Thinking about taking a vacation? If you’re an eco-minded person, you may be wondering about the best ways to travel responsibly and in a way that’s kind to the environment. Following are a few green-living tips for your upcoming trip:
1. Forget the car, go biking
Biking is a great way to enjoy the outdoors and to spend some quality time with your friends and family. You combine a great way to exercise with adventure and travel while reducing your carbon footprint! If you’re up for a challenge, consider participating in a community or national cycling event.
2. Fly carefully
There are a couple of factors involved in choosing responsible flights. Larger planes are believed to be more fuel-efficient than smaller planes. It is also more economical to choose a seat on a full plane rather than one with many vacant seats. Also, studies show that some airlines are greener than others. According to a study by Greenopia, Virgin Airlines in the US and Air France in Europe are among the best airlines in term of fuel conservation, alternative fuels and recycling, among other factors.
3. Manage pets responsibly
Make sure that the furry members of your family are well taken care of during your travels. Ingrid Newkirk, president of PETA and author of Making Kind Choices, advises hiring a reliable pet sitter rather than boarding animals if they will not be joining you on your adventure. If you’re flying an animal with you, Newkirk suggests investing in a sturdy carrier to avoid any escape acts. She also encourages pet parents to fly animals only on non-stop flights during temperate weather to ensure the health of animals traveling in the cargo hold.
4. Buy great local food
You can support the local market at your target destination while simultaneously enjoying wholesome food and promoting a green lifestyle. It’s a great way to try new things. Also, avoid buying souvenirs made from endangered species of plants or animals. Be conscious of what you buy!
5. Stay down on the farm
There are many programs that allow you to stay at a farm as a guest, or by offering a helping hand in exchange for food and shelter. The option of staying at a farm offers a unique experience while contributing to the success of a local farmer. This is a good option if you’re concerned about the carbon footprint of staying in a hotel. While many hotel chains have made strides in measuring and trying to reduce their energy expenditures, the InterContinental Hotels Group still estimates that their total carbon footprint is an around 9 million metric tons.
6. Rent a hybrid car
Ask your rental company for fuel efficient options. Although they might seem like a trend, hybrid cars are much more economically feasible than your average gas-guzzler with the added bonus of being more environmentally friendly. Avoid any upgrades that rental companies may offer that might increase gas consumption.
7. Use public transportation
Railroads remain one of the best ways of transportation in terms of having a small carbon footprint. Taking advantage of public transportation options like light rail, subways and bus systems equates to fewer cars on the road and consequently a smaller amount of air emissions from cars. Public transportation like train travel can be fun. There is also the added convenience of not having to worry about or pay for parking. So leave your car at home!
There is a great, big, fantastic world out there for exploring! Just be sure to take small, simple steps that will allow you to help preserve the Earth while you enjoy it on your vacation. Bon voyage!