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Green motion travel blog w640

How to go green when you travel

Traveling green takes a little extra effort at first, but it soon becomes second nature and those extra steps can enhance every trip you take. Not only will you feel better about your travels, but you’ll also leave a more positive impression on the place you visited and often have more meaningful experiences along the way.

We believe responsible travel is a force for good: it can open hearts and minds, give us a broader understanding of the world, and inspire us to make a difference; but when you consider the environmental impact of commercial aviation, the sometimes negative effects of tourism on other cultures, and the trail of strained resources travelers can leave behind, tourism doesn’t look so pretty.

Here are our tips for going green with ease and making travel better for everyone.

Choose an ethical travel destination

Independent nonprofit organization Ethical Traveler ranks destinations each year by their environmental protection standards, social welfare and human rights record.

By visiting countries on these lists, your tourism dollar supports their efforts to create sustainable tourism industries, and encourages other destinations to follow suit.

Choose a green hotel

Look for certified green hotels that are in LEED Certified buildings, use renewable energy, recycle, use environmentally friendly cleaning products and offer options for guests to make an impact (such as not having the sheets changed daily).

There are several certification programs - the better-known ones include Green Key Global, Green Globe International, Green Seal and EcoRooms & EcoSuites. Staying in smaller, locally run hotels and B&Bs is often the greenest method around, making your stay environmentally and socially responsible as well as being a more direct boost to the local economy.

Choose a green tour company

Going with an independent local guide can often be the best way to ensure your money is doing the most for your destination’s economy.

When looking for a tour company look for the following:

  • The company proudly promotes their ethical practices.
  • They use green office products.
  • You can tangibly see how they contribute to the community.
  • They respect the local flora and fauna.
  • They take destination-specific social and political issues into account.

Drive Green

Sometimes it can be hard not to require the need of a car when travelling. There are car rental companies who offer low emission, electric and hybrid vehicles in countries worldwide. Green Motion Car Rental specialises in the offering of low emission vehicles for daily rental and are in over 22 countries worldwide.

Eat locally sourced food

Support the region's farmers, get a more authentic taste of the cuisine and cut your carbon footprint even more. Look out for restaurants advertising local produce or, if that’s not possible, eat local dishes at mom-and-pop-style places that will most likely use what’s produced nearby. Whatever you do, don’t eat endangered species like turtle or over-harvested shellfish.

Carbon offset

Calculate your carbon offset via this handy calculator at Sustainable Travel. While it's better to concentrate on shrinking your footprint in the first place, a contribution to carbon offset programs will help by funding reforestation and renewable energy projects.

Donate

Now that you’ve experienced a place, met its people and seen what is needed the most, why not make a donation to one of the region’s grass-roots organizations? Perhaps you found this on the road or researched it as an afterthought, but there’s always a way to give more back.