4 Sustainable Tips for Your Next Weekend Getaway

Sabrina Lopez
July 16, 2019
3 min read

The summer heat has arrived, prompting many Phoenicians, myself included, to leave town whenever possible in search of cooler temperatures. I recently was able to beat the heat by visiting Flagstaff. The cooler climate, green pine trees, and general change of scenery were a refreshing break from the hot Valley of the Sun and made for a bittersweet return to our 100+ temperatures.

As we were preparing for our trip, I started finding numerous aspects of our packing that we could make more sustainable. From using reusable water bottles to taking our most fuel efficient car, there were some easy changes we made to our original plans to make our trip more earth-friendly.

So, before shopping and packing for next weekend's getaway, consider the following sustainable travel tips. Hopefully, they will inspire you to make different purchase decisions and reduce your waste potential long before you leave the house.


1. Pack with reusability in mind

Whether camping or staying at a hotel, there are easy ways to pack more reusable items. Instead of packing plastic water bottles, invest in a few reusable water bottles that can be used repeatedly throughout your trip. Choose a few metal utensils over disposable plastic knives and forks. You can buy some longer-lasting and reusable fabric bags as an alternative to packing toiletries and miscellaneous items in Ziploc bags. Reusable food storage containers, bottles, and other items may cost a little more now but will save you money in the long run and avoid massive amounts of waste. 


2. Recycle what you can, when you can 

Sometimes it can be hard to pack everything in reusable containers, where recycling comes into play to make your trip as sustainable as possible. Although Americans recycle and estimated 2.4 billion pounds of plastic annually, that only makes up about 27% of plastic thrown away. That means almost 6.5 billion pounds of plastic goes directly into landfills yearly! Since plastic doesn’t break down, causing landfills to fill up at alarming rates. Lesson? Always opt for paper whenever possible, and reuse and recycle plastic whenever you can. You can also pick up biodegradable utensils and plates such as these.


3. Carpool with friends and family

Here in Phoenix, we have a couple of close and popular destinations to escape the heat. Flagstaff, Sedona, and Prescott offer relief from our hot desert temperatures and a nice change of pace and scenery. If you're planning a trip with friends or family, try to plan it so you can live together in the same car. By not taking multiple cars to reach your getaway, you'll reduce CO2 emissions and save on the money your party spends on gas. If you choose the most fuel efficient car, these benefits will grow even more. It's a win-win!


4. Live like a local

Living like a local, regardless of your destination, will also make your trip more sustainable. Try a popular local haunt instead of eating at that common restaurant chain. Rather than buying items from Wal-Mart or Target, try to find a more local store to get needed products. By purchasing local items, you're cutting down on the energy used to transport products from where they're manufactured to their final destination. You'll also be supporting the local businesses and economy. You'll also have a more authentic experience when you live like a local!

As you go about packing for your next trip, take a little extra time to consider whether an item could be replaced with a more sustainable option. There are many options for reducing your footprint, so we invite you to check out our blog for even more options.

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*This blog has been updated since it's original publication of 8/7/2017.