Guide to Sustainable Travel

As August heats up with family vacations, it’s a good time to think green. Our Ultimate Guide to Sustainable Travel offers 50 tips on how to travel responsibly and still have fun. Here are a few:

Book accommodations responsibly. Let hotel operators know that environmentally sound management and stewardship programs matter to you by staying at eco-friendly properties. Consider a Green Seal certified hotel. Also, check out our Stay List for accommodations with responsible practices.

Bring your own water bottle. According to the Container Recycling Institute, more than 60 million plastic water bottles are thrown away in the United States each day.

Recycling or reusing those bottles instead would save enough energy to power a 60-watt light bulb for an entire day in 15 million households.

Don’t pre-heat or pre-cool. Since hotel visitors tend to spend more time out of their room than in it, setting the thermostat at a comfortable setting when you are actually in the room is one of the easiest steps you can take to save energy.

Buy from local artisans. Support the local culture by purchasing artwork or handicrafts–which make great souvenirs–directly from the artisan whenever possible.

Go car-less. Having a car leads to using a car, even for very short trips. So instead of renting a car or driving your own car, come up with creative, car-less ways to get where you need to go, such as public transportation, hotel shuttles, and biking and walking paths.

Hike a historic cemetery. A historic cemetery offers visitors peaceful respite and a completely non-commercialized view of the past unlike that available anywhere else in the community.

Eat local foods. Patronize restaurants and shops offering fresh, local produce, meats, fish, breads, cheeses, pastries, and other items to help save energy, and experience the authentic flavors, ingredients, spices, and dishes unique to each area you visit.

Share the wealth (of information). If it’s paper, pass it on. When we travel, we accumulate research and reading materials–maps, guidebooks, magazines, newspapers, paperback books, brochures, and so on. Instead of abandoning these at the hotel, in the airport trash bin, or in the seat-back pocket on the plane, share them with fellow travelers along your journey.

Got tips of your own? Share them with us in the comments section below.

Photo: iStockphoto.com