Posted on September 30, 2016 by
As an environmentally conscious consumer, it’s important to remember that being eco-friendly doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy yourself – which means being able to go on vacation and feel good about your choices. As you plan your dream getaway, consider the following tips for ensuring you leave nothing but footprints while also having a great time visiting the top attractions of any destination you visit.
- Pack light. Your preparations should begin before you even leave the house. Heavy suitcases and other bulky items weigh down cars and planes, which means you’ll have to use more fuel to transport both yourself and your belongings. Keep greenhouse gas emissions to a minimum by packing only the necessities, including a refillable water bottle and other items you can reuse.
- Choose a green travel company. If you plan to work with a tour agency or travel company, it’s a good idea to do a bit of research before you choose one. If they promote ethical environmental practices, look at the specifics. Do they use green office products and cut down on their waste? How do they contribute to the community, and what’s their relationship with the local environment?
When you know how the company engages with the environment, you’ll have a better time finding the right fit. You may also want to work with an independent guide from the area you’re visiting.
- Choose a LEED Certified hotel. LEED Certification means that a building uses renewable energy to power its appliances and systems, along with other eco-friendly methods of operation. For example, the cleaning staff use environmentally friendly products, and guests have the option of reusing sheets and towels to reduce the overuse of detergent and water.
Another way to find eco-friendly lodging is to search for a local bed and breakfast or a small, locally run hotel. You’ll provide a boost to the local economy while also avoiding contributing to the cost of running a large corporate chain hotel.
- Choose an environmentally friendly means of transport. If your destination is close enough to drive or take the train, go that route instead of flying – especially for shorter distances. Short haul flights are especially damaging to the environment, so if you’re going under 300 miles, you’ll have a lower impact by using another style of travel. If you do need to fly, choose an airline with efficient aircraft and higher occupancy rates to minimize greenhouse gas emissions.
Being a Responsible Traveler
No matter what you pack, where you’re going, or how you get there, once you visit it’s important to be a responsible guest. Respect the local environment by staying on marked trails, limiting energy use, and recycling wherever possible. Above all else, have a fun and safe trip.