Simply put, green travel is travel in which a positive environmental impact is kept to a maximum and a negative environmental impact is kept to a minimum. Keeping your carbon footprint as tiny as possible while traveling will help preserve the entire planet, including that favorite vacation spot you always visit. That being said, traveling green sounds like something any traveler would be interested in, right? Right, but although many travelers may be interested in Green Travel it can seem a little intimidating or complicated and not everyone knows where to start. SO, I put together this Green Travel Plan that makes traveling green easy for anyone, no matter what their shade of green. What’s even better is you don’t have to camp out in the jungle or hike from place to place to make an impact (unless of course, that’s what you’re into). Remember, every little bit counts and following any or all of these steps will add up to a world of change.
A Green Travel Plan for Everyone and Every Trip
Before You Go:
Help be a part of the solution by booking with a green organization like the Green Travel Hub by RezHub.com; they actually donate 20% of the proceeds from every trip to an environmental group so that every trip can make a difference. They donate whether the travel you choose is labeled green or not.
Consider booking with Green Travel Options like green hotels, hybrid rental cars, and carbon offsetting programs. RezHub also offers all these programs.
When renting a car, choose Enterprise. They not only have the largest selection of hybrid and fuel efficient cars available for rent, they also take huge steps for the environment. They’ve pledged to plant 50 million trees over the next 50 years, they donate millions to alternative fuel research, and the list goes on.
Look for hotels with a green certifications or a “Green Score.” In the Green Score program, hotels can earn points and Green Branches for each environmental program they have in place. While some hotels may only have one leaf, keep in mind that even one leaf is a step in the right direction. It’s important to support the green efforts that each hotel takes because it shows management that they are doing the right thing, and it encourages further expansion of green programs. Remember, where one leaf sprouts, another is sure to follow!
Offset your Carbon Footprint. Choosing to go carbon neutral is one of the gateways to responsible travel. It’s easy to do, and it’s inexpensive! We suggest offsetting your carbon footprint with Sustainable Travel International and MyClimate. Their program is the best we’ve seen in that it’s comprehensive and supports both kinds of offsetts. They’ll let you calculate your exact offset, or you can choose a standard donation from all the way up to 0.
While You’re There:
Plan to green-up your stay, and feel good about where you’re going. These are some really simple steps you can take to help green up your stay, even if you didn’t book with a Green Scored Hotel
• Encourage the hotel you chose to go green or thank them for the green programs that they participate in! Speak with the management and let them know that green options are important to you.
• If your hotel has a sheets and towels reuse program, use it. If they don’t, start your own! Let housekeeping know that you don’t need them to replace your sheets and towels every day; this will reduce energy and water usage.
• Turn off the lights, air conditioner or heater, and the electronics in your room while you’re out. • Turn off the water when you brush your teeth, and take shorter showers.
• Bring your own toiletries, or if you use what the hotel provides make sure to take what’s leftover home with you.
Take nothing but photographs, leave nothing but footprints…
• When you’re visiting a park or any natural setting, don’t disturb the plants or wildlife. • Never buy anything made from an endangered animal or plant.
• Make sure you save any trash until you find a garbage can, and wherever possible save your recyclables for a recycling drop-off. Check out http://www.earth911.org to find a recycling drop off center in the US.
• Whenever you can, shop and buy from the local vendors. This helps support the local economy, and submerges you in the areas culture.
• Try to avoid the large chains that carry goods shipped in from overseas. All that shipping creates tons of CO2 and the large chains can push the locals out of business (if you wanted to shop at Wal-Mart you could’ve stayed home, right?) .
• Consider volunteering some time on your trip. Spending even just one day volunteering makes a difference. Contact not-profit organizations in the area and set something up before you go.
• Check out the Volunteer Travel Hub where you can find the perfect place to lend a hand. These bite-sized volunteer vacations (short term) are free and can be included on any trip!
When You Get Home:
Write a letter or send an email to the hotel you stayed in, the airline you flew and the rental car company you chose. Thank them for going green or encourage them to do so.
Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or post to RezHub.com’s Green Travel Forums, if you tell them about how you turned your trip green, you might even win a FREE trip!
Keep these tips in mind while you’re at home too, conserving resources almost always saves you green in the long run. And remember, it really is true that every little bit counts. If each of us took just one of these steps, imagine the difference it would make. I’ll end with a quote from Margaret Mead, “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”
Melissa Evans is an avid environmentalist and the Marketing Director for RezHub.com. Having experience in both the environmental and travel industries, she is a green travel expert.
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Ideas and suggestions for travelling with wetshaving gear. Also a side-trip to discuss shave sticks.
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