Green Travel: Amateur Ecotravel Tips

Green Travel: Amateur Ecotravel Tips

An introduction to green travel

Maybe your family is not the most environmental-friendly on the block. People may not even consider you to be a tree-hugger. Nevertheless, eco-travel is not strictly an environmentalist thing. It is an important shift in how we think about traveling. A study by the United States Environment Protection Agency (EPA) has it that the travel industry is the fastest growing in the world.

The unfortunate truth, however, is that travel itself is a part of the problem. Our environment is being warmed by carbon emissions, and cars and planes contribute greatly to this. Tourism is gradually overrunning natural wonders. Through some simple steps, however, we can each minimize our impact on the environment and still get an opportunity to see it.

According to the United States Green Building Council, the World Wildlife Fund, and the EPA, there are certain steps you can take to ensure that your travel does not impact negatively the environment.

Here are some ways you can save the world while also seeing it at the same time…

Green travel starts before you step out of your own home

Do not leave unused appliances plugged into the wall socket. Adjust your thermostat to ensure that your home doesn’t drain energy. You may pause your newspaper service, as a way of conserving paper. You may also put your lights on a timer as a way of conserving energy or you make arrangements with your neighbor to check on the house daily.

If you’re lodging at a hotel, be sure to do so at an energy-efficient one

Locate hotels that have a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design certification by the United States Green Building Council, or an Energy Star certification by the Environmental Protection Agency. You may use websites like iStayGreen to search for green lodging options.

Find the most efficient way to travel across two locations

A very small amount of energy is used by direct, non-stop flights. It doesn’t really make sense to fly thousands of miles out of your way just to save a few bucks, does it?

Skip the car rental service once in a while, and opt for bike rentals or public transport. This allows you to save two kinds of green.

Eat at restaurants that use local ingredients

Besides having a better
taste of the cuisine, you will also avoid foods that have been shipped or flown
in (an energy waste) and also help boost local agriculture.

Refill your reusable water bottles at the hotel.

If you are going somewhere without potable water, be sure to recycle your plastic water bottles.

Is your destination a heritage site or a popular national park? Let your trip hold during the off-season. Big crowds impact negatively on natural settings, due to waste left behind and erosion. Also, you can have the area all to yourself.

Purchasing some carbon offsets wouldn’t be a bad idea.

With TerraPass, you can have an estimate of the carbon footprint of your trip and then buy offset certificates, each one equivalent to a metric ton of carbon dioxide emissions. Spread the news that you are carbon neutral.

Use a train.

Agreed, it may take longer for you to reach your destination, but train travel is very economical and energy-efficient compared to cars and planes.

Be careful when choosing your destination.

Mass tourism has dealt harshly with many of the world’s greatest natural wonders. Be sure to visit locations that are focused on preservation. Such locations are present in Belize, Hawaii, Kenya, and Costa Rica.

Do not waste water.

Many popular travel and holiday resorts have drastic shortages of clean water. Always make your showers short, and hang up your bathroom towels rather than wash them every day.

Do some recycling.

Do not expect a recycle bin in every location you visit. You may have to trek an extra block, ask someone, or save it till you get back home.

Your feedback is important.

Wherever you travel, be sure to suggest green options to management. If the hotel you stay in doesn’t do recycling, you have the right to ask why. Their willingness to take the right decision will be determined by the number of people that pressurize with questions.

Rent a fuel-efficient economy-sized car or a hybrid car.

Do not waste energy in your hotel.

It may not be your duty to pay the electricity bill, but you can help minimize the energy used by turning off the TV and the lights, and turning off the AC or heat while you are away.

Research your tour operators prior to booking, and look for guides specializing in eco-travel. These guides will have more respect and consideration for the environment and only host small groups.

Do not leave anything behind.

If you are camping or hiking, be sure to leave everything as you met it. That’s basically the same thing you do as a guest in someone’s home.

If you take pleasure in volunteering at home, you can do the same while away. Volunteer tourism is a very effective way of giving back to communities all over the world in a tangible way. You could help restore hiking trails in a forgotten nature preserve, teach language at a small village in Africa, or work with scientists to find ways to protect endangered species.

Pack clothing that can be worn more than once without washing.

By so doing, you can save space in the suitcase, and also avoid wasting water on washing clothes while on vacation.

Enjoy yourself.

Enrichment and entertainment is the basis of travel. That experience can be enhanced by helping the environment, not take away from it. Always be sure to enjoy yourself!

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