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Make your next vacation eco-friendly with this handy guide to making the most of your days off.
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Green Living

How to Plan an Eco-Friendly Summer Vacation

Jun 22nd, 2017

Out-of-town trips break up your day-to-day routine and can be refreshing, eye-opening, and inspiring. Unfortunately, long-distance travel is also hard on the environment. If you’ve got kids in school or are a student yourself, chances are you take your longest vacation each year during the summer. Make this year’s summer vacation greener than last year’s with these eco-friendly vacation planning tips.

Choose destination and transportation wisely

Long-distance travel, especially by plane, is carbon-intensive. If you choose a destination you can reach almost as quickly by car, bus, or train as plane, opt for one of these modes of travel. If you do travel by plane, book nonstop travel to minimize carbon emissions associated with your journey.

When planning your trip, research transportation options between attractions in your destination. If getting around primarily by foot, bicycle, and public transit looks manageable, take this route. If renting a car, rent a hybrid or other fuel-efficient vehicle.

Pack eco-friendly items

Everyone in your party should bring a durable, BPA-free reusable bottle. These bottles quickly pay for themselves, and make a big impact on plastic waste. Other earth-friendly items to pack in order to keep non-recyclable waste to a minimum include reusable bags, rechargeable batteries, and your own personal toiletries.

Choose eco-friendly activities

Now for the fun part. When planning your vacation itinerary, consider the eco-friendliness of various activities. Walking, hiking, and other outdoor activities are easy on the environment and give you the opportunity to connect with nature. Several tourist attractions, such as Iceland’s photogenic Blue Lagoon, are powered entirely using renewable energy. Others, including turtle hatcheries in Costa Rica, Sri Lanka, and Thailand, actively promote ecological conservation. If you go on any tours during your summer vacation, try to book with eco-friendly operators.

Seek eco-friendly lodging

A relatively easy way to minimize the impact of your summer vacation on the environment is to book eco-friendly accommodation. Eco lodges and resorts are cropping up all over the world, and plenty of other hotels encourage their employees and guests to use green living practices. is a user-friendly place to search for sustainable accommodation.

Remember the little things

Opting to rent a hybrid car rather than catch a short flight and staying in eco-friendly lodging are the sorts of vacation-planning decisions that can make the biggest environmental impact. But it’s important to not lose sight of the little things you can do to save energy and natural resources. Live like you do in your apartment. Remember to unplug chargers and turn off lights before leaving your guest room. Don’t run water unnecessarily. Only use air conditioning when you need it. The impact these actions have on the environment adds up.

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