This beautiful planet of ours affords us many opportunities to experience diverse cultures and stunning natural wonders. In order for future generations to enjoy these same marvels, we must ensure that we do whatever possible to preserve this gorgeous Earth of ours.
Next time you’re planning a trip to visit some of these amazing places, try to think of preservation as you plan, pack and travel. To help you make your trip as eco-friendly as possible (and in honor of Earth Day on Friday!), we’ve compiled these 5 ways to travel green.
1.) Choose a “Green” Destination
Staying local is the best way to remain as eco-friendly as possible while getting to explore some great destinations nearby. Or, if you’re dying to see some new sights, try to choose a “green” city for your vacation. If you’d prefer to venture to exotic locales, try checking into an eco-lodge. While these hotels don’t sound glamorous, their names are quite deceiving; many green hotels offer luxurious accommodations as well as sustainability and are true engineering marvels on top of it all. There are many certification programs that rate hotels based on their environmental impacts. As another option, Airbnb also hosts a wonderful menagerie of sustainable rentals.
Hamburg, Germany –European Green Capital Award Winner
2.) Pack Smart
Packing for your trip seems pretty straight-forward, right? But think of all of the times you packed your toothbrush in plastic baggies or brought handfuls of extra batteries for electronic devices. Those all wound up trashed at some point. When you’re packing, you can cut down on waste by storing toiletries in Tupperware containers that can be used again or purchasing re-usable batteries (check out these awesome USB-powered batteries). Skip the packaging of plastic water bottles and opt for a battery-powered water filter instead. It’ll save space in your luggage and can be used to filter tap water anywhere you travel.
3.) Consider Your Means of Travel
Non-stop flights are one of the better ways to travel, not only for the time-saving aspect. Reduce emissions by booking direct flights or by taking compact trains. You’re also best off booking a trip in a locale that supports public transportation or walking & biking. Not only is biking great exercise, but you’ll get to see your destination in ways you couldn’t by car. And by taking public transportation, you cut down on emissions and get a chance to converse with the locals (which, everyone knows, is the best way to find the best spots to eat and sightsee!) If you’re in a more remote locale, look into renting an electric car or research car-sharing options.
Choose a local destination in the US like stargazing Hyrum, Utah
4.) Choose Eco-friendly Activities
One of the best activities you can do on your vacation, green or otherwise, is hiking. Connect with nature up close and get some some fresh air, all while reducing your carbon footprint. Local guides offer walking tours in just about every vacation destination. Refrain from taking one-on-one tours and join big groups wherever possible. If you want to take an excursion, shop around to find the best local, green tour companies. Ask questions pertaining to the company’s environmental policies and the impact their tours have on local wildlife and flora before booking your adventure. And although dining out is a given when vacationing, it doesn’t have to be environmentally harmful. Try to choose restaurants that use locally sourced meats and produce so specialty items aren’t being trucked in from far-away places.
5.) Be Conscious of your Carbon Footprint
Being on vacation is no excuse to run the air conditioning, water or electricity non-stop. Conserve energy like you would at home by turning off lights, not letting the water run more than you need it and keeping the air conditioning to a normal level. Try to keep the TV off (you are on vacation, after all) and unplug whatever you aren’t using. There also isn’t a need for fresh sheets and fresh towels every day, either. Save water by hanging up your used linens so the housekeeping staff is aware that you don’t want them replaced.
Hiking in Crescent City, CA