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“Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts.” Those words from Mark Twain still ring true. When you travel, you can better yourself and change the views you once held dear. You may fall in love with some destination cities that you never imagined enjoying. The more you explore while traveling, the more it may open your mind and expand your horizons. It can force you into situations you never imagined and with people from all walks of life, you may never have otherwise spent time with.

Beyond that, travel is a pleasure and luxury that most Americans enjoy. The travel industry is booming, and it continues to grow. Unfortunately, traveling can also contribute to negative consequences for the environment. There’s good news, though. Travelers with a passion for treading more lightly on the earth as they explore it can make choices to lessen the environmental impact of their travels while enjoying travel’s little luxuries.

Tip #1: Use Public Transportation When Possible

While you’re traveling, try to look for alternatives to driving whenever it’s practical to do so. You may choose to walk to a store or sightseeing destination, or you may try public transportation in bigger cities. Public transportation is an awesome choice because it helps reduce emissions because of the number of riders at one time.

When it’s not possible to use public transportation at your destination, you may try riding in a low carbon car. Sometimes electric cars are a smart choice, while hybrids make more sense for other areas. Also, if you are going to drive, be sure to avoid quick accelerations unless you must, and never speed to avoid creating unnecessary waste.

Tip #2: Think Local at Your Destination

Of course, travel is more than getting to and from destinations. You will likely be consuming a fair amount of resources when you are on vacation. Think local while you’re there to better protect the world. For example, choose local produce and local goods to help both the environment and the economy of the place you’re visiting.

Tip #3: Bring Reusable Items with You

Create as little waste as possible during your trip by bringing reusable items with you. For example, instead of buying new travel-sized toothpaste, shampoos, and conditioners for each trip you go on, get reusable containers for those necessities. That can allow you to easily bring along your favorite, green brands, and it can also prevent a lot of excess waste from throwing out those containers. Other reusable items that you may want to bring with you include a water bottle, shopping bag, and laundry container.

Tip #4: Stay in Eco-Friendly Lodgings

Staying at eco-friendly lodgings doesn’t mean that you are sleeping under the stars on the cold, hard ground. In fact, staying at eco-friendly lodgings can mean many things. The Hi Hotel in Nice, France, has a Green Globe certifications for its many efforts to help travelers tread lightly on the earth during their stay. The Proximity Hotel in Greensboro, North Carolina, offers over 70 sustainable practices as a part of its business operations.

The Green Hotels Association has been encouraging eco-friendly travel for close to 25 years. Eco-friendly hotels are more plentiful than many people realize, and large chain hotels are implementing greener practices these days, too. For example, the Hyatt Regency Atlanta has received recognition for setting a new standard in eco-friendly lodgings, and Hilton has been leading the way to improve the environmental performance and conserve resources to minimize the environmental impact of its hotels.

Tip #5: Offset Your Carbon Footprint

Travel is fun. Also, whether it’s to a nearby town or across the world, you can do a lot of good when traveling. Many of us travel as part of our jobs, and there are many good reasons to travel. If you want to offset the carbon footprint made during your adventures, you can take a few simple sets to do just that.

You may choose to trade in your car for public transportation when you’re at home, which can help you feel better when you have to rent a car at your destination city. It’s wise to eat plant-based meals; after all, animal agriculture is the number one man-made contributor to the destruction of the environment. You also might choose to plant trees in your community as well as the places you visit. Basically, offsetting your carbon footprint is about being proactive to make the best choices for the environment when you can so that it’s a little easier to handle the situations where you can’t.

What are some of the eco-traveling tips that you find most helpful? Leave a comment below!

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