If you're planning a vacation and want it to be as eco-friendly as possible, EnviroCitizen.org knows that a little research can go a long way. You could hire a green vacation planner, however, if you don't want to spend the money on a green vacation planner or you are a do-it-yourself kind of traveler, you can create your own customized green vacation.
- The first step is to figure out how you're going to get to your destination. If you're traveling within North America, a train just might be the best option. It's the most energy-efficient, eco-friendly traveling option out there, so long as you can handle the extra time that it will take you to get there. If traveling by train isn't an option, consider buying carbon offset credits to neutralize the carbon footprint of your vacation.
- Stay at an eco-friendly resort. Hotels that cater to a sustainable, green sort of business plan can be found in practically any city and are not always more expensive than a comparable, traditional hotel.
- Use alternative methods of transportation. You could ride a bike, take public transportation or walk depending on your destination. You could also rent a hybrid vehicle.
- While vacationing, do it local! Eat foods that are local to the area and support farmers markets, if available. Purchase gifts that are made in the area, instead of buying some of the more mainstream tourism paraphernalia.
- Reuse items that tourists typically throw away, like plastic bottles.
- If you're not able to stay at an eco-friendly resort, ask the hotel staff to not change your sheets and towels every day (to cut down on water and chemical use). You can also help by turning off the air conditioner or heater in your room when you're not present.
- While vacationing at your destination, support environmental causes or issues in the area by recreating at national parks, beaches, mountains or other places where nature is preserved.
- Try to incorporate activities into your vacation that will enable you and your travel companions to learn about local environmental issues. By educating yourself, you can become an informed traveler that will maintain a connection to your destination (one of the most important aspects of any environmental cause is maintaining a connection to a place).
- Finally, in order to make your vacation as green as possible, leave your home in the right condition. Unplug every appliance except for the refrigerator (unless you are leaving for an extended period of time and emptied it) and make sure that every light is turned off. Turn off all heating or cooling systems and check that every window is closed and sealed tight. Water your lawn as infrequently as possible (and late at night, so that less water evaporates) and turn off any water features in your yard.
As EnviroCitizen.org has learned, a green vacation is a very doable form of eco-friendly travel. So, if you like to handle your travel plans on your own, do some research and find the best eco-friendly destination that suits your needs and vacation desires while filling your time away with green activities and modes of travel!