4 Tips for Sustainable Tourism

March7, 2012 by Shannalee in Solar Living

(Image source: <a href="http://www.justpictureitnow.com/2011/02/16/time-for-green-travel/">JustPictureItNow.com</a>)

If you’re like many Americans, the spring and summer months bring more than warmer temperatures and longer daylight—these seasons mean new opportunities for leisure travel, from Spring Break to summer vacation. And whether your travel plans have you hitting the beach or heading out west, our eco-friendly travel tips will help you make the most of your journey, both for yourself and for the planet!

Pack Light. The less you pack, the less you have to carry, which is not only good for the sake of convenience, it’s good for your peace of mind. A lighter load means a lighter burden on your car or airplane, meaning less fuel consumed. Plus, as an added bonus, it means a lighter financial load, too, as you eliminate those checked luggage fees.

Take Public Transportation. If your travels will take you to a major city, consider cutting the gas and parking costs of driving your own vehicle, and use public transportation instead. According to the Federal Transit Administration, this is one of the most beneficial steps a person can take to helping the environment. A recent FTA study shows that “If just one driver per household switched to taking public transportation for [20 miles a day of travel], this would save 4,627 pounds of carbon dioxide per household per year—equivalent to an 8.1% reduction in the annual carbon footprint of a typical American household.”

Go Green with Your Lodgings. There are many ways to make eco-friendly choices in your accommodations, whether that means staying with a friend or looking for a green hotel. Among amenities, green hotels can “can use amenities like low-flow showerheads, give you the option to not wash your towel every day, offer eco-friendly shampoos and soaps, and clean it with green cleaners every day,” says Collin Dunn at Planet Green. “They can serve local and organic food in the restaurant downstairs, use furniture that doesn’t contain PBDEs and other icky chemicals, and put motion sensors on the lights so the lights don’t get left on all day when they don’t have to be.

Keep Up Green Habits. Just because you’re traveling doesn’t mean the same eco-friendly habits you practice at home no longer apply. Turn off lights when you leave the place where you’re staying, avoid water waste, reuse your towels and look for ways to reduce your carbon footprint, both at home and away.

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