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Five Ways to Travel More Eco-Friendly in 2016

Traveling is one of the best ways to see the world, experience new cultures and broaden your horizons, but it can also be one of the most damaging activities to Mother Earth. Luckily, there are some quick changes you can make to ensure your next vacation is fun AND eco-friendly.

Traveling more eco-friendlyFind the Best Destination

Finding a new and exciting destination to explore is the best part of vacation, but getting there is also the part that can do the most damage to the environment. According to the Union of Concerned Scientists, 40 percent of the nation’s fossil-fuel related carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions is related to U.S. travel. Selecting a great destination is key to traveling eco-friendly. Look for a location that not only meets your vacation criteria (beach, a big city, etc.), but one that doesn’t require you to travel too far.

The location itself can offer a wide variety of eco-friendly options, too. Select a destination that is easy to walk, offers public transportation or a plethora of sight-seeing tours on bike or foot.

Consider your Mode of Transportation

Once you’ve selected your destination, take time to really consider your mode of transportation to get there. Ideally, if your vacation doesn’t require you to travel far, you can drive there. If you’re planning on driving to your destination, make sure to take your car in for a tune-up and oil change, to check the battery, tires and more. This simple tune-up can help improve gas mileage, reducing your carbon footprint, and can help keep you safe on your travels!

The most economical mode of travel is typically to drive a regular or hybrid car or take a motor coach. If you can’t drive to your destination, consider looking into taking a train. If you must take a flight to get to your destination, try to make sure it’s a non-stop flight, as a plane uses more fuel during takeoff and landing. Limiting that time can help conserve fuel and limit your carbon footprint.

Travel Consciously Once you Arrive

Instead of hailing taxis or renting cars, consider getting around in other ways. Riding a bike or walking lets you get a good look at the surrounding area and all of the entertainment and sights that are available. (Many cities have bikes to rent if you fly and can’t bring one in your car.) If you’re roadtripping to your destination, bring along your electric scooter! That can be a fun and more eco-conscious way to get around once you reach your destination. Just make sure your electric scooter battery is charged and ready to go, or pack a charger.

Look into Environmentally-Friendly Accommodations

More and more hotels are embracing environmentally-friendly practices. Before booking a hotel at your destination, do a little research or give them a call to see if they are environmentally friendly. Check to see if they recycle, if the building itself is energy efficient and if they use environmentally-friendly energy sources.

Once you’ve arrived, there are a few things you can do to reduce your waste. Ask that housekeeping does not change your sheets or towels every day, instead opting for every few days. Recycle when you can and before you leave the room, turn off your TV, air conditioning and lights, reducing the amount of energy used.

Want to take it a step further? Ditch the hotel entirely and stay with family or friends in the area or rent a room in the area.

Pack Light

Simply put, the more pounds of luggage on a plane, the more fuel it needs to fly. Before you pack your fourth pair of shoes, think about if you’ll really need them. Wear your heaviest clothing and shoe items while traveling, and pack your luggage as light as possible. It can help the environment and help ease your travels, too, as you’ll have less heavy bags to carry.

Eat Local

 

The best part of traveling to a new destination is embracing the culture and learning more about the area. One the easiest ways to do this is via the local cuisine. Avoid chain restaurants whenever possible and make sure you’re dining at restaurants that use local, fresh ingredients, as this can significantly reduce the carbon footprint of your meal. And, best of all, you get to support small, local businesses, making your travel incredibly impactful to the local economy.