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Explore 12 ideas to make your next trip an eco-vacation

Whether your summer travels keep you close to home or have you crossing the planet, here are some earth-friendly options for minimizing your impact.

Ecotourism is among the fastest-growing segments of the global tourism trade. While travel uses resources and can harm the environment, it can also assist the environment, benefit local economies, educate travelers about environmental issues and bring a deeper appreciation of our connection to and dependence on nature.

Here are 12 ideas to minimize your impact:

  • Fly wisely: Take longer visits to one locale instead of many short trips. Offset your carbon footprint by calculating and offsetting your portion of a trip’s carbon dioxide pollution. Many non-profit organizations, like Carbon Fund, will mediate your support of carbon reduction by funding projects such as wind energy in North Dakota, a gas-to-energy landfill in New Bedford or a tropical forest conservation project in the Amazon.
  • Research the most fuel-efficient rental car, and if you don’t own it, rent one.
  • Travel light: Don’t take items that will become waste.
  • Book responsibly. Choose a hotel or tour operator with sustainable practices. Check The International Ecotourism Society member directory at Or just ask about the hotel’s sustainability practices.
  • Unplug unnecessary electrical devices in your home before you leave and at your destination while you are not in the room.
  • Use public transportation, walk or bike as much as possible.
  • Eat local food.
  • Take your own reusable water bottles.
  • Save water. Minimize shower and bath time.
  • Use a hotel’s linen reuse program. If they don’t have one, request that your linens and towels not be changed every day.
  • Recharge sustainably. Use options that don’t need batteries or buy rechargeable batteries for cameras, razors and flashlights.
  • Ask about composting and recycling options wherever you stay the night.


Photo: Bryn Pinzgauer // CC BY


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