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No matter how hard you try to live green at home, it may feel like some aspects of your carbon footprint are outside of your control. In places like the office or on vacation, is it possible for us to make conscious decisions about our environmental impact? 

Tourism accounts for 5% of greenhouse gas emissions today, most of which is due to transportation. We can’t always control that some areas are only accessible by plane, for example. But, we can take steps toward green travel.

Are you ready to make sure your vacation is as eco-friendly as possible? It will take planning to reduce your travel footprint, but these tips will help you get started. Read on to find out how you can make a difference.

Reduce Travel Waste

Vacations often lend themselves to the use of convenience products. Single-use items, plastics, and disposable containers are more common when we are away from home. 

Cut your use of disposable products by thinking ahead. Bring reusable water bottles and toiletry containers, and travel with a folding shopping bag. Turn down plastic bags, straws, and other sundry items along the way.

Methods of Travel

Transportation can make a big difference in your eco-impact while on vacation. While you might have to take a plane, opt for airlines that invest in biofuel technology initiatives to reduce their fuel emissions.

Consider alternative forms of travel when possible, such as by high-speed train or in a rented hybrid car. Destinations where you can traverse on foot or by bicycle after your arrival are ideal. Don’t forget public transpiration, where possible. 

Leave No Trace

Be mindful of what you leave behind when you depart from an area, and never litter. Identify and use recycling procedures in each area you travel in. 

Take local environmental issues into consideration when you travel. Some areas might be in water crisis or other serious conditions to be mindful of.

Visit and learn about local protected areas. Your funds will help provide for conservation efforts in the future.

Travel to Sustainable Places

Plan your vacations around locations that value sustainable practices. The Environmental Performance Index of 2018 reports that Switzerland, France, and Denmark are excelling in eco-policy. 

Choose a destination that prioritizes environmental health and ecosystem vitality. It means they are more likely to have policies in place that protect the planet from harmful tourism practices. 

A knowledgeable travel resource like FTD travel can help you learn more about a wealth of location options for eco-friendly tourism. You can use their website to search for specific low-impact activities such as cycling, horseback riding, rafting, and skiing. A simple search turns up locations that match your activity criteria. 

Make Eco-Conscious Reservations

Investigate the policies of the hotels you make reservations to stay in. Give priority to those with zero-plastic policies, green cleaning chemicals, and renewable energy. 

Aim to use as few resources as possible during your stay. Take economical showers, and use towels more than once. Hotels with low-flow toilets and shower heads and high-efficiency appliances can help ensure your impact is as low as possible.

Look For Low-Impact, Community Activities

Do events such as walking tours, hikes, biking excursions, and other zero-emissions activities. Make it a mission to reduce your fuel consumption.

Research your tour guide companies by asking if they employ locals. Do they protect local wildlife, and follow eco-friendly practices? 

For every $100 spent in tourism dollars, only $5 on average saturates the local economy. Choose travel and tourism companies that focus on benefiting local communities directly. Prioritizing locally owned establishments can funnel much-needed tourism support into a community.

Consider volunteering your time with a local conservation group on your trip. Join in on an ethical clean-up day, or support non-profits that advocate for sustainable travel practices. 

Never Buy Wildlife Souvenirs

Many souvenirs available may be made from resources such as shells, furs, bone, and similar. It may feel like you are supporting a craftsman by purchasing these sorts of items. In reality, you could unintentionally be supporting a marketplace that traffics endangered animals.

Buying local, hand-made goods is a wonderful way to support locals with your tourism. Choose items that do not exploit animal populations or encourage over-hunting.

Observe Animal Welfare

Like wildlife souvenirs, activities you take part in may be contributing to the captivity and abuse of animals for the amusement of tourists.

Common examples include petting zoos, elephant rides, trained monkeys, and similar. While these may seem harmless, animals kept for tourist entertainment are often captured from the wild and poorly treated.

Only take part in wildlife-centered activities that are focused on preservation and rehabilitation. Enjoying animals in their natural habitat and supporting programs that help these creatures will help fund research and protection for endangered and at-risk animal populations.

Green Travel Is Possible

While you may not be able to achieve 100% green travel, taking a sustainable and eco-conscious approach to vacations is possible. Your impact will vary depending on where you travel, but making a concerted effort is what counts.

Sustainable travel will take research and planning. As more countries turn their eye toward the impact we are having on climate change, travelers will find it easier to make Earth-friendly travel plans. Start today by employing our advice, and you’ll be well on your way to making the planet a greener place.

Want more tips on how you can make an even bigger positive impact? Check out our beginner’s guide on how to live a no-waste lifestyle!

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