The biggest impact on our planet, ecologically speaking, can be made by adjusting how we live our daily lives. This includes being mindful when we travel and consciously adjusting certain habits with the environment in mind. When traveling, thinking “green” can be a challenge, as it can be easier to go for comfort and speed rather than take the time to make green decisions. When going on an adventure through HomeExchange, you are already doing a small part in taking care of the planet. Here are a few other ways you can extend your eco-impact.

1. Think Energy Efficient

“Going green” happens before you even leave for your vacation. By switching to LED light bulbs, utilizing reusable batteries, or having Energy Star appliances, you’ll do your part in helping the environment and also save you money. Before you leave home, make sure you unplug appliances you won't be using, turn off all the lights, and adjust your thermostat. Taking a few moments before your trip to prepare your house can go a long way, and save you some money.

2. Travel Direct

If possible, whether by car, train or plane, take the most direct route to your destination. Airplanes use the most fuel during takeoff and landing, so the fewer planes you have to take to get there, the better. To make your travel even greener, consider purchasing carbon offsets to help neutralize the emissions used while on your exchange.

3. Pack Light

When confirming your house swap, make a point to check in with your Exchange Partner about some travel essentials. Are you visiting during a rainy season? No need to pack an umbrella when you can utilize one from the home you’re staying at! Heading towards the beach? Ask if they have specific towels that are “beach ready.”

When you home swap, you may have access to all the essentials, from a hair dryer to kids' toys to kitchen must-haves. The less you pack, the more fuel-efficient you will be along the way.

4. Shop Local, Think Global

Shopping at local establishments is one of the best ways to not only get to know your destination better but also to support the local economy. Purchasing goods that are from the region helps cut down on shipping costs, supports small business, and gives back to the area you’re visiting. An added perk; you can ask the merchants for recommendations and expand your “live like a local” experience.

5. Bag It

Whether going for a long weekend or for an extended trip, a reusable shopping bag is always helpful to have along. It will not only cut down on the use of plastic or paper bags from vendors at the farmers’ markets and grocery stores, but it can also act as a tote bag for activities while on your trip. This is another item to talk to your Exchange Partner about to see if they have reusable bags that you can use for shopping.

6. Free Refill?

Taking a BPA-free plastic, glass, or metal water bottle is a great way to not only stay hydrated but also to keep from purchasing pricey single-use water. According to National Geographic, it is now believed that there are 5.25 trillion pieces of plastic debris in the ocean. Help put a stop to plastic pollution by cutting back your use of plastic water bottles when you travel.

7. Keep Water Usage in Check

Water is one of the world’s most precious resources, and it is also one of the things hotels are known for wasting the most of. Most studies find that hotels use 100 to 200 gallons of fresh water per guest room every day. This averages 36,500 to 73,000 gallons of water per room per year!

By opting to use a HomeExchange, you reduce the number of loads of laundry that are required to offer fresh linens every day. Also, when given an option, choose a shower over a bath. They tend to use about a third of the water required to fill up a tub.

8. Get Your Kids Involved

If you're traveling with kids, use it as a teaching opportunity to show them how to take care of the planet. Remind them to turn off lights when they leave a room, find times to walk or ride bikes instead of driving to a destination, and show them which items can be recycled or composted. Before you know it, your kids will be reminding YOU to practice green habits!

When it comes to “going green,” every little bit makes a difference. You don’t have to completely retrofit your house to prove you love Mother Nature, though you can always opt to home exchange with some of the listings in our Eco-Homes Collection to take your eco-living up a notch.

Travel with HomeExchange