Green Travel Tips
Taking a green approach to travel is an easy and essential way to protect the places you love to visit, not just for yourself but for the travelers who come after you and for the people who will continue to live there long after you've flown home. As an added bonus, it often makes for a more rewarding, authentic travel experience, encouraging deeper connections with the people and places you visit.
Top Green Cities in the World
According to Grist:
- Reykjavik, Iceland
- Portland, Oregon, U.S.
- Curitiba, Brazil
- Malmö, Sweden
- Vancouver, Canada
- Copenhagen, Denmark
- London, England
- San Francisco, California, U.S.
- Bahía de Caráquez, Ecuador
- Sydney, Australia
- Barcelona, Spain
- Bogotá, Colombia
- Bangkok, Thailand
- Kampala, Uganda
- Austin, Texas, U.S.
Green Business Travel: 12 Tips and Tricks
Before you decide a business trip is absolutely necessary, check first to see if a teleconference could happen in place of meeting in person. Sometimes the people you are working with are just as happy to have a tele- or video- conference and it saves you time and expense while having less environmental impact.
Take the Train or Bus
If you can, take a bus or train to your destination. I took the Acela fast train from Washington, D.C. to New York several times. It was less of a hassle (no security lines, easier to get to, fewer delays) and a fun way to see the East Coast.
When a train isn't an option, fly nonstop. You reduce your emissions by up to 50% with nonstop travel. Check out our guide to the best nonstop search engines.
Schedule Trips Back to Back
If you have several different cities to travel to, schedule the trips back to back. While this can get tiring, you will save time and resources by not flying home in between.
Take Public Transportation to Get Around
Once your at your destination, take public transportation to get around. In many cities taking the subway or metro can be faster than a cab inching through traffic.
Hop in an EcoCab
Most major cities now have hybrid taxis and eco cabs. If you must take a taxi, see if this is an option.
If you're traveling with co-workers, schedule your travel at the same time so that you can share taxi rides or rental cars.
Select a Hybrid Rental Car
If renting a car is the only option that makes sense, get a hybrid rental car. The prices usually fall within a company's per diem and you can justify it with gas savings.
Stay in a Green Hotel
Green hotels are a great option for business travel. I personally like the Kimpton hotel chain.
Green your Stay
When staying at a hotel, do everything you can to use fewer resources. This includes hanging your towel, adjusting the thermostat, and turning off the lights. See our list of 11 Tips and Tricks for Greening your Hotel Stay.
Bring a Water Bottle
You know how much I love my Klean Kanteen stainless steel water bottle and it looks sleek enough for professional settings. Another option is to reuse your disposable water bottle several times over the course of a short business trip.
Carry One Bag
If you're a frequent business traveler you probably having packing in one bag down to a science, but if not, check out our tips for packing light.
Top Green Cities in the United States
According to Popular Science
- Portland, OR
- San Francisco, CA
- Boston, MA
- Oakland, CA
- Eugene, OR
- Cambridge, MA
- Berkeley, CA
- Seattle, WA
- Chicago, IL
- Austin, TX
By Kimberly • March 10, 2010
With going green on the rise, cities across the world are attempting to become more sustainable. That's great news for the green traveler because it means your options are constantly expanding. But it's not always easy to tell if a city is really cleaning up its act, or if it's just for show.
Here are 7 things to consider when choosing a green travel destination.
Check Public Transportation OptionsIf your destination is a city that you'll want to explore extensively, make sure there is a good public transportation system so you won't have to take cabs or rent a car. Most cities have decent websites about their public transportation systems. You can also check travel forums and talk to other travelers who have been where you're going. Better yet, rent a bike and use it as your primary means of transportation.
Look for Greener AccommodationsChoosing a low-impact place to stay is not only greener, it's often less expensive. If the weather is nice, look for camping options. Otherwise, make sure there are hostels. If you're looking at hotels, research the country's hotel energy/environmental standards, then find a hotel that meets those guidelines. For more info check out Finding Environmentally Friendly Hotels through Green Accreditation Directories.
Scope Out the Area for Green SpaceAre there nice parks in the town, or at least within walking or biking distance? What about lakes and hiking trails? There's nothing better than waking up in the morning and walking out the hostel door onto a hiking trail. Of course, that's not easy to do in all places. But if you love the outdoors, make sure your destination has options for green recreation.
Think About WalkabilityWill you be able to walk from your hostel to restaurants and entertainment? If the town is spread out, see if there's a concentration of places you want to see, then book a hostel near those places to make your trip more walkable. Walking is one of the easiest ways to reduce your impact.
Look at Chains Versus Local Business and RestaurantsAre there a number of local businesses you could visit? Or is the city overrun with McDonald's and KFCs? Going to local grocery stores and restaurants is one of the easiest ways to immerse yourself in local culture. And part of the fun of traveling is experience new things, which is hard to do if you stick to what you know and what's available back home.
Check Out the City's Recycling PolicyWith all of the plastic building up in landfills across the world, a solid recycling policy is increasingly urgent. Even some small towns and villages recycle, so pick a destination that has a policy in place. If you really want to visit a place that doesn't recycle, avoid buying plastic and other recyclables while you're there; stick to reusable items instead.
Decide if You'll Really Get to Experience the CultureA big part of being a green traveler is striving to understand different people, cultures, and history. On the surface, it seems that traveling inherently facilitates cultural understanding. In reality, it's far too easy to live in a bubble, even when you're traveling. See if your destination is one that seems to exist exclusively to cater to tourists. If it is, pass it up and look for something that will get you out of your comfort zone and into the culture of your destination.