Green Travel Guide
Sustainable Travel Tips
Transportation accounts for almost one fourth of global energy-related CO2 emissions. So the first step toward becoming a green traveler is to ask yourself, Do I even need to travel at all? Is it possible, for example, to achieve your goals with a teleconference? Video conferencing services are provided free of charge from OIT. For more information, consult their website.
However, sometimes travel is unavoidable. Here are some things to think about to make your trip as environmentally friendly as possible:
How are you getting there?
- Can you avoid flying? Flights, especially short flights, are very carbon intensive. Look for bus or train routes. These tickets are usually much cheaper in addition to being much greener!
- If you are flying, look for nonstop routes. You’ll spend less time traveling and reduce your carbon footprint.
- Use electronic tickets – save paper and hassle.
What are you taking with you?
- Pack light. A heavier plane uses more fuel and therefore emits more carbon. In addition to saving the environment, packing light can save you time (no waiting at baggage claim), stress (no worrying about losing your bags), and money (no overweight luggage fees).
- Don’t forget a reusable water bottle.
What are you leaving behind?
- Lower the temperature of your thermostat and water heater at home before you leave.
- Call your newspaper and ask for it to be stopped while you are out of town.
- Unplug any unnecessary appliances like TVs, DVD players, cable boxes, toasters, and microwaves. These devices can still use electricity even in their “off” modes.
Where are you staying?
- Look for hotels with environmental certification labels like Green Seal, Green Leaf, or the Green Hotels Association.
- Treat the hotel as though you were paying the electrical bill. When you leave the room, don’t leave the lights on and turn down the air conditioning. Hotel operating costs get passed on to you!
- Let the hotel know you’d like to reuse your towels and sheets during your stay.
- Leave any unused toiletries for the next guest unless you will use them at home.
- Check out of your hotel electronically. Many hotels offer check-out systems through the TV, which reduce paperwork.
What are you doing once you get there?
- Use public transportation and take advantage of hotel van services instead of renting a vehicle.
- If you do rent a vehicle, rent a hybrid or other fuel-efficient car.
- Share maps and brochures within your travel group.
- Buy local goods. Whether they’re souvenirs or food, local products have less of an environmental impact and are the best way to experience a different place.
Keep these tips and your normal environmentally conscious habits in mind, and you will be well on your way to becoming a sustainable traveler!
EPA, “Questions About Your Community: What Can I Do to Help The Environment When I Travel for The Holidays or an Upcoming Meeting?" http://www.epa.gov/ne/communities/traveltips.html
Go Green Travel Green: Travel Tips for the Eco-Conscious Traveler. http://gogreentravelgreen.com
“Green” Hotels Association, http://greenhotels.com/grntrav.php