With a little careful planning, you can go on a dream vacation without worrying about being wasteful. If you’re organizing an escape, here are four greener options:
Today’s travelers have discovered that vacationing can be more than just lounging on some island beach. A volunteer vacation is a great way to see new places and make a difference — you can help researchers study endangered species in Costa Rica, or help build homes and communities in New Orleans. For more information on how to plan a volunteer excursion, visit Earthwatch Institute or Charity Guide.
To get to your desired location, try traveling by train. This lower-carbon alternative lets you relax and enjoy the scenery on the way to your destination while releasing fewer greenhouse gases than flying or driving. If you can’t avoid flying, consider countering your trip’s impact on the environment by donating to a carbon offset program. To learn more, read Tips for Eco-friendly Travel.
You also can take advantage of green lodging. Located in several countries throughout the world, these establishments offer on-site features such as recycling bins, energy-efficient light bulbs, solar-powered electricity, water-saving practices and more. Visit the "Green" Hotels Association to locate one.
When you arrive, consider walking or taking public transportation. Alternatively, you can rent a hybrid or high-mpg car in many cities. Some rental car companies offer these options, such as Hertz and OZOcar.