Mama has just laundered the entire soccer team's uniforms.
(3) Take the train from the airport to downtown.
People are freaking out that the price of gas in the U.S. just hit $3.50 a gallon, yet gas has been achingly expensive in Europe for many more years than it has been here. Taking the train is not only much cheaper than renting cars or riding in taxis but it's usually faster and more pleasant and interesting as well. So, next time you fly into a European city, take public transportation into town.