13 Green Travel Hacks

13 Ingenious Travel Tips to Enjoy a Greener and Guilt-Free Vacation

When you’re planning a vacation but also want to reduce the impact on the environment, there are many ways how you can combine the two without sacrificing a great experience. You can be as responsible as staying local and hiking and biking trails within the US or just make some small adjustments to your daily life or trip. Every little change counts and will help preserve our beautiful planet.

You could make sure to look for certifications – LEED Certification within the U.S., Green Tourism Business Scheme in the UK, EarthCheck in Australia, or Green Globe, Rainforest Alliance in Latin America and the Caribbean – or book non-stop flights whenever you can, since takeoffs and landings create most of an airplane’s carbon emissions. You can take the train and join the “slow travel” trend where you visit a few destinations in one trip but stay a longer period of time at each place. That way you get to immerse yourself in the destination and see areas and sights you might have missed when rushing through. But you can also start with small changes, such as returning maps, brochures and other information you get at your hotel. The opposite is true for leftover soap, shampoo, body lotion, and toothpaste. Take it with you, so it will not be thrown away and you can even reuse the little bottles for your next trip and skip the hotels products all together.

These are just some ideas how you can make your next vacation greener. Read our sustainable travel experts’ tips below:

  1. “Look for GREEN hotels and tour operators! [I cannot stress this enough with travelers who truly want to make a difference. Make sure you check if a property or organization is really sustainable and eco-friendly. When in doubt ask your travel agent to help you find out.]”  – Ashley Les (Protravel, New York, NY)
  2. “Pick places that support the local community – economically, environmentally, and culturally.” – Patricia Serrano Chungsathaporn (Protravel, New York, NY)
  3. “You can start with small changes by asking the right questions and dealing with responsible tour operators that are giving back to the community. – Irene Spencer (Protravel, San Diego, CA)
  4. “Choose hotels that are committed to the environment and have certifications that support it. If the hotel does not have certifications look if has good practices like recycling program, solar power, energy-efficient lighting, and if they use ecological clean products.” – Elizabeth Burgos (Protravel, Encino, CA)
  1. “Stay local and visit our National Parks. An essential part of conservation is protecting what’s already there. That’s why travelers should plan to visit our National Parks such as Acadia, Big Bend, Boundary Waters, Everglades, Glacier, Grand Canyon, Great Smoky Mountain, Olympic, Rocky Mountain, Yosemite, Yellowstone – just to name a few. These parks, as well as Monuments, and Seashores offer you a remarkable ‘back-to-basics’ vacation experience you won’t forget any time soon.” –  Robert Becker (Protravel, New York, NY)
  2. “At the hotel, do not change the towels every day during your stay at the different hotels. Hang your towels after use them. Also, turn off the AC, TV, and lights when you leave the hotel room.” – Elizabeth Burgos (Protravel, Encino, CA)
  3. “When it comes to animal attractions, make sure you ask for help choosing the right organizations and attractions. You should only support accredited zoos and aquariums, which you can identify when they are part of the Zoo and Aquarium Association (ZAA). Especially for elephant attractions in Thailand, look for obvious signs – such as are the animals chained and for how long, do they have enough space, and how is the camp ensuring elephant welfare, how are they staffed, etc. When in doubt, let your travel agent help you find a respectable and accredited camp.” – Irene Spencer (Protravel, San Diego, CA)
  4. “Travel during off season when there are less travelers.” – Patricia Serrano Chungsathaporn (Protravel, New York, NY)
  5. “Learn about the local cultural traditions before starting your trip, so you can appreciate more the authentic experiences.” – Elizabeth Burgos (Protravel, Encino, CA)
  6. “Enjoy an amazing vacation at one of the many great ecolodges in Africa. Offering a great variety of activities, that will fit your taste and lifestyle, these lodges focus on preservation and reducing their environmental impact by striving to be self-sustaining. Some are built only with local materials. They use solar power, recycle their water, and employ locals with many projects about conservation, research, and sustainable living. They also offer educational programs for locals. In some cases, guests are asked to pay an additional conservation fee benefitting the local community, economy, and wildlife.” – Irene Spencer (Protravel, San Diego, NY)
  7. “Travel to lesser known places where there are less tourists.” – Patricia Serrano Chungsathaporn (Protravel, New York)
  8. “Eco lodges are a great option for travelers. You can find the right one for your next eco-friendly vacation in nearly every corner of the world. Great examples are ryokans in Japan. Ryokans are traditional inns that maintain a special atmosphere and appearance encouraging guests to help plant trees and tend to the animals.” – Elena Omard (Protravel, New York, NY)
  9. “For your daily life, choose organic and ecologically sustainable products for personal use and ditch the plastic bottle by bringing reusable water bottles on all of their trips and outings.” – Irene Spencer (Protravel, San Diego, CA)
  10. “Buy products made by local artisans. Don’t buy products made from endangered animals.” – Elizabeth Burgos (Protravel, Encino, CA)

Feeling inspired? To speak to one of our expert sustainable travel agents, call 800.227.1059.