10 Ideas for Sustainable Student Travel
As we wait for a green light to student travel, let’s consider the impact our travel has on our students, the destination, and the planet. Our teens live in a world where reducing their footprint on our planet is incredibly critical. To promote sustainable travel, meet your students’ ideas with your own tips. Together, you can incorporate these ideas into the fun of planning your next trip.
Ask students to assemble a packing list that includes only the essentials. By packing light, you avoid burning resources with heavy baggage.
Explore public transportation.
Feel adventurous? If your group is small enough, you can do it! Trust that your entire group can fit on one bus, subway, or train, but chat up a Plan B if your group gets split. Until the next bus or subway comes along, a couple of chaperones can stay with students. Then you can all meet up at the next stop. Is public transpo the answer for the entire trip? Maybe not, but in many destinations, it’s an easier way to get around.
If your hotel is near your sites, walking saves money, is healthy, and makes the planet greener. Before you go, decide whether your group can handle short walking trips. Talk to your travel planner about the proximity of sites to your hotel.
That is, bring your own water bottles. Clearly, buying disposable beverage bottles is a problem for a green-loving group. Ponder other ways to reduce plastic use.
- Bring reusable bags for shopping and laundry.
- Sidestep one-use straws when eating out.
- Avoid plastic utensils, if possible.
- Leave recyclable trash in the proper container.
Note: Plastic takes between 100 and 400 years to break down in a landfill.
RIP Hotel Toiletries
Once considered a luxury, these cute little bottles often go half-used before being tossed and ultimately living in a landfill. Bring soap and shampoo in reusable bottles. To avoid plastic waste, bring your own. Many hotel brands are cutting these items to reduce their clutter footprint.
Tip: If you must use the hotel toiletries, take the balance to finish off the shampoo and to re-use the container for your next trip.
Turn off lights, TV, and electronics to conserve energy. Close the drapes to keep out the heat or insulate from the cold.
Technology, (with which your students are quite familiar), is an obvious starting place. Encourage electronic notetaking. When corresponding with parents, use email or text message – far more effective than the bottom of the backpack notice.
Re-use towels and bedding!
Most hotels encourage this – hang the Do Not Disturb sign on your hotel door or use the folded sign the hotel provides. For just a few nights, this is a no-brainer and minimizes water and energy used to launder towels and sheets. Easy, but key way to promote sustainable travel.
Enlist your travel planner!
At Forum Festivals, we can suggest many green travel ideas. We’re happy to inquire about the hotel’s recycling policies. We can book local eateries that are walkable from the hotel. As we design your itinerary, we’ll explore transportation options that can save you money AND save the planet.
Enjoy the green journey!
Students will likely be one step ahead of you, but when you incorporate sustainable travel in your planning as a challenge as well as a fun, educational experience, it will add to the journey. We’d love to help!