Tips for Traveling Green
Wednesday, March 13, 2013 • 9:58am
As winter is coming to an end (hopefully), we can all start thinking about summer, and maybe even a great summer vacation. Planning ahead always makes sense--more options are available, and a little planning often winds up saving money and hassle. Many green considerations are not only gentler to the earth but gentler to your wallet as well.
Fly or Drive? Want to figure out which is greener? Use a travel cost calculator to find out the cost of your trip both in dollars and in CO2 emissions. The bottom line is probably that driving is better for shorter trips, but flying might be better for longer trips. Keep in mind that non-stop flights have less of a negative impact than flights with stops because taking off and landing produce the most carbon emissions. Still feeling guilty? Look into purchasing carbon offsets, which you can buy from companies that will use your money to fund renewable energy projects.
Getting Around Once You're There. If you are renting a car when you get to your destination, consider choosing a hybrid. Better yet, rent bicycles for the whole family, or get in the habit of walking. Many vacation destinations are walkable or have excellent public transportation. Great for you and the planet.
Bring Your Own Reusable Water Bottles. Please! Those ubiquitous one-use bottles are awful for the environment. Reusable bottles come in all shapes and sizes so you can find the perfect one to suit your needs, and using a reusable bottle will save you money, too. Bring your empty bottle to the airport and fill it up at a water fountain after security. When you are out and about, keep it handy for hydrating on walks, hikes and tours. Look for stainless steel or BPA-free plastic bottles; there are plenty of choices.
Pack Light. There is nothing worse than lugging a load of luggage everywhere you go. Think before you pack. You'll save money on baggage fees and feel more mobile carrying less. Less weight also means less energy expended by you and your car or plane. There are lots of packing tips online; I like the Rick Steves list.
Eco-Tourism. Eco-tourism is low-impact tourism, often to less-traveled natural areas. It may include elements of education, conservation, and economic development. Places like Belize, Costa Rica, and the Galapagos Islands are popular as are other exotic and not-so-exotic locations. Even if this doesn't sound like your cup of tea, check out the New York Times article on Eco-Tourism and the places they recommend. Very cool.
More green traveling information, including lists of eco-friendly lodging and tour operators, is available on the Independent Traveler website. Happy travels!
By Beth Lovejoy, on behalf of the Summit Environmental Commission
The opinions expressed herein are the writer's alone, and do not reflect the opinions of TheAlternativePress.com or anyone who works for TheAlternativePress.com. TheAlternativePress.com is not responsible for the accuracy of any of the information supplied by the writer.