Green Vacation Essentials

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Many people working hard all year look forward to an annual vacation. However, green-minded individuals may worry about their carbon footprint when traveling. This is a consciousness we all must have, since nearly one billion tourists travel around the world each year, making for an extraordinary level of carbon emissions. So, how can you reconcile a planet-friendly mindset with your wish to enjoy that well-deserved vacation? Fear not, you can still create memorable adventures with these eco-travel tips:

Consider a “staycation”

While you might dream of foreign cultures, vacationing closer to home has many benefits. Not only will you use fewer resources, you’ll also save money. And you may realize you have an untapped wealth of possibilities right in your own backyard. You can either visit a nearby city for cultural events, or seek out natural settings close to you for wine tasting, hiking, biking, camping, kayaking, etc. You have a great opportunity to make some exciting discoveries in your own general vicinity while minimizing your impact on the earth.

Look for green deals

Many companies offer eco-travel bargains. Travelocity for one, which now also flags eco-friendly hotels site-wide, making it easy and affordable to go green. You can access more than 1,500 properties in the Green Hotel Directory. As for bargains, you’ll find 40% off on many green travel deals here . Expedia offers green travel bargains as well, which you can find here. You’ll also find green travel tips that include learning the history/culture of your destination, packing light, choosing lodging thoughtfully, enjoying the culture, buying local goods/services, and more here.

Choose eco-friendly destinations

Are you a global adventurer? If you would like to access some of the world’s most naturally pristine sites while you still can, check out the Independent Traveler’s “Top Five Destinations for Ecotourism.” To make the list, it wasn’t enough for these places to be rich in extraordinary natural resources; they also had to be well cared for. The five destinations were chosen for their unique biodiversity, as well as the local commitment to maintaining their beauty/integrity through sustainable tourism.  Learn about all five here: http://www.independenttraveler.com/resources/article.cfm?AID=741&category=44

Travel for good

Travelocity is working to promote environmental sustainability during travel. Their Travel for Good® program encourages an earth-friendly approach through both green travel and “voluntourism.” Travel for Good has teamed up with some of the top voluntourism organizations in the country to help you give back during your trip. Many expenses are tax deductable. And each quarter they award two $5,000 voluntourism grants to deserving travelers. That could be you! http://www.travelocity.com/TravelForGood/index.html

Compensate for flying

According to the Independent Traveler, flying has a particularly negative impact on the atmosphere because in addition to carbon dioxide, planes emit many other harmful gases, which pose a greater atmospheric danger than gases released on the ground due to something called the “radiative forcing” effect. However, if you do fly and wish to compensate for it, it’s quite affordable. For example, Travelocity enables customers to purchase “carbon offsets” ranging from $10 to $40, depending on the trip. Travelocity then gives the carbon offset funds to The Conservation Fund’s carbon offset program, “Go Zero.”

As you can see, from where you go, to how you get there, to how you treat your chosen destination, there are many ways to “trek green.” Bon voyage!

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