There’s no time like summer for a vacation, preferably an exotic one, or at least one that takes you away from your everyday existence and surroundings. Usually that means travel, and we all know that a lot of our modern transport systems are not environmentally friendly. Whatever you can do to green your mode of travel this summer will be a small gift for the environment that sustains us all.
When it comes to getting around, the worst contributors to carbon emissions, global warming and climate change are planes and cars. With the time constraints of modern living they may be necessary sometimes, but there are still ways to manage your carbon footprint and embrace green travel. Make an effort to fly with an airline that has a carbon offset program (usually that’s planting trees). Make sure you fly by the shortest route, even if it does cost a bit more.
If you have to get to your destination by car, make it a green one. If you’re renting a car, look for hybrid or electric one that is more environmentally friendly. Even better, use another form of transportation, like a bus or train, to get to your general location then rent an eco-car to get about. That’s potentially a money-saving strategy as well as a green travel solution.
For full-on green travel, find ways of eliminating planes and cars altogether. Vacation destinations closer to home can be just as rewarding as far-flung places. New activities can be just as engaging as new countries. For activity or action vacations, going hiking, biking or kayaking is a way to see new places without massively magnifying your carbon footprint. If you want adrenaline, shooting rapids will give you as much of a thrill as jet-skiing.
Green vacations don’t have to be about exploring the wilderness. A city break can qualify as green travel too. Choose your city destination carefully and you can explore it on foot or by using public transportation. That’s the best way to get to know a place, rather than seeing the world through a car window.
Green travel is also about where you stay when you’re on your break. Staying at an eco lodge in the wild is greener than an air-conditioned hotel. Low-impact accommodations like tents don’t have to be primitive, so for those of you who are not happy with the idea of camping in the great outdoors or sleeping on the floor, luxury camping options, called Glamping, are now available. Another thing to consider is the company you travel with, if it’s an organized trip. There are plenty of companies committed to green travel and environmentally ethical tourism. The good ones put back into the environment, instead of just profiting from it.
Being a green traveller is easy with a bit of research, planning and lateral thinking. Take it on board and you can make the most of your summer with a green, clean conscience.