Travel Light

Five Tips for a More Eco-Friendly Trip




When asked for advice about how to avoid creating emissions that contribute to global warming and be a cool traveler, travel experts at eco-tour outfitter Natural Habitat Adventures, in Boulder, Colorado (nathab.com) offered these five simple ways to avoid making our next vacation a guilt trip.

Stay neutral. Going the group tour route? Check for green credentials. Increasingly, travel outfitters are bolstering an ongoing commitment to sustainable travel by going carbon neutral. Programs may include recycling and renewable energy use, and then buying offsets to make up the difference to guarantee carbon neutral trips for guests. Even some major online travel companies offer travelers offset options when they make reservations.

Chart a green course. New eco-maps chart the natural and cultural environments to suggest low-impact activities and resources wherever we travel. Green Map System provides “green” maps of some 302 spots around the globe (GreenMap.org).

Take a train. Europe isn’t the only place worth traveling by train. Check into train or bus options in other countries, as well. In the United States, railroad shuttles up and down the Eastern Seaboard are particularly quick and convenient.

Fuel for thought. Committed to a road trip? Keep the car well-tuned and tires properly inflated to pollute less—and cut gas costs up to 15 percent. Try to buy gas from a more environmentally responsible oil company: The Sierra Club recently updated its Pick Your Poison guide to gasoline, and Sunoco continues to receive its “top of the barrel” rating.

Better yet, rent a hybrid or biofuel green car from a mainstream rental company. Or, consider a local hybrid car-sharing service. Whatever your vehicle choice, consider joining an Earth-friendly auto club such as Better World Club, which offers discounts on hybrid cars and eco-travel—and even roadside assistance for bicycles.

In transit. When flying to a destination, eschew using individual cabs in favor of public transit or a hotel shuttle to and from the airport. Or, hail a hybrid cab: Chicago, New York, San Francisco and London all have added hybrid taxis to their fleets, and Planet Tran offers a hybrid taxi reservation service in several major cities on the east and west coasts. When visiting a city, remember to plan the day around walking destinations and local public transit options.


Source: Adapted from Life.Gaiam.com.

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