Thinking about travel in the New Year? You can travel green anywhere in the world.

Planning your trip

Go online to get to know your destination and to map out a route that will cut down on travel time and resources.

GoGreenTravelGreen.com has more than 25 categories to help you think ahead.

Getting there and around

In this order, airplanes, trains, buses, cars, bikes, or feet offer highest to lowest carbon-consuming transportation options. When flying, fly direct to minimize numerous takeoffs and landings.

Instead of car rental, consider airport-to-hotel shuttles that are already headed in the direction you are going.

Use public bus systems to get around, walk about as much as possible, or rent a bicycle. You’ll get some exercise and get to know your destination better.

Staying there

Several hotels around the world offer low-impact accommodations, serve local foods and partner with environmentally conscious excursion companies. Almost all travel websites now have the option to search and find green vendors.

Check out GreenHotels.com, Allstays.com’s green resorts page, and ItsaGreenGreenWorld.com for travel destinations and accommodations.

Packing light

Airlines are hammering down on the amount of stuff you bring when you fly by charging $25 or so per bag. The more weight a plane carries the more fuel it uses.

Pack clothes you can layer for temperature fluctuations, colors that won’t show dirt, breathable fabrics, and items you don’t mind wearing over and over.

Use your own reusable travel bottles for shampoo, liquid soap, etc., or bring a small bottle of Castile soap that can be used for washing anything — you, your clothes, even dishes.

Eating local

Local foods means less fossil fuel is consumed to get it to your plate. The food may also be fresher and have fewer preservatives, and you support the local economy by buying it.

Ahead of your trip, research greener options for meals and restaurants.

Visiting consciously

Certain attractions in certain destinations support recycling and other green initiatives. Wildlife sites and nature preserves with integrity follow strict laws aimed to protect local natural resources.

Many, however, do not. Do your research carefully to see which excursion companies care about the impact left and take safeguards to prevent environmental damage caused by tourist destruction.

Also, use low-impact products like natural sunscreens and bug repellents, and bring a reusable water bottle and coffee canteen on your trip.

Green travel etiquette

While on the subject of leaving a lighter footprint and fewer chemicals behind, here are some basic tips to help you be a better, greener guest.

  • Turn off lights and air conditioners when not in use.
  • Keep rooms cool by using fans when you’re in them and shutting shades to keep out solar heat.
  • Opt to reuse towels and sheets, and tell the manager if you don’t see that the option is available.
  • Minimize your waste and recycle whenever possible. If your hotel recycles, bring any purchased packaging back with you.
  • Buy sustainable, fair trade, and local products whenever possible.

Happy Green Travels!

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