The Green Travel Series is now complete. We hope you enjoyed reading the series as much as we enjoyed writing it. For those who want the series in an easy reference format, here it is:
Green Travel Series
- 31 Reasons to Travel Green: In Pictures
- Defining Green Travel
- Ultimate Directory of Top Green Travel Destinations
- 12 Paper-Free Guidebooks
- 4 Principles for Choosing Green Transportation
- 6 Pieces of Travel Gear You Should Buy New
- 12 Things You Need to Know About Carbon Offsets
- How to Find Green Accommodations
- Drinking Green Anywhere in the World
- Tips for Healthy Water Abroad
- Sustainable Dining Guide
- 11 Tips and Tricks for Greening your Hotel Stay
- Volunteering Abroad – 10 Things to Know
- 21 Resources for Volunteering Abroad & Why You Should Do It
- How to Take Culturally Sensitive Photos
- How to Find Sustainable Souvenirs
- 6 Tips for a Green Return Home
photo credit: kevin dooley
Here are some innovations in Green Travel:
Increased fees for airfares makes travel more expensive. But it has also encouraged more earth friendly practices, such as packing light, and taking fewer and/or longer plane trips.
More Public Transportation and Hybrid Rental Cars
Despite budget cuts, most cities are still expanding their mass public transportation options. For instance, in Minneapolis there is another Light Rail Line being constructed. When cities increase their public transportation options it’s easier for travelers to get around. If you can’t use public transit, you can always rent a hybrid rental car, which wasn’t really an option 3 years ago.
New Green Products
Yesterday we highlighted some new green travel products including companies competing for making the lightest luggage, and new stainless steel water bottles and glass water bottles (like the Alex Bottle we featured yesterday). Everyday we get many emails about new products that will make travel “greener” in some way.
Easier Ways to Buy Used
Despite the advances in green travel gear, there are still there are still duds – like disposable underwear -that encourage waste and make travel more about consuming products than actually enjoying the trip. Luckily, in part because of the bad economy, it’s easier than ever to buy used. From Craigslist, to Ebay, to Thrift Store Shopping
More Green Content
Luckily, more people are writing about the wonders of responsible travel. This increased awareness builds interest and knowledge of how to be a little bit friendlier. Keep reading about environmentally friendly travel and continue to support these writers.
5 simple ways to travel greener
Are there ways to travel greener? (Does that even make sense grammatically?!) We are always looking for ways to be more green. We know it is often more difficult while traveling as we don’t have our habits and routines to support us. But when we flew from Washington, DC to West Palm Beach, FL to visit our relative, we made it our mission, however small, to try to improve.
You may think, “Am I making a difference?” We were of the mindset that little things add up to make a very big difference. Here are five simple things we did to reduce our environmental impact as we looked for ways to travel green.
Ways to Travel Greener – 5 Simple Things We Did on Our Trip to Florida
- Getting there: Took a direct flight to the closest airport. We’re frugal travelers so we considered cheaper tickets with layovers, which would mean flying further from our destination. But the flights that went to Miami International Airport would mean driving an additional 60 miles to our destination. We thought about the convenience factor and the environmental impact of the cheaper flights and opted to spend more to fly non-stop to Palm Beach.
- Getting around: Rented a car. Although we advocate for public transportation, it’s not always an option. Our choices were to ask our relative to pick us up and drop us off at the airport (which would have been harsher on the environment with the extra trip there and back), take a cab (which would have been brutal on our wallets), or rent a car at the airport, which we could also drive to the beach.photo credit: TroyM
- Accommodations: Stayed with someone. Instead of sleeping in a hotel where rooms are cleaned and mini shampoos restocked daily, we opted to stay with our family member. If you don’t know anyone in the town you’re visiting, check out Couchsurfing. You can crash with fellow couchsurfers for free, plus they’ll show you around town.
- Entertainment: Opted for free activities. Instead of going out to bars or movies, which would have burned gas and money, we chose to stay closer to the house for entertainment. We went for long walks in the much appreciated warmer climate, read books by the pool, and watched movies at home.
- Food: Dined in. We saved resources by eating breakfast and lunch at home. By eating in, we both avoided the usual restaurant waste (like unused straws that are thrown away, extra utensils that are washed anyway, and dishes that get cleaned in wasteful commercial dishwashers) and saved the gas it would have taken to drive there. When we did go out to eat, we either split our meal or took the leftovers to go so they didn’t go to waste.
There are some more obvious tips that you are probably already doing… combined with our above list of ways to travel greener, you will be an uber-green traveler. Leave the soaps and shampoos in your hotel room; reuse/hang your towels; shop at the local grocery store instead of eating in restaurants (and bring a reusable bag or two); carry a reusable water bottle; recycle; and walk whenever you can.
Once you become conscious and mindful about ways to travel greener, it can become a fun challenge. You will see how little changes add up to make a big difference. You may inspire others around you to pick up some new habits as well.
5 Green Reasons to Time Your Travel with the Weather
Sunny days with fewer tourists are the most cited reasons for traveling in the late spring and early fall. But by traveling “weather consciously” you also can be a much greener traveler.
photo credit: preciouskhyatt
Here are 5 ways that traveling with the weather will make your travels more eco-friendly:
1 Winter Jacket, 1 Pair Heavy Boots, 3 Pair Long Pants, 3 Long Sleeve Shirts, 2 Sweaters, 1 Pair Mittens, 1 Hat
Total Weight: 14 Pounds
1 Light Jacket, 1 Pair Walking Shoes, 2 Pairs Shorts, 1 Pair Light Pants, 3 Short Sleeve Shirts
Total Weight: 6 Pounds
Warm weather means that you need to pack less. When you pack light, less energy is needed to transport your stuff.
No Air Conditioning/Heat
If you time your travel with the weather, you can visit most countries during a season where you won’t need heat or air conditioning. Just open your window and the weather outside will be comfortable.
Longer Days = Fewer Lights
In the late Spring and early Fall, the sun stays out longer than during winter. Thus, you don’t need to turn on your lights until later at night, meaning less electricity gets used.
Walking 3 miles to the museum doesn’t seem very appealing in 10F degree cold or 100F degree heat. But, when it’s 65F degrees who can resist an enjoyable stroll to your destination?
Fresh, Locally Grown Produce
During Fall, there’s an abundant harvest and in Spring greens taste fresher than ever. When you time your travel with the seasons your food is more likely to be fresh and locally grown.
Luckily, it’s now officially Spring in the Northern Hemisphere and Fall in the Southern Hemisphere, so pack your bags.