Speaking as someone who loves to travel to exotic places around the globe, I understand the thrill and adventure involved, and I have relished it wherever my journeys have taken me. Recently however, I became concerned about the environmental impact my travels would have on the locations I visited. Doing some research, I found out that I wasn’t the only tourist to whom such a thought had occurred – there was over 55% of America with me (as per a study conducted by the Travel Industry Information), concerned about the protecting the ecosystems they traveled to. All of us were seeking some sustainable form of travel.
There’s a name for people with such an environment conscious mindset – green travelers. Green travelers want two things: conserve the places they travel to, and lower / make up for the carbon emissions their travels cause. This means saving the flora and fauna, culture and natural resources of the locales that are part of our tours. Furthermore, it implies sensible selection of lodging and transport. For instance, I may opt to lodge at a resort that utilizes sustainable operating procedures. Because cars and planes are responsible for the greatest carbon dioxide emission per traveler, I would prefer to go by train or bus. If flying is the only option, then a green traveler can buy a carbon offset, or book a green hotel to make up for the carbon emissions during the flight.
As opposed to the perceived belief, green travel does not automatically mean greater expenditure. Since sustainable operating techniques usually save money for hotels in the long term, a lot of motels, bread-and-breakfasts, hotels and vacation condo establishments are starting to switch to green practices at their sites. And lesser running costs for the hotels mean lesser charges for the lodgers. And considering the gas prices these days, green travel is certainly the cheaper option.
The best form of green travel is to use public transport such as a train or bus. Using these two modes of transport, you’ll be cutting down the fuel consumption and carbon emissions per traveler considerably. But if there is no alternative to flying you’ll have to practice carbon-neutral travel by purchasing some form of carbon offset. You see, the problem with air travel is that not only does it produce a large amount of carbon, it also releases it high up in the atmosphere where it is more harmful.
If you find these green travel techniques a hassle, you can always plan a staycation!
Staycations will help you do your part for the environment without making you spend any extra cash – they are vacations you take close to home so they don’t require any hoteling or transportation. If your home is in a big metropolitan area, chances are there are lots of sights to see in your close vicinity! Alternately, if sprawling metropolises aren’t your thing, rent out an RV and travel into the suburbs / countryside – there are plenty of farms that will take guests and let them work as farmhands. All you’ll need is a camper (in case the farmhouse doesn’t have room for guests to sleep), a comfy air bed and an eagerness for adventure, and you’re all set. Working on the farmland will bring you closer to nature and earth, and you won’t be leaving any excessive carbon footprint!