Have you been considering eco-travel? While most of us opt not to travel often or far in our efforts to live sustainably and cut down on emissions associated with long distance travel, especially when it comes to flying, there are times when it may be necessary: the holidays, business or other special occasions, for instance.
If you're planning on traveling any length of distance now or in the future, here are some tips to make it as green as possible.
The less you pack, the more fuel efficient you'll be because the less weight you have to move. This goes for any method of eco-travel transportation: bus, car, plane, etc.
Perhaps you're planning a family reunion, wedding or other event. If you happen to have a very large family spread out across the US, see if there might be a central locale where you could all meet, so instead of the majority of the family traveling all the way from one coast to the other, you'll consider a place that gives shorter travel distance all around. The goal is less total miles for the group as a whole.
If you'll be lodging in a hotel, try and find the greenest one possible. Ask things like:
Along with what the hotel does, here are a few things for you to do:
Just because you're "traveling" or on "vacation" doesn't mean that you should have to compromise your values. Eating organic and locally like you do at home can be done anywhere, as with recycling, walking to the grocery store instead of driving, purchasing less, etc.
In general, attempt to live just as you do at home, with just the same efforts at being green.
Whenever possible, opt for bus or train over planes for long distance eco-travel. According to the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS), two people traveling by bus instead of air can reduce CO2 emissions anywhere from 55-75% depending on the length of the trip. A bus is even better then using or renting a hybrid car and should use just half the emissions the two would build up in the car.
For greatest fuel efficiency, make sure your tires are correctly inflated, the oil is changed and your car has had a recent tune up. Drive like you're not in a rush, even if you are. The more aggressive you drive, the lower your mpg will be. If possible, see if you can find rideshares or carpool with others who might be headed to the same area. You'll save on gas in addition to lowering negative environmental impact. Read here for more tips on improving fuel economy.
If you're traveling by air, you may want to consider purchasing carbon offsets that can help balance out the negative impact your air travel will create. Some airlines will even give you the option to purchase your offset at the time of purchase of your tickets! When applicable, try to get flights with Virgin, Continental and Horizon, the top three rated green airlines based on a variety of factors. Also, opt for electronic tickets over paper and try to find flights that have in-flight recycling options to ad to your eco-travel efforts.
Regardless of how you're traveling (even if it's just your day-to-day commute), please consider offsetting your footprint with eco-travel carbon offsets. With a company like TerraPass.com you can purchase credits equal to the amount of travel you've done; these credits go toward eco-friendly initiatives and projects.
Remember, little things add up, as do our bigger choices. If you're remaining mindful, eco-conscious and oriented to your values, you can travel without the guilt!
Freelancer, Jocelyn Anne, is a green content writer for Air & Water, Inc. and covers everything from energy efficient appliances to eco travel.
Eco-travel tips can help you make sustainable choices for those special occasions. But what about the rest of your life?
When you're ready for a few more steps check out the articles below.
Whatever step you take, remember to have fun!
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