Earth Day presents the perfect opportunity to celebrate, protect, and to think about the many things we can do to help improve our planet. But we think that every day is a great time for us to be more mindful of our actions and their implications on the environment. This year’s Earth Day campaign was to help end plastic pollution. So we decided at Island Routes that it was the perfect opportunity to team up with the Montego Bay Marine Park for a beach cleanup at a local public beach here in Jamaica that needed some TLC!  We rounded up our #LiveFunner team and went down to the beach where we helped to clear over 1000 lbs. of garbage.

Island Routes Island Impact
All of this awesome service got us thinking about the many small, simple steps we can take to be more “green” on not just Earth Day but all the other days, too. Here are some top Eco Travel tips to make a difference and travel more sustainably.

#1 Say “No” To Plastic

Plastic bottles and bags are wreaking havoc on marine ecosystems including the Caribbean Sea we love so much and they’ll take hundreds of years, if not more, to break down. We know hydration is key when travelling to the Caribbean but you can be a part of the change by packing a reusable bottle that you can refill over and over again. Better yet, why not enjoy the delicious coconut water straight from the coconut palm trees, which are so abundant in the tropics. And of course, don’t forget to pack some tote bags in your luggage, which are perfect to use for any vacation shopping especially at the craft markets.

#2 Conserve Electricity

While on vacation we want you to release all of your worries! That’s why we urge you to turn off lights, appliances, and A/C when not in use so that you don’t have to worry about all the effects of energy waste. Conservation of electrical energy can help to reduce pollution and greenhouse gas emissions. Fossil fuels are not renewable sources and the more electricity we consume, the faster these resources will be depleted. So turn off all your electrical devices before you head out to soak up some rays.

#3 Support Local Environmental Groups

Just like we did when we teamed up with the Montego Bay Marine Park, there are many opportunities to improve your impact on the world and with a little research you’ll find many groups in your favorite vacation spots with the same hopes for the world. Volunteer for a beach cleanup day, donate to a conservation initiative, and always remember to pick up your trash!

Supporting any local efforts to help better the environment will leave you feeling good about your vacation experience. I mean, who doesn’t want to leave a vacation with not only a tan but a clear conscience?!

#4 Contribute To The Local Economy

Strive to buy locally made products rather than those that have been imported as these products have a much larger carbon footprint. When exploring the Caribbean craft markets, picking up gifts for family and friends (or yourself!) purchasing locally made crafts and souvenirs ensures that your contribution to the economy has a more direct and positive impact, which in turn helps sustain authentic cultural heritage and provides jobs for the local artisans.

#5 Give Back To The Local Community

Our #1 rule on vacation is to #LiveFunner but we also know the importance of giving back to this beautiful place we call home. It’s only right that we bring together the two and create unforgettable yet meaningful adventures, like our MINI Routes tours in Jamaica all of which offer a true cultural immersion experience and Island Routes donates a portion of proceeds to benefit the local communities.

Bonus: If you’re traveling to Jamaica, why not make some room in your suitcase and join our Pack For A Purpose initiative and pack supplies for the local projects we support in need, you’ll make a priceless impact in the lives of our local children and families.

Sure, these changes can make for better, more sustainable travel experiences. But they also create a better living experience for the plant as a whole. And really, doesn’t that feel awesome on so many levels?

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