When it comes to travel, there are many things you can do to reduce your impact on the environment. The most obvious is to use the most sustainable method of transportation to your destination in order to reduce fuel use and emissions. Once you get there, walking, biking or using public transportation will reduce your use of fossil fuels compared to driving. And while you’re gone, unplu gging electronics and adjusting your thermostat at home will save you money and reduce unnecessary energy usage.

But did you know that the way you pack for your trip can have an impact on the environment too? It’s true! Here are some green packing tips that will help you be kind to the environment while still having a great trip.

  • Avoid bringing things you don’t need. Heavy suitcases require more fuel to transport than lighter ones. So instead of packing a variety of wardrobe choices, pick your outfits ahead of time and pack only what you will wear. Remember that you can use the hotel’s laundry services, or better yet, hand wash your clothes and hang them to dry in your hotel room. That means you won’t need a different outfit for every day.
  • Bring as few pairs of shoes as possible. They’re heavy and often unnecessary. One pair of dress shoes and one pair of casual shoes, both in neutral colors, are usually all you’ll need.
  • Instead of buying travel sized toiletries each time you go on a trip, keep the bottles and refill them as needed. If you’re traveling with a group, you could have each person bring an item such as shampoo, conditioner or toothpaste to share. And don’t forget to use natural and eco-friendly products as much as possible.
  • Bring along reusable items instead of using disposables. Some you may need include a water bottle, reusable shopping bags, rechargeable batteries and a reusable shower cap.
  • Instead of bringing paper books, download reading materials to your ebook reader and bring it along. If you’re traveling with a laptop or tablet computer, put them on it instead to keep from carrying too many electronics. Most magazines offer online versions as well.
  • Avoid buying new items for your trip unless absolutely necessary. If you do, remove the packaging and recycle it before you go. This will reduce weight and keep you from having to seek out recycling facilities at your destination.

Packing efficiently will reduce your load, your expenses and your impact on the environment. If you pack smart, one suitcase should be sufficient to carry everything you need.

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