Green travel is becoming more popular, especially among millennial and Gen-Z travelers. Global warming is real and folks are doing everything they can to reverse the damage already done to planet Earth. One way travelers are helping the planet is by becoming more conscious of how they can travel more environmentally friendly.

Environmentally friendly travel is just a fragment of what needs to be done to help the planet, however, these small strides can make a significant difference.

Next time you’re heading out of town, try out a few of these tips to show more kindness to the earth while exploring it.

environmentally friendly travel - Man feeding giraffe at Safari
Photo Credit: Git Stephen Gitau

Explore Places Close To Home

Many people don’t realize how many hidden locations are right near their own homes. An easy way to travel environmentally friendly is to stay close to home. A quick Google search will guide you toward a plethora of destinations, excursions, and travel gems.

Consider checking out unknown parks and nature reserves or use apps like Groupon to find local experiences. Getaways close to home keep your carbon footprint and travel waste low while traveling. 

Travel Slow

Staying in destinations for extended periods of time is an excellent way to travel more environmentally friendly. Traveling back and forth releases more carbon and pollution into the atmosphere. The less you travel by car or plane, the happier the earth will be. 

Another benefit of traveling slower is being able to help out at the destination you’re visiting. This is a great opportunity to volunteer with local organizations, serve at a soup kitchen, or even spend time with children in a hospital.

Support Local Businesses

Supporting local entrepreneurs stimulates the local economy and helps drive the success of folks in the destination you’re visiting. Although some purchases require a big box store, travel green by spending your money with small business owners.

This could include excursions, restaurants, and tours all run by locals. You honestly never know what local gems you’ll discover shopping small. 

Keep It Eco-Friendly Even In A Hotel

Although staying in a hotel might not seem like the most environmentally friendly option, there are many practices you can follow to still travel green.

First, hang up your towels after using them. This typically is a universal signal that you don’t need fresh towels which reduces water and energy use. 

Feeling a little cold in your room? Turn off the air conditioning to limit your energy usage.

Another green travel tip you can follow is to place the Do Not Disturb sign on your room door to reduce even more laundry and cleaning. Lastly, take your own eco-friendly travel toiletries to avoid using hotel products that usually aren’t sustainable. 

RELATED: Sustainable Travel: The World’s Coolest Carbon Neutral Hotels

Respect Local Wildlife

One of the worst things you can do while traveling is to disturb or harm local wildlife. Many species are endangered, so you never know which animal or plant may be one of the last. 

There are a few ways to protect the environment and local wildlife while traveling. The first is to pick up any trash you see and be sure not to litter. Another tip is to “leave no trace”, meaning leave the area how you found it and take nor leave anything behind.

Also, keep in mind that not all wildlife excursions are environmentally friendly so do research to support nature and safari tours that actually care about the earth.

Join Carbon Offset Programs

If you’re a frequent flyer, you can help lower your carbon footprint by joining a carbon offset program. More than 30 airlines are members of the International Air Transport Association (IATA). These airlines have the option to add an offset to your ticket purchase that allows them to invest in reducing the carbon emissions that are produced from travel. 

Not too big on flying? Atmosfair and CarboTax are two other programs that allow you to offset your carbon footprint without having to purchase a plane ticket.

Visit Sustainable Countries

Visiting countries and destinations that prioritize sustainability is another way to travel environmentally friendly. Countries like Switzerland, Norway, and Finland are a few of the most sustainable countries in the world.

If you’re looking for green cities in the U.S., consider visiting San Diego, Portland, and Honolulu. These American cities place sustainability on a high priority when it comes to locals and travelers.    

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