What does it mean to travel “green?”
It means you make an effort to protect and conserve the environment in the places you visit. A related buzzword in the travel world is “ecotourism,” a broader scope of conscientiousness that extends to respecting the local community, resources, and natural environment. Both reflect a growing trend towards global responsibility, and who can argue with that? If you are ready to take a Swiffer to your carbon footprint, these ten tips will get you started. Don’t worry, you don’t have to sacrifice the feeling of being on vacation to be green, just a few small changes make a big difference!
1. Walk. Put on your sassy shoes, and walk.
2. Stay somewhere locally owned. Support local bed and breakfasts, hotels, and hostels, and try to avoid large corporate-owned establishments that take business away from the community.
3. Avoid being wasteful by carrying the basics. Bring reusable utensils, a water bottle, and your own toiletries. You can still eat the chocolates, though.
4. Remember that the US uses almost twenty percent of the world’s energy; we are the energy guzzlin’ exception, not the rule. Be frugal: turn lights off, take short showers, and avoid using heat or air conditioning.
5. Reuse your towels and sheets! It saves water and energy. Your hair does not need its own towel, folks.
6. If you absolutely must drive, use a gas-efficient car or ask for a hybrid.
7. When shopping, try to buy local. Not only will you take home authentic (and often better priced) souvenirs, you will support local craftsmen. Use the opportunity to practice the language and negotiate!
8. Respect nature. Obey rules about what you may and may not touch when snorkeling, hiking, and scuba diving. Always pick up your trash and leave the animals alone!
9. Pack light to reduce the fuel usage on airplanes. You’re doing your part to save energy!
10. The best way to feel like a local: always use public transportation. You’ll reduce carbon emissions, meet amazing people, and have time to look out the window at all of the nature you’re protecting. Win, win, and win.