As you embark on this exciting study abroad experience and explore all the wonderful things that the world has to offer, make sure you keep in mind that as much as the Earth gives you, you need to give back to it too. Traveling is a valuable privilege and it would not be possible without the unique and finite resources that our planet provides us with. With that said, there are plenty of ways to travel and be green by choosing the sustainable products and behaviors. Below are five ways that you can choose Earth while studying abroad in any city!

Use Public Transportation

When you first get to a new city, it can be pretty overwhelming trying to navigate the area. Some people tend to take taxis or other private transportation options, but that ends up costing more money and uses a lot more energy than using shared transport. Better alternatives for getting around are taking public transportation, biking or walking if your destination is not too far. This will not only help reduce you energy consumption, but it will definitely be cheaper and will give you greater opportunities to have a more local experience when touring around the city.

Catching the bus | Ben Raymond, Quinnipiac University who studied abroad in Brisbane

Choose to Reuse

Traveling is fun, but can also be pretty exhausting so be sure to drink plenty of fluids to stay hydrated and keep your energy up. Instead of buying plastic water bottles or using paper or plastic coffee cups when you’re out and about, invest in a reusable water bottle and / or a reusable coffee mug. Although this might involve a larger up-front cost, in the long run you’ll be saving money. Plus, think about all of that plastic and paper that you’ll no longer be adding to landfills.

Reusable water bottle | Alexia Alfano, University of Pittsburgh

Equip your apartment

Even though your abroad experience will fly by quickly, it’s actually longer than you think so is often worth buying proper cooking and dining equipment for your kitchen. Buying reusable dining ware and utensils will help you avoid using paper and plastic ones, which means you won’t have to constantly restock them and, once again, will also help prevent wasteful products from entering our landfills. Your apartment may likely come with kitchen products or you may be able to rent them. Ask your in-country TEAN staff if you have questions on where to purchase items.

Eat Local

Without a doubt, there will be fantastic food wherever you are traveling. Sometimes the best meals come from local small shops or street stalls. Eating locally not only means you are supporting the community, but also reducing your carbon footprint by eating foods that are in-season and haven’t been transported long distances.

The Grounds of Alexandria in Sydney | Hannah Schube, DePaul University

Take Home Leftovers

When you plan to eat out, it’s likely that you won’t finish every meal – don’t just leave it on your plate to be thrown out! Instead, ask for a box and take it home (if you’re staying at a hotel/hostel at the time, it is likely there will be a refrigerator to store your food). Not only will you be reducing the amount of wasted food that is thrown into landfills, but you will also be saving yourself money by having another meal for the next day!

Rachel Gordon is a TEAN Alum and graduate from University of Michigan, she studied abroad in Sydney, Australia.