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How to Travel Green

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


  • 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.
  • TIP: Bring along a canvas tote bag, a commuter coffee mug, and a water bottle so you don’t have to use plastic bags, Styrofoam cups, and bottled water on the road.
  • 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.
  • TIP: If you’re flying, go by day. Due to complicated scientific reasons, night flights actually produce a greater warming effect than day flights.
  • 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 "":
  • FACT: Airplanes, with their carbon dioxide, nitrogen oxide, and methane emissions, contribute up to 3% of the globe's greenhouse gas pollution.

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

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