How to Travel Green

Be kind to the environment on your next trip with these simple actions.

You will need

  • A green hotel
  • Restraint while packing
  • Public transportation or a hybrid rental
  • Your own toiletries
  • A carbon offset
  • Eco-friendly destination
  • Canvas shopping bag
  • Coffee mug
  • Water bottle
  • A day flight

Step 1 Consider eco-friendly destinations Consider taking a vacation with a small carbon footprint. Options include traveling by rail to an area where you can get around without a car, staying in an eco-friendly resort that’s made of recycled building materials and uses renewable energy, or booking a working vacation through an organization like Ethical Volunteering.

Step 2 Pack responsibly Pack as lightly as possible to minimize the fuel required for transportation. If every American packed 10 fewer pounds, it would save some 350 million gallons of fuel a year.

Step 3 Turn off and turn down Unplug all your electronics and appliances when you leave home for your trip. Lower your thermostat and water heater.

Step 4 Take public transportation Take public transportation wherever you can — to and from the airport or rail station, and at your destination. Or rent a hybrid car.

Step 5 Pick a green hotel Reserve a room in an eco-friendly hotel. If there is no certified green lodging where you’re going, choose a nonsmoking hotel that allows guests to reuse their towels and linens, uses compact fluorescent lighting and nontoxic cleaning products, and helps guests recycle.

Step 6 Use your own toiletries Ignore those little plastic bottles of shampoo, conditioner, and lotion in favor of your own toiletries.

Step 7 Turn off the lights Turn off every light when you leave your hotel. If you’re going to be gone all day, turn off the AC or lower the thermostat.

Step 8 Don’t waste paper Take only the tourist pamphlets that you really want or need.

Step 9 Buy a carbon offset When you get home, counteract the carbon footprint you left by making a donation to a charity that helps reduce greenhouse gas, like “”: or “”: