We’re fully on board with this one.

By Marisa Spyker
January 07, 2019
Prasit Photo/ Getty Images

Like clean towels in a hotel room, there are certain things we tend to take for granted on vacation.

Once upon a time, that list would’ve included a plastic-free beach. But as the perils of plastics in our seas continue to gain worldwide attention, experts say travelers are now taking note—and tailoring their vacation plans because of it.

According to sites like Pinterest and Booking.com, while 2018 may have been the year of solo adventures and ‘Gram-worthy experiences, 2019 is all about reducing our environmental footprint while traveling. And lucky for anyone who wants to hop on this eco-friendly train, there are more than a few different ways to go about it.

According to Pinterest, users are searching more and more for “zero-waste travel” ideas, which can translate to using only refillable toiletry bottles or opting for packaging-free snacks (like apples and bananas) while traveling. (Better yet, BYO Tupperware and you can forego the disposable take-out containers at any restaurant.)

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Major hotels, resorts, cruise ships, and tour operators are quickly following suit, with plans to eliminate single-use plastics like straws and utensils from their properties altogether. Many popular vacation destinations, including several Caribbean islands and cities along the coast of California, have also joined the stand against single-use plastics. And, according to an Abta survey, the move seems to be a smart one, as 36 percent of people report they would opt for one travel business over another based on their environmental policies. (That number is up 13 percent since 2014.)

But reducing our use of plastic and supporting eco-friendly companies are just one part of the puzzle. This year, travelers are also opting to incorporate eco-friendly activities into their vacation itineraries, including participating in local beach cleanups at their destination. (According to Booking.com, 87 percent of global travelers say they’d be willing to spend time offsetting their environmental impact during a trip.) And, these days, finding an organized cleanup to participate in is easier than ever: Airbnb offers plenty of easy-to-book experiences that pair beach cleanups with activities like surf lessons, oceanfront yoga classes, and relaxing boat tours.

Mixing fun with an opportunity to beautify—and even help save—our beloved beaches? Let’s hope this is a trend that sticks around forever.

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