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Tips for Planning an Eco-Friendly Trip

Shutterstock Photo License - By Matej Kastelic
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Sustainable tourism is becoming a lot more common these days. Recent polls have shown that around 87% of people support sustainable tourism.

If you are serious about sustainability, then you should make it a priority to lower your carbon footprint when you are traveling. You can take a number of steps to become a truly environmentally responsible tourist.

What Can You Do to Become a Green Traveler?

It’s no secret that travel usually increases your carbon footprint more than staying at home does. However, there are steps you can take to make your trip eco-friendlier, and the tips below can help you plan. You will also be an eco-friendlier traveler if you ignore these mistakes.

Have a Travel Budget

Eco-friendly travel is not more or less expensive than other types of travel, but it’s a lot easier to make the right choices when your trip is well-planned, and this means making a budget. You’ll also need to know how much you have to spend so you can get a better sense of what sustainable travel options are most feasible for you. Give yourself as much time as possible to save. If you have student loans, you may want to find out if you can reduce your interest cost by consolidating them with a private lender. This can lower your monthly expenses, and you can put the difference away in your travel fund. You might also want to cut back in other areas, such as eating out less often.

Travel Sustainably

A plane may be the only way to get to certain destinations, but if it is at all possible, consider taking a train or bus instead. If you are particularly adventurous, you might even want to consider traveling on your own power, by bicycle or by foot on a backpacking trip. Even if one leg of your trip has to be by plane, you could make the rest by train. For example, you could fly to a European capital and travel by train from there. If you must fly, you can choose an airline that uses biofuel. You can also purchase carbon offsets to balance the cost of your flight. If you are taking a cruise, smaller cruise lines are often more ecofriendly, and some companies offer trips that are specifically designed to care for the environment.

Stay Somewhere Sustainable

A luxury hotel might sound great, but it probably isn’t great for the environment. Instead, look into accommodations that are committed to helping instead of hurting the local ecosystem. Some places may use renewable energy while others may have made an effort to build structures without destroying trees or habitats. If you can’t find a suitable eco-friendly place to stay, you could also look into something simple and low-key, such as renting a room in a local’s home or staying in a hostel. Wherever you stay, make an effort to avoid long baths or showers, and don’t waste electricity.

Think Local

Tourism can be a double-edged sword for many communities, bringing in much-needed revenue but damaging the local culture. From your accommodation choice to the food you eat to the activities you choose, focus on doing things that support the community. Visit the market, food stalls or small eateries instead of chain restaurants. Try to shop locally as well. If you want to take a walking tour, look into hiring a local guide. In general, try to dig beneath the surface of the things you are planning and ask yourself if you are giving back to the place that you are visiting.

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