There’s so much to consider when you book a trip. Where will you stay? How should you get around? What will you see? And (our favorite question) what will you eat? But there’s one more thing that every traveler should consider: the impact of a vacation on the planet and local water resources.
Some of the Earth’s most popular destinations are located near vulnerable rivers, lakes and oceans—and improper garbage disposal, failure to treat waste water and other poor practices can inflict lasting damage to these waterways. By choosing hotels that prioritize water cleanliness and conservation (and making a personal effort wherever you travel), you can reduce your environmental footprint when you travel.
Here are a few tips to help you conserve water when you travel:
- Find a Rainforest Alliance Verified™ hotel listed on our website, www.SustainableTrip.org. Hotels that work with the Rainforest Alliance optimize their water use, treat their wastewater, protect local waterways and involve guests (and the local community) in their sustainability efforts.
- Let hotel staff know that you’re happy to reuse your sheets and towels.
- Resist the temptation to take shampoos and soaps with you when you leave. Many hotels clean out their small plastic toiletry bottles and refill them with shampoo, conditioner and body wash from larger containers.
- If you’re traveling to a region where water quality is dubious, bring a water purification filter or iodine tablets, along with a reusable water bottle. If that’s not possible, buying gallon jugs of water locally and refilling your personal water bottle generates less plastic waste than buying single-serve disposable bottles.
- Planning a long trip? Pack light, fast-drying clothing that you can wash in the sink rather than using the hotel’s machines.
- Don’t ignore a leaky faucet. Ask the management to fix it—they’ll appreciate being alerted to waste.
- Take short showers and skip baths altogether. Wouldn’t you rather spend that time exploring your surroundings?
- Dispose of trash in the proper receptacles to avoid contaminating nearby waterways.
- Eat food that is locally grown and harvested to lessen the water required for transport.
- Minimize your electricity use. The Burning Rivers Report reveals that “for every gallon of water used in an average household, five times more is used to provide that home with electricity.”