Green vacation ideas

Nearly one billion tourists travel around the globe every year – many by plane or car. Can you imagine the carbon emissions?

In an article on the website The Independent Traveler, Ed Hewitt compares car travel to airplane travel. According to the article, “… if the average American drives 10,000 – 15,000 miles each year, it takes only a trip to Europe for a West Coaster, a trip to Hawaii for an East Coaster or a couple of cross-country flights to do as much damage (or more) as you do during an entire year of commuting and cruising in your car.”

Wow. So, what do you do if you want to get away, but want to do it in a green way?

Hewitt writes about buying carbon offsetting, where you donate money to green organizations or companies to plant trees (or something along those lines) to offset the damage  your flight will do to the environment. This article is not going to get into carbon offsetting, instead we’re going to discuss greener vacation ideas.

  • Stay local. This is the easiest (and possibly the least appealing) vacation idea for many. See if there are any fun events going on in your town, or in a town close by. Try something you did as a child, but haven’t done since. Get out and hike. If there’s something touristy, why not try it out and see why people travel to your area. 
  • Travel to a nearby hotspot. If you don’t live in a big city, there’s usually one or two within a couple of hours’ drive.  Or, if you live in a big city, there’s usually a small, quieter town that’s not too far off the beaten path. If you do drive somewhere, look for green activities — walking around the city, hiking trails, biking, etc.
  • If you do live in a more metropolitan area and would really like to get away, look into something like the BoltBus. These buses have an that cuts nitrous oxide emissions in half.  Most of the cities that have BoltBus are in the northeast – NYC, D.C., Baltimore, Boston, Philadelphia, etc. The fares start at $1. The buses are also equipped with WiFi.
  • Consider camping — the kind where you take a sleeping bag and build a tent. It’s a great way to experience the great outdoors, it’s cheap, and most of the activities are also pretty green — fishing, hiking, biking, exploring, etc. (If you know of a green mosquito repellent that works, please let me know!)
  • If you’re going to drive somewhere and you own a gas guzzler, think about renting a hybrid. The money you save on gas will probably pay for the price of the rental.

These are just a few tips. Obviously, if you do go somewhere and stay in a hotel, put out the little sign that lets them know you don’t need new sheets and towels for everyday of your stay. And look for chains that are eco-friendly.

Any other green vacation suggestions? Please comment and let us know about them!


One comment on “Green vacation ideas

  1. Sheila
    August 1, 2010

    I love your idea of green vacation suggestions. I can’t help reminiscing the days when my family travels a lot, happy because I’m really a nature lover.

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