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Making Your Getaways Greener

Green travelLooking to get away, but want to go green? If concerns about the environment have you limiting travel, consider taking a different route—one that minimizes your impact on the environment and helps preserve natural resources. The travel industry is going green with everything from eco-friendly lodging to sustainable destinations. Take the following steps to reduce the size of your environmental footprint on your next vacation.

Choose a green destination. Green destinations help travelers conserve resources, limit their impact and respect local culture. Need some trip ideas? Green Destinations provides an annual list of the Top 100 Sustainable Destinations. Travel & Leisure lists the 10 Greenest Cities in America. Your travel agent can help you plan a sustainable trip.

Book eco-friendly lodging. Eco-friendly hotels use sustainable management practices, such as energy and water conservation, recycling and environmentally preferred purchasing. Find sustainable lodging through organizations such as the Green Hotels Association. Also, look for lodging facilities that have earned the Green Seal, a nonprofit environmental certification program for products and businesses.

Leave your home green. Don't waste energy in your empty house while you're away. Before you leave, turn off lights, adjust the thermostat, lower the temperature on the water heater and unplug unnecessary appliances and electronic devices.  

Practice in-room conservation. During your stay, do what you can to conserve in your temporary lodgings. Turn off lights and adjust the thermostat whenever you leave. Reuse bath towels and linens whenever possible; it will help the facility save energy and water. 

Consume locally. As you travel, eat at restaurants that support local farmers and producers. Visit a local farmer's market to stock up on fruits and vegetables along the way. This reduces energy consumption and the carbon emissions associated with extensive shipping and handling. Visit Local Harvest or Eat Well Guide to find restaurants and markets that support local or sustainable foods.

Use public transportation. Once you arrive at your destination, travel by bus, subway or light rail instead of renting a vehicle. If you do rent, ask your rental agency about a hybrid or other alternative fuel vehicles. Biking is an environmentally friendly and healthy travel alternative. Many communities are bicycle friendly. Look for bike rental opportunities wherever you are.

Your greenest option is to take a staycation and remain at home. However, seeing new places can be both educational and fun. With a little extra effort, you can travel wherever you want, and the environment will hardly notice that you were ever there. 

Image source: iStock

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