Many of the world’s most popular travel destinations are so well loved precisely because of their delicate environments, so it makes sense that some travelers are concerned about protecting the environment when they go on vacation. Luckily, there are plenty of ways to minimize the environmental impact of your trip. If you’re interested in traveling in an eco-friendly manner, keep the following tips in mind.
– Avoid flying. For a variety of reasons, airplanes are usually the least environmentally friendly way to travel, so avoid them whenever possible. On shorter trips, particularly in certain areas of the world, you may be surprised by the convenience and cost of train travel as an alternative.
– Choose a small rental car with good fuel economy. You can help the environment and save money on fuel at the same time by renting the smallest and most efficient car that suits your needs. If the rental company offers you a free upgrade to a larger vehicle, you can always turn it down.
– Check for certifications. Several travel-industry organizations rate hotels and tour providers on their environmental impact. The standards vary by organization, but you should be able to find them with a little research. Most “green” certified tours and hotels employ practices such as using energy-efficient lighting, recycling waste, conserving water, and buying responsibly sourced foods.
– Prepare your home. Take full advantage of your time away by minimizing how much energy your home will consume in your absence. Unplug appliances such as televisions, microwaves, and computers, all of which can use electricity even when switched off. You should also turn down your water heater and thermostat.
– Buy carbon offsets. You’re going to have to use energy of some kind to get to your destination, and that likely means burning fossil fuels. You can neutralize your impact on the environment by buying carbon offsets, which fund efforts to address the environmental impacts of carbon dioxide production.