Vacations are great—they’re a much-needed break from the ins-and-outs of our daily lives—but what we don’t always realize is the impact these travels can have on the environment. Ready to relax and soak up the sun? Just remember to think about the natural world around you while you’re doing it. Whether you’re heading to the beach, the woods, the mountains, or a hotel this summer, we’ve got tips to help you stay green and lessen your impact on the environment (while still having an amazing time)!
Take a “Staycation”
Instead of jetting halfway around the world, opt to stay at home (or somewhere in town) and visit the local sights. You’ll save energy, CO2, time, and money by not hopping on that pricey (and pollution-y) flight. Everything you know and love is right at your fingertips.
Make Your Trip Educational and Inspirational
What happens when you combine a vacation with an environmental volunteer opportunity? Great things. You can choose to take part in outings with various organizations (such as the Sierra Club) and venture to some of the most beautiful locations on the planet. All while learning about and educating others on conservation, wildlife, and other environmental issues.
Pack Light and Avoid Peak Travel Times
Extra weight causes airplanes and cars to lose efficiency and use more fuel to travel. Choose to travel with only the necessities and leave the kitchen sink at home! Traveling on off-peak days can also help you from wasting gas and efficiency on congested highways or paying for overpriced tickets. Don’t lose your well-earned time off sitting in traffic!
Avoid Layovers and Red Eye Flights
Frequent takeoffs and landings use more fuel, and it’s believed the pollution emitted on night flights has a more detrimental impact on the climate. This may be because flights of over 1,500 kilometers (or 933 miles) are responsible for 80% of all aviation CO2 emissions.
Be an Ecotourist and Try to Offset What You Can’t Avoid
Whether local or abroad, make sure your trip is protecting the environment and local communities. Not sure how? Ethicaltravler.org offers tips on how to do just that. Inexpensive carbon offsets help mitigate the impact of your air or car travel. Calculate your carbon footprint with carbonfund.org, and they’ll tell you how much it will cost to offset your travel.
Join projects to protect endangered species, work on an organic farm, reforest eroded hillsides, or convert abandoned railroad tracks into hiking and biking trails. Plug in your destination into VolunteerMatch to find opportunities near you.
At the end of the day, your vacation is meant to be a fun, relaxing experience, but it’s also important that we leave our destination better than we found it – particularly when vacationing outdoors. Leave No Trace has great guidelines for making a neutral or positive impact as you travel.
No matter where you’re going or what you’re doing, make sure you’re always keeping the health of the environment in mind. Want more helpful tips like this? Make sure you sign up for our newsletter for regular earth-focused content to help you live a better, greener lifestyle.