02/15/2013 06:07 EST | Updated 04/17/2013 05:12 EDT

Can Travel Ever Really Be "Eco"? Try These Tips

The Active Times

Traveling cannot really be considered an "eco" activity because it's definitely harder on our world than staying at home sweet home. But, I personally take great pleasure from getting out and experiencing the world, and learning what else is going on outside of my bubble.

For me, a vacation away is a much needed break from my everyday routine (and my desk). It lends me unstructured time with my family, it is a time of adventure and sleep, sunshine in the winter months, a refreshing opportunity to experience other places in our great world, find new inspiration, and if I'm lucky, hopefully even inspire someone or something along my journey.

Consider the following seven tips before you travel in order to be kind to your health, your travel companions, and our planet:

1. Know before you go. Some surprises are not fun, so be prepared. (Example, take your own safe, triclosan-free hand sanitizer to avoid the nasty chems and soap supplied.)

2. Waste not, want not. Even before you board, air travellers throw away all sorts of trash including paper, plastic and food waste and airports and airlines recycle only a small portion of it, if any at all. A flight attendant told us that they fill one large bag of garbage per 60 people on a direct three hour flight alone!

3. Eat before you leave the house. And pack lots of snacks...why choose from the small selection of overpriced, fake food, when you can take your favourite real food from home in reusables? Eat well, create less garbage and don't wait for a flight attendant to serve you, who might be busy -- cleaning up someone else's mess.

4. Stay hydrated. Bring your own bottle. No spills, it's waste-free, and your reusable bottle holds more water than those toxic plastic/Styrofoam ones. Just make sure to keep it empty when you go through security.

5. Travel lightly, it saves energy. Every pound you pack, takes more of your energy, more jet fuel, and more carbon emissions to get from one place to another. Doesn't it sound more appealing to travel somewhere you can relax, and not worry about 20 changes of clothes and shoes per day? Plus, taking only a carry on has a lot of bonuses.

6. Don't wear perfume. Fragrance is the new second hand smoke. You can quote me on that.

7. Sharing is Caring. Unread or partially read newspapers are not even used for the next flight; they are thrown out, or recycled without a second thought. Share with your travel neighbour, or refrain from taking one in the first place and read a great book (on your e-reader) instead.

For more information, perspective, tips, tricks, and must-have travel products to keep your time away as eco-happy as possible, flip through Your Guide to Traveling Consciously.

Eco-Friendly Travel Tips