While most of us have a fairly good grasp on ways that we can lessen our impact on the environment at home and in our daily lives, sometimes we forget about the effect we have on the environment while we are traveling.
Fortunately, it is surprisingly easy to travel green, and with just a little bit of know-how and a small effort you can keep your travel fun and interesting while greatly reducing your carbon footprint. Here are a few tips to get you started:
1. Reconsider Your Mode of Transportation
Traveling by air is one of the largest contributors to global warming. Airplanes give off far more CO2 emissions than other modes of transportation such as buses or trains. While it is not always possible, one of the best things you can do to reduce your carbon footprint while traveling is to travel by train or bus rather than by plane.
Although the trip will take longer, it can be a fun way to travel and can actually be quite comfortable. You get to see lots of the countryside and at the same time will be doing something good to help preserve it. You may also want to consider booking an overnight train or bus trip so that you can sleep for the majority of it.
2. Pack Light
If you do choose to fly, you can help out by taking less luggage. The higher the weight of the luggage that a plane has to carry the more fuel it will consume. If you can lighten your own personal load you can also lighten the load on the plane and help reduce fuel consumption. Not only that, but your bags will by a lot easier to lug around when you get to your destination.
Interestingly, some airlines are asking customers to use the bathroom at the airport rather than on the flight. Again, like the luggage, this helps to lessen the amount of weight a plane has to carry and helps to reduce fuel consumption. While it may not seem like one trip to the bathroom would have that much of an impact, if everyone on the flight used the restroom before boarding it would amount to a fairly significant reduction in weight.
3. Take Advantage of Carbon Offset Programs
Many airlines are now offering carbon offset programs. Typically these programs allow passengers to make donations to environmental groups.
For instance, Delta allows you to contribute to the Conservation Fund’s Go Zero program. Your donation is used to plant trees to help offset the carbon emissions of the flight. Delta will match your contribution up to a certain dollar amount.
Other airlines offer similar programs as well, so be sure to ask about ways you can contribute when booking your flight.
4. Find a Hotel Close to the Action
Whether you are traveling or business or pleasure, try to find a hotel that is within walking distance of most of the things you plan to do on your trip. Not only will walking a few blocks each day help to get your blood pumping and give you some fresh air, but it will also eliminate the need for rental cars, buses or cabs.
You’ll save money by not having to pay for additional transportation, you’ll get a little bit of exercise and you’ll be doing something good for the planet.
5. Reduce Power Usage at Your Hotel
Work on cutting back on the amount of power you use at your hotel. Be sure to turn off all the lights and air conditioning before you leave your room. Dress in warmer or cooler clothes rather than turning up the heat or air conditioning. If you are staying more than one day at the hotel room consider skipping maid service unless you really need it. This helps cut down on the amount of laundry the hotel has to process which will help to conserve power as well.
Give one or all of these simple tips a try to cut down on your carbon footprint on your next trip. They’re easy enough to implement and if we all start doing them it can have a huge impact on the environment.