Tuesday, June 24, 2014

14 Sustainable Summer Travel Tips

Summer is the time for vacation travel, as families head for the coast, the mountains, or the beach for summer vacation. But for eco-conscious folks, travel can pose a dilemma. What about all those emissions? Does traveling mean you're destroying the environment? You'll be happy to know that the depleted ozone layer doesn't mean you have to stop traveling. You can still see the world without killing the planet.

Here are 14 green travel tips which will make your next trip more enjoyable - and guilt-free!

 (Photo credit: raffacama)
1. If at all possible, avoid flying. Flying is very carbon-intensive and bad for the environment. Taking a bus or train is not only cheaper, but also better for the environment. Plus, you really get to see aspects of the country you haven't seen before. It can be a fun adventure, even if it takes longer to get there. Family road trips can be fun - just make sure you leave plenty of time to stop and see the sights on the way, so you don't feel rushed to get to your destination.

2. If flying is unavoidable, then try to find non-stop flights. That will of course not only reduce your travel time, but also your carbon footprint.

3. Paper tickets are becoming a thing of the past. Use electronic tickets whenever and wherever possible and save a tree.

4. Pack light. The more weighted down your mode of transportation is, the more fuel it will use. So if you pack light, you'll keep more carbon from getting into the environment and it's also a time saver. Time spent packing and unpacking bags or waiting at baggage claim to receive your bags will be shorter if you have fewer bags.

5. Use a reusable water bottle. (Glass or stainless steel are good - be sure to avoid plastics containing BPA.)

6. Don't forget about what you can do in your own home while you're gone. There's no need to have the heating and cooling systems running as usual if you're not home. So reset the thermostat. Stop your newspaper delivery as well; not only is it better for the environment, but you won't have newspapers piling up in front of your home letting people know you're away. Unplug the TV, DVD player, coffee pot, toaster, microwave, washer, and dryer. These all will continue to pull electricity while plugged in even if they're not being used.

Country Lodge Hotel, Nairobi is Eco-Friendly
Country Lodge Hotel, Nairobi is Eco-Friendly (Photo credit: Wayan Vota)
7. Stay in hotels with environmental certification like Green Seal, Green Leaf, or the Green Hotels Association - these make an effort to use ecologically friendly practices.

8. When you leave the hotel room, turn off the lights or turn down the air conditioning.

9. Reuse your towels and sheets during your stay. Just let the hotel staff that they don't need to give you fresh linens every day.

10. Leave the complimentary toiletries for the next guest unless you're absolutely sure you'll use them. The less waste, the greener you'll be.

11. Check out electronically if the hotel will allow it. Less paper is better.

12. Rely on public transportation or the hotel's van service to get where you need to go. Walking or renting a bike to get around also might be an enjoyable way to explore this new place.

13. If you can't get by with public transportation and walking everywhere, then rent a hybrid or fuel efficient vehicle.

14. Buy local goods and foods. Local products have less of an environmental impact - and you'll be supporting the local economy where you're vacationing - which they will appreciate as well!

Using these travel tips will help you enjoy your vacation without worrying about what you are doing to the environment. Best of all, you can even save yourself money by following many of these tips. So go out and have yourself a great vacation this summer, and keep the planet safe at the same time.

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