Travel Responsibly

If you’re working toward being eco-conscious but aren’t ready to ditch the training wheels, U.K.-based responsibletravel.com has all the tools you need for vacationing carbon-free. We especially like their mission statement: "A responsible holiday gets you closer to the real country & supports local people & the environment." Sound familiar?

As on most travel booking sites, you can search by date and location, or if you’re looking for ideas choose from cultural tours (a Cambodia Water and Moon Festival trip), honeymoon ideas (a Masai Mara luxury safari camp), volunteer travel (rescuing captive gibbons in Thailand), and more. You don’t have to skimp on comfort to go "green": Check out their eco-luxury vacations in Egypt, Borneo, India, Kenya, and more.

Before you travel, responsibletravel.com suggests you:

– Plan your route to minimize carbon emissions—travel by train and bus wherever possible and minimize flight changes.

– Minimize flying time and stopovers—the worst carbon emissinons are emitted during take off and landing. For the flights you cannot avoid offset the carbon emissions using a carbon calculator. That way the money is invested in carbon reducing initiatives around the world, ofsetting the emissions caused by your flight.

– Ask to see the tour operator’s policy for responsible tourism.

Make sure it explains how they minimize environmental impacts and support the local economy.

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– Ask your hotel these ten simple questions to see if they really are "green."

Check out more advice, read their e-zine The Responsible Traveler, or book a trip. Mother Earth will thank you.

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