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Top 10 Tips for Green Travel

Confused about what you can do to go green while globetrotting? Here’s our top ten tips for sustainable travel. It’s all about conserving precious resources, reducing the impact of your trip, and benefitting the community you visit.

1)    Fly non-stop: Waffling between saving a little money and splurging on a non-stop flight? Treat yourself to the better option and help Mother Earth too. Non-stop flights reduce your emissions by up to 50%.

2)    Green hotels: There are many shades of green in the hotel industry, so it’s important to find a hotel directory you trust. To be included in Travelocity’s Green Directory, hotels must be certified by one of the top organizations (LEED, EnergyStar) whose criteria closely aligns with the Global Sustainable Tourism Criteria.

3)    Bring your own water bottle: If you’re traveling domestically or to a country with safe drinking water, pack a light-weight metal thermos. Plastic water bottles don’t break down in landfills.

4)    Rent the right car: Rent a hybrid or compact car for your trip. While you might pay a premium for this option, you’re sure to save on gas and cut your emissions.

5)    Think local: Visit a local handicrafts market for souvenirs, dine at locally owned restaurants, and volunteer in the area. Not only do these goods and services have small footprints, you’re benefitting your host community.

6)    Leave no trace: Whether you’re camping in a national park or visiting a cosmopolitan city, make sure your trash ends up in the right place. And use recycling and composting facilities where available.

7)    Conserve resources: Don’t be lax on vacation. Turn off the lights, the TV, and the air conditioner when you leave your hotel room. Take short showers. Take part in the hotel’s efforts to reduce linen washing. And leave the little bottles of toiletries behind if you don’t use them.

8)    Set your home to vacation mode: Turn all electrical appliances to their vacation or energy-saving mode. Turn off all lights or put one key light on a timer. Suspend your newspaper delivery until your return. And unplug non-necessary appliances.

9)    Walk or take public transit: Experience your destination like a local–and burn some calories too! Pack a backpack and good walking shoes and do your best to reduce car travel in your destination.

10)    Offset your carbon impact: Flying one-way from New York to London emits an average of 1.5 tons of CO2 emissions. That’s like leaving your hair dryer on for 14 weeks! Use a carbon calculator and offset your flight, hotel stay, car rental, and more.

But don’t take it from me–listen to the Eco-Bunnies!





My name: Alison Presley

Nickname: Presbo, because I'm good police.

How I earn my keep: I'm the manager of Travelocity's Travel for Good program. Visit Travel for Good to learn more about our green travel and voluntourism initiatives!

What kind of traveler am I: I'm an intrepid food explorer. I usually starve myself on the plane (not that that's too hard to do) so that the moment my toes touch foreign soil I'm ready to sample new and exciting cuisine. I like to dine everywhere from hole-in-the-wall local secrets to Michelin Guide gems. Cannelés, poi, boiled peanuts, oxtail soup, poutine--there's no stopping this adventurous palate.

Greatest travel lesson I've learned: It doesn't cost a lot of money to do good. Offsetting your carbon impact only adds a few bucks to your trip, green hotels are very affordable, and volunteering locally during your vacation is a great way to give back and learn about the culture.


Green Traveler

I study advertising and design in school at the moment. I am currently with an extremely eco-friendly professor, he is showing us a tonne of info of green design. There in lies the very problem. Companies refuse to go green because the short term profits are low to nil. That’s actually attributed as the biggest problem. Companies measure in short term profit. They rarely look to the future as a larger picture.

Take the auto industry. America has launched pilot projects, prototypes for some of the greenest cars on the planet. They have even found new hybrid materials stronger than steel, and half the weight. But sadly these will not get much further than prototypes. Companies are really apprehensive to invest without short term pr


I’ve tried to get on board, but I still feel that the entire premise of carbon offsets is based on flimsy logic. The Wikipedia page on offsets is a good resource for such criticism, such as: no guarantee of permanence of the trees (offset trees can still be cleared for cutting and burning, or the tree may simply die (such as in the instance of the “Coldplay forest”, where a grove of carbon offsetted trees perished and actually released even more CO2); a lack of regulation in the industry; the planting of invasive species of plants; and at the heart of it all, the fact that carbon offsets are, at best, use the same logic as papal indulgences (paying for absolution from guilt rather than changing the behavior). Maybe one day the market will force some transparancy and accountability to this shaky practice that will prove its effectiveness, but for now it just feels like suckers throwing good money after bad with no results.


I understand your skepticism and trust me, we all want better regulation of the carbon offset industry. It’s similar to when the organic food movement was in its infant stages and everyone was asking, Well, what does it mean if this peach is organic? Is that better than a locally grown peach? Who says it’s organic?

That’s why we’ve done our homework and partnered with The Conservation Fund. The American Institute of Philanthropy repeatedly awards the Conservation Fund its highest “A+” grade for unsurpassed effectiveness and efficiency. Unlike many carbon offset organizations, they are a non-profit and over 96% of donations go directly to projects. That’s pretty incredible!

I’m not saying carbon offsets are perfect–solar powered planes would be MUCH better–but until we have greener technology, it’s a good step. Plus, as an avid hiker, I personally think there can’t be too many trees :)

And if you’re skeptical about reforestation projects, there are many other offset programs you can use that have projects like wind power and methane digesters.

Cheap Airfare

Thanks for wonderful tips for Green travel!!I especially liked Tips@2 Fly non-stop!!That’s is in fact a good idea. This is very practical way to cutting down on travel too. It is also a green things to do!!


Thanks Alison for the great article. To add to your article and for more tips on how your travel choice can make a difference, please visit or the blog from The International Ecotourism Society at

Happy traveling and don’t forget to check out TIES Responsible Travel Myths.

Sharon Greenan, I.R.O.M.H.,H.S.C. Inc.

Please see my web site at to see if you would be interested in my eco-friendly pet dishes. These can be used in your green hotels that are pet friendly.


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