• Klaudia Jakubiak

Mindful Travel

Updated: Jan 7, 2020

Traveling Sustainably

In partnership with Delta Air Lines, I decided to explore one of my bucket list destinations: Seattle, Washington.  

In light of the Amazon fires, I wanted to understand how I can do my part in traveling more consciously and reducing my own carbon-footprint. Seattle has always appeared to be progressively focused on sustainability, so I wanted to experience how I can be a more mindful traveler.

Mindfully Flying: 

You can now join Delta Air Lines to help offset carbon emissions! By using the Carbon Emissions Calculator, you can estimate the cost to offset the CO2 emissions associated with your trip by entering the origin and destination. From there, you can make a financial contribution directly to The National Conservancy to fund a project of your choice. 

For example: flying from Detroit to Los Angeles equates to a total carbon offset cost of $4.36.

I can contribute that amount to either Clinch Valley Conservation Forestry Program in Virginia or Rio Bravo Climate Action Project in Belize.

To further expand on mindful travel, the aircraft and Delta Sky Clubs, have also removed single-use plastic items, including stir sticks, wrappers, utensils, and straws, replacing them with reusable and compostable alternatives. 

And have you noticed the beautiful new flight attendant uniforms? Well, more than 350,000 pounds of retired textiles were donated and diverted from landfills in what was one of the largest single company textile diversion programs in the U.S. Instead of creating waste in landfills across the U.S., retired uniforms were donated to people in need, recycled, or upcycled into new products through Delta’s partnership with Looptworks. 

All of these changes within aviation make huge strides in sustainability and the more we can discuss these changes, the more we can make better-informed decisions. 

Transportation + Accommodations During Trips: 

Many cities have public transportation and rideshare services such as Lyft. When I need a ride from the airport to my hotel, I always choose a Lyft Shared ride. This option connects you with others along your route to fill seats in cars with riders going in the same direction. Plus, when you share a ride, you pay a discounted price.

Now, when I stay in hotels, it’s the little things that I pay attention to:

1.) Instead of leaving my bathroom towel on the ground (so I can get a fresh one) I hang it up so I can reuse it at least one more time, which then reduces the amount of water used to wash towels.

2.) I inquire about bike rentals at the hotel, so it can be my mode of transportation while exploring the city (plus it’s so much more scenic!)

3.) Also, if there’s a restaurant on site, I make sure to understand if the food is locally sourced – luckily, my stay at Palihotel was very eco-focused and their ingredients at Hart and Hunter were locally sourced ingredients from Pike’s Place Market.

While exploring Seattle, we opted to get a deeper sense of sight seeing by riding bikes. We biked from our hotel to Amazon Spheres to Museum of Pop Culture and Space Needle. A couple years ago, I would have never really thought of using bikes around the city because ride sharing seemed easier. However, there are so many more benefits of riding bikes: you get a workout, you’re more attuned to your surroundings and it’s a sustainable practice. 

Sustainability-Driven Restaurants: 

Now, FOOD! We all enjoyed eating at the best restaurants on our travels but are we supporting the right initiatives? My focus for this trip was to really hone in on the restaurants that have sustainability at the core of what they do. And what does that mean? It means using locally sourced ingredients from local farmers. It means using simple ingredients to maintain the goodness of the food. It means less meat consumption and heavier focus on plant-based food. 

I was so excited to try out the menu at Café Flora – the ingredients are sourced from local farmers throughout Washington. And they keep the integrity of their food by focusing on minimal additives. I especially loved the mushroom burger and sweet potato fries. 

One thing I’ve been aware of is OVER-CONSUMPTION. I make it a point to stop eating when I’m full and have the remainder of my food boxed up for later (and not to let it go to waste). 

Meaningful Consumption:  

Another area that I try to focus on is consuming in a new destination. Do I need to buy souvenirs and consume, consume, consume? No, it’s all about balance. However, I’ve greatly pivoted to experiences in the places I’m traveling to. Whether it means conversations with locals, or restaurant owners, those are the moments that will really stand out in your travels. It’s the experiences of learning where the cultures and traditions stem from, that give you a new perspective on travel. 

In the end, sustainable practices are not hard, there are little choices that will result in a positive change for the greater good.

Thank you to Delta Air Lines, Palihotel Seattle and Café Flora for this wonderful Seattle experience.

Huge thank you to Luke Beard for beautifully capturing these moments. Catch his incredible work on @lukesbeard or see how he's transforming the blogging world at Exposure.