Some “Green options” for you for saving the planet.
This is a Guest post written by Heather Green.
Green Travel Options
Green travel, also known as ecotourism or responsible travel, focuses on reducing your carbon footprint and your use of natural resources while you’re traveling, whether near or far. While some trips will leave you with few green options (a 17-hour flight to some parts of the world may be unavoidable unless you have a few months to go by ship), there are a number of things you can do to reduce the impact that your trip has on the environment. Here are a few things to keep in mind:
Stay Close to Home
Of course, the best way to reduce your carbon footprint is not to travel too far. Staycations are becoming more popular – vacations that take place in your own town or in a nearby town. However, depending on where you live, there are likely many interesting places to visit that are within a day’s trip by train, a much more eco-friendly way to travel than car or plane. If you have access to a rail service that offers hybrid or electric technology, all the better.
Choose Small Cruise Ships
Cruises are a popular option for many travelers, as they offer value-priced packages and arranged travel. However, most cruise ships carry thousands of passengers and produce hundreds of thousands of pounds or gallons of waste. Opt for smaller cruise ships that cater to independent travelers. These ships produce far less waste and offer travelers a more unique experience, stopping at less-frequented ports and smaller towns.
Pick Green Accommodations
Many hotels are starting to renovate their facilities to consume less energy and water and to recycle what waste they do produce. Search for hotels and other lodgings that incorporate these practices. If you’re really feeling adventurous, you can also try a house swap or couch surfing. With a house swap, you will have to be prepared to trade your own living quarters for the use of the home of a person living in your destination. You will have to coordinate your schedules to take your trip at the same time. Couch surfing allows you to find volunteers willing to let you sleep on their couch or in an extra room in exchange for small gestures such as preparing dinner one night or leaving a small gift. Both are great options for eco-conscious travelers.
You’ve already traveled far enough to your destination; don’t contribute to the consumption of more natural resources by buying goods that also had to travel to your destination for you to purchase them. Buy goods that are made locally to reduce carbon footprint, and you’ll also have an authentic souvenir from your trip. After all, why go to India to buy a sari that was made in China?
Finally, one of the best ways to travel responsibly is to combine your wanderlust with social altruism. There are many programs that allow travelers to volunteer abroad, either at schools, on farms, with local organizations, or even on cruise ships. You can find placements that last as little as a week or two or as long as several years. Search carefully to find the right assignment for you: Some programs charge you for placement, and others can promote activities that are attractive to travelers but harmful to the local economy and culture.
When you’re on vacation, it may seem like the time to forget about all your troubles and cares and to just let loose. However, if you don’t plan ahead, your good time could contribute to cumulative consequences for the environment. Consider these easy-to-incorporate green travel options the next time you plan a trip.
Born and raised in North Carolina, Heather Green has worked as a fashion and beauty consultant as well as freelancing for various wedding, fashion, and health publications. She currently acts as the resident blogger for Online Nursing Degrees where she’s been researching online bsn programs as well as online nursing admin degrees.