Green Travel Tips
Protect Your Favorite Travel Destination
Whether traveling locally or abroad, you can take a few simple steps to reduce your impact on the planet's natural and cultural treasures. You won't have to sacrifice creature comforts or pay more to be an eco-tourist; today's sustainably certified hotels and hostels accommodate all budgets, and many car rentals feature hybrid models or carbon-offset projects. Traveling green is easier than ever with these wallet-friendly tips.
Before You Travel
- Unplug all appliances that will not be in use; turn down your hot water heater and A/C and stop newspaper delivery.
- Pack light and try and stick to carry-on luggage only; you'll save money on airline baggage fees in the process.
- When booking your airfare, opt for an e-ticket as it creates less paper waste.
- Borrow guidebooks from a friend or the local library, or do all your trip planning online.
- Buy a solar charger to for your phone, iPod, or camera to avoid using extra energy resources while you’re overseas.
- Book flights with airlines that score high for green practices such as using biofuel and recycling cabin waste. Virgin, Alaska Airlines, Southwest, Continental and British Airways all have strong environmental agendas.
- For short jaunts, consider the train in lieu of flying — especially in Europe or other regions where train service is quick and convenient.
- When renting a car, choose a hybrid or the smallest vehicle that can comfortably accommodate your group.
- Whenever possible, use public transportation instead of taxis or rental cars, or even better, explore your new destination on foot or bicycle. All of these options reduce your carbon footprint, cost less than taking a cab or renting a car, and offer plenty of opportunities to interact with locals.
- Book a hotel that offers shuttle service to the areas you'd like to visit. Many include free transportation to local landmarks, such as the airport and shopping districts.
- Look for hotels that are a member of the Green Hotels Association or have other eco-friendly credentials.
- Choose accommodations that utilize energy-efficient lighting, low-flow toilets and showers, or alternative energy sources like solar or wind power.
- Turn off the AC, lights and TV when you leave the room.
- Bring your own soap and toiletries to reduce waste.
- Opt to have towels and linens washed every three to four days.
- Take home hotel toiletries to finish them and recycle the packaging.
- Keep showers short and turn off water while brushing your teeth.
- Recycle your aluminum, plastic and paper waste during your stay.
During Your Stay
- Visit national parks and nature reserves. Supporting protected areas ensures that they’ll be maintained.
- Bring your own reusable water bottle. If the tap water isn't safe to drink, purchase a gallon of purified water at the local market to keep in your hotel room.
- Buy local whenever possible. Pick up healthy produce at farmers' markets, and buy goods made by area artisans. Locally made goods will have a smaller carbon footprint and are often much cheaper.
- Don’t buy souvenirs made from endangered animals or trees. When in doubt, always ask the vendor about materials and labor before making a purchase.
- Request tours from companies that are owned and operated by residents and hire local guides. Their community pride will add a special touch to your vacation and your tourism dollars will help families and improve local communities.