Are you planning any eco-friendly travel in the United States? Living a greener life and caring about the world is getting more popular. However, not everyone or every travel destination is on board yet. Finding places to travel to or things to do might be a challenge.
Today I will cover many things in the eco-friendly travel area. Suggestions, tips, and ideas to help you get the most out of your vacation.
Eco-Friendly Travel Tips
Many places are beginning to take steps to attract those who are interested in eco-friendly travel and living. You don’t have to go far to find eco-friendly travel spots. Some might be right in your own back yard. Here are a few you might want to consider checking out right in the United States.
Destinations that are Eco-Friendly
The USA has so many amazing places to visit, no matter what kind of vacation you are looking for. Here is a handful of places I highly suggest you think about for future travels.
There’s so much beautiful nature you can take in while traveling to the great state of Alaska. There’s the infamous Northern Lights of Aurora Borealis that’s a must-see. Then there’s the iceberg and Dawes Glacier at Endicott Arm Fjord, and plenty of wildlife in the national parks of Alaska.
If you are looking for a tropical getaway, then this is where to go. You might want to avoid some of the typical tourist attractions that are Hawaii. But if you want to enjoy some eco-friendly tourism, then you need to visit the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. You will get to see tropical forests and barren lands and be at sea level or atop the highest volcano. You’ll enjoy such wildlife as humpback whales and green turtles.
The Rocky Mountain National Park is a great place for camping, trekking, and nature hikes. The Ute Trail is the most popular trail. The Never Summer Mountains, Longs Peak, Milner Pass, and Mesa Verde are some of the most visited destinations. The Garden of the Gods State Park has some amazing rock formations that you are not going to want to miss. All of this makes Colorado travel a must.
This is home to the Grand Canyon, so how could this not be on an eco-friendly travel destination place in the U.S.? In addition to the greatest tourist attraction of all, there are also six national forests, four different deserts, and three canyons in Arizona. There is also the Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park. If hiking is your thing, Arizona travel is a must for you.
Home to Yellowstone National Park, of course Montana is on the list of eco-friendly tourist destinations in the U.S. The park boasts of more than 1500 species of trees and plants. Also home to hordes of wildlife like bobcats, cougars, black bears, bison, badgers, lynx, coyotes, elks, and much more. There are also other national parks like the Glacier National Park which you can visit.
Aside from the longest coastline in all of the United States, California has several other attractions which make it a great eco-friendly travel destination. With parks like Yosemite National Park and Emerald Bay, you can see many different animals and great scenery which provides a photographer’s and painter’s paradise. Emerald Bay is a national landmark.
Rules for National Parks
The most important thing to remember when visiting any National Park, State Park, or any other area in the United States is to be sure to follow all posted rules. You will want to prevent things like forest fires and doing anything which can destroy the environment and the habitat that many of these animals call home.
Help restore the ecological balance and introduce our young people to nature and how to properly care for it with these eco-friendly travel destinations in the U.S.
Activities to Avoid while on Eco-Friendly Travel
When traveling and trying to reduce your carbon footprint while away from home, there are activities you’ll want to avoid and activities that are a must-do. Mostly you need to get out and just enjoy nature. Here are some eco-safe activities you might want to give a try while on your next green vacation.
If you’re headed to the beach for your vacation, then there are some things you will want to keep in mind to make sure you don’t destroy the earth and the environment while you’re away from home and soaking up the rays.
- Get eco-friendly sand toys for digging in the sand.
- When using the outside showers, avoid any kind of soap. The drain likely goes right back into the ocean. Use them to just rinse the sand off your feet and body.
- Follow the rules. Signs like “Keep off the dunes” are important to follow. These are habitats for many different species, so be respectful. “Don’t feed the ducks” is another important sign to follow.
Are you going camping? If so, here are some things you’ll want to keep in mind. Yes, even while camping you have to take special steps to ensure you’re being as eco-friendly as possible.
- Ditch the gadgets. It goes without saying that you probably don’t want your laptop and/or cell phone on your camping trip, but really the fewer things you need to run off your car battery, the better. So if you have to blow up an air mattress, use a foot pump.
- When you go hiking, stay on the path. If there are markers, follow these. Not only is this important for safety, but it also prevents things like soil erosion from happening.
Activities that are Eco-Friendly
When vacationing, no matter where you go, you should be able to find activities which make every effort possible to reduce the carbon footprint. Find the earth friendly shops and museums which are located in the city you’re staying in. Check out local parks and wildlife conservatories. Look for sporting venues that might have taken extra efforts to reduce their carbon footprint.
Take a hike or find a walking tour you can take of the city you are visiting. Bike tours are a great way to learn your way around the area. Plus, getting exercise and learning the history as well. Visiting local farmer’s markets and birdwatching are all perfect things you can do that have minimal to no impact on the environment. See a concert in the park while on vacation.
When you take your trip, no matter where you go or what you do, always make the place cleaner than when you got there. If you see trash on your hike, pick it up and take it with you. Pack food in reusable containers. If that’s not an option, then make sure you carry out any trash you brought in.
Don’t Make the Planet Suffer
Going on vacation doesn’t mean the environment has to suffer.
If you can stay closer to home for your getaway that’s great. But if not then do your your due diligence prior to your trip. Research to see what kind of eco-friendly activities are offered in and around the area you’re staying in will help you maintain your green lifestyle even while vacationing.
If you’re planning a trip and want to get there in the most eco-friendly way, there are ways to do that. And once you get to your destination, you can ensure that any traveling you do is eco-friendly as well. You just need to do a little planning in advance to find the best travel options.
Transportation that is Eco-Friendly
How are you Getting There
Planes, trains, and automobiles. Of these, planes are the worst, but if you fly on an airline that has taken measures to reduce their carbon footprint by eliminating excess waste and recycling as much as possible, it will be better. Southwest is an airline you might want to consider which has done a lot to reduce their carbon footprint.
When it comes to trains, this really isn’t a bad way to travel and it’s not terrible on the environment. Plus it’s a very scenic way to travel. If you are making a road trip and are driving, then consider renting a hybrid vehicle if you don’t own one.
Look for hotels that use green programs. Also check the hotel’s location and make sure there is plenty of public transportation nearby that you can use to get to where you need to go. Once in your hotel, notify them that you don’t need new towels every day. Turn lights off when you leave the room and turn the thermostat up or down when you’re not in the room to use less electricity.
How to Travel When You’re There
Even though you checked your hotel to see that it has public transportation, also consider finding other ways to travel. Can you walk to many places instead of needing to be driven there? How about renting a bicycle for the week and traveling by bike instead? Finding alternative ways to get to destinations and then using nature as much as possible will really help you maintain your eco-friendly transportation while on your vacation.
Leaving No Footprint
Leave It Cleaner Than When You Got There. While this isn’t about transportation, it’s always just good practice to pick up trash when you see it. It can help balance out your carbon footprint if you had trouble finding the most eco-friendly ways of transport.
Support local efforts at eco-friendly by making donations or even volunteering some time while you’re there. Also shop at local farms while you’re there instead of the grocery store. You’ll get to try out local produce. You might need to be careful with what you do if you’re out of the country, though. Check with your hotel to see what local produce shops you can go to; they should be able to point you in the right direction.
Staycations are also a great way to reduce your carbon footprint by exploring things right in your own area and being in nature. Travel definitely takes its toll on the environment, but if you do choose to go away, you can still reduce your carbon footprint when you travel.
Finding Eco-Friendly Travel Accommodations
Hotels and resorts are known for having a large carbon footprint. It can be difficult to maintain a green status in a hotel when you must accommodate so many guests coming and going at all different times of the day and night.
It’s not impossible, though. A growing number of hotels and resorts are trying to do their part to reduce their carbon footprint and appeal to those eco-friendly customers. So you do not have to sacrifice your eco-friendly ways when you are traveling. You can find places to stay that accommodate your green spirit. If you’re looking for an eco-friendly hotel or resort, then here’s how to start finding these places.
Where to Stay
Booking sites – Browsing the Green Hotel directory on sites like Orbitz or Travelocity will help you find an eco-friendly hotel or resort. Trusted travel websites will also have a list of eco-friendly hotels and resorts listed for you to search through.
LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Certified Hotels – There is a certification hotels can receive for their attempts at being eco-friendly. They are rated based on what they have done. Hotels are ranked on a one-hundred point scale. The higher the rating, the better. There is a Silver level (50-59 points) Gold level (60-79) and Platinum level (80 and higher). Many large hotel chains have hotels which have achieved varying levels of eco-friendliness.
Large hotel chains – Most major hotel chains will have a section on their site which lists their eco-friendly accommodations. Their website will also display their LEED certification.
Consider house sitting – Another alternative to staying in a hotel is to be a house sitter. There are websites you can join where people will “hire” you to stay at their home while they’re away. When you do this, you can control your carbon footprint much easier by using limited electricity or watching how much water you’re running.
Look for shared accommodations – See if you can find a place that will allow you to stay with some locals for the time. This will help reduce your carbon footprint together. Be sure to do your due diligence in researching anyone you meet over the internet. Do it before staying with them, for your own personal safety.
Avoid large cities – You might find that you’ll have better luck finding eco-friendly options for accommodations if you ditch the big city and stay in a less populated area. Big cities have multiple large hotels, oftentimes to accommodate multiple travelers. But if you stay in a neighboring town instead, you’ll find it to be less crowded and also much more eco-friendly in many circumstances.
Even if you can’t find a hotel or resort at a price point that you’re comfortable with that will accommodate your eco-friendly needs, you can still do your part where you stay to reduce your carbon footprint. Don’t leave lights on when you leave, turn off the heat or air when you’re not in the room, and ask the hotel to not change towels and sheets every day. This will be a great way to stay green while on vacation.
Things to Avoid on Eco-Friendly Travel
When planning an eco-friendly vacation, there are many things you know you’re going to want to avoid at all costs. This includes air travel if at all possible, or places that produce lots of waste like amusement parks.
As well as that, there are other things you need to take into consideration when you are taking a family vacation that’s eco-friendly – things that might not seem that big of a deal. Here’s a list of things you should make every effort to avoid doing for your eco-friendly trip.
Over-packing – Traveling eco-friendly starts at home when you’re packing. It’s important to pack only what you will need. Keeping your baggage light will not only make it easier to carry, but it also helps less fuel to be used on whatever mode of transportation you are using.
Souvenirs – Of course you want to bring home something to remember your trip by, but you want to be careful what you buy. Buying too much of stuff you’re never going to use is a waste. On top of that, you want to be careful where you purchase your souvenirs. Helping the local community by buying your souvenirs from local business and not big box stores, and purchasing handmade items, will be the best thing you can possibly do for the environment.
Hotel – You need to make sure you choose the right hotel, and once you’re there you need to make sure that you continue to follow the same eco-friendly tips you do at home. Turn off lights when you leave, turn down the heat, take short showers, reuse sheets and towels instead of having them changed every day. Even better would be avoiding a hotel altogether and staying with friends and family, or doing some house sitting.
Cars – Consider ditching the rental and just using public transportation to get around. Biking and walking places are the way to go as well. If you must use car travel at your destination, then avoid doing things like: idling in the car, make sure the tires are properly inflated, combine trips as much as possible for less back and forth driving, drive the speed limit, and go light on the cargo in the car. See if you can rent a hybrid car to lessen your carbon footprint.
Food – Much like shopping for your souvenirs, you want to keep your food consumption local. Find local businesses and restaurants. Attempt to eat organic items as well, and where possible eat at a family table to avoid as much waste of food as you can.
Final Thoughts on Eco-Friendly Travel
Ultimately, when you are heading out for vacation you want to keep this in mind. Most of the things you are already doing at home, even if they might look a little different when you’re staying someplace else.
A lot of the things you do at home that are eco-friendly might be done with cost savings in mind or even less work for you. When someone else is paying the electric bill (the hotel) and washing the towels (a maid) it might be tempting to take a vacation from your eco-friendly practices, but you want to continue to do these things even when you’re on vacation for the good of the planet.