How to travel Green?

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Green travel is not a passing trend but a portable lifestyle choice. Consumers are becoming far more environmentally-conscious with regard to travel and how their transportation choices can impact the environment. There is also a growing awareness of corporate social responsibility among both consumers and industry players.

“Sustainable travel is all about creating a positive effect on the communities you visit,” said Jon Bruno, executive director of the International Ecotourism Society. “Leave the place better than you found it.”

Choose a green mode of transportation — shrink your carbon footprint

The greenest rides run on electric power or alternative fuels and boast a high occupancy rate. Switzerland is leading the caravan with its hybrid buses and trains powered by hydroelectricity; Japan is running close behind.

“Among land transport, trains are generally very environmentally friendly,” said Randy Durband, chief executive of the Global Sustainable Tourism Council. “In terms of non-rail transport, the larger number of passengers per vehicle is best.” For Durband, the magic number is 40-plus.

Cruising can be very, very good or very, very bad. Sailboats and catamarans are as gentle on the planet as a sea breeze; larger vessels can have a stormier effect on the environment. But it seems that knowing their negative impact on the environment, the cruise lines have been making strides. They are installing LED lights and tinted windows, using low-sulphur fuels and recycling all types of refuge. Last year, Royal Caribbean combined forces with the World Wildlife Fund to set sustainability goals for 2020, such as reducing carbon emissions and serving sustainable seafood.

The future of electric transportation — Electric planes

From commuting in air taxis to making regional flights more affordable and long- haul flights more environmentally friendly, electric planes hold a lot of promise. Right now, more than 200 start-ups are working on building some sort of electric aircraft, according to Bob Buddecke, the vice president of power systems for Honeywell Aerospace. Some small electric planes have completed test flights, but most of the focus is on hybrid planes, especially for higher capacity long distance flights. That’s because batteries are still far heavier and less efficient than jet fuel — and the heavy regulation that surrounds air travel needs time to catch up. (source — CNBC)

Until we wait for the first “solely” biofuel run airlines we should try to avoid airplanes as there is nothing green about them, or at least minimize its use (as much as you can ) and keep in mind the following bullet points:

  • Compensate your CO2 emission ( Scandinavian Airlines C02 compensates all travel made by their members in Eurobonus)
  • Travel less but stay longer
  • Select a full flight on a large plane in a fuel-efficient fleet
  • Book the itinerary with the fewest number of connections ( because takeoffs and landings guzzle fuel)
  • Patronize green airports
  • Pack light and bring a refillable water bottle and snacks from home
  • Pass on first-class (The extra leg and elbow room is a waste of space and fuel)

Choose a green hotel

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There are countless resorts and hotels; the issue is that not all of these are remotely eco-friendly. It can be tough to sort the wheat from the chaff when choosing accommodation, because of things like greenwashing.

Greenwashing is a real issue, with an alarmingly large number of hotels and accommodation providers using eco-consciousness as a PR stunt.

How can you know the difference? Look for a fact sheet online, or call the front desk and unleash the questions. Ask them how they dispose of their gray water and if they compost. Inquire about the bathroom fixtures and toiletries, in-room recycling bins and the provenance of the restaurant food. You should know that the most holistically green hotels support the three pillars of sustainable tourism: environmental, social and economic.

  • As a guest, you can also advance the cause without much effort and these are some of the things you can do:
  • Participate in the hotel’s linen-and-towel-reuse program
  • Always turn off the lights when you leave the room
  • Skip the bottles of water in your room and refill your own beverage container
  • Decline housekeeping
  • Use water glasses and coffee mugs instead of plastic or paper ones
  • Avoid buffets, which result in mounds of wasted food
  • Recycle (If the hotel is not visibly recycling, ask them to begin doing so. They need to hear this from more customers.)
  • Wear outfits more than once

One success story: In the 1980s, a guest at the Bucuti & Tara Beach Resort in Aruba shared his disappointment with the bar’s use of plastic cups. Owner Ewald Biemans agreed and eliminated the wasteful materials. Since that one exchange, the resort has racked up numerous awards and accolades for its environmental practices. Last year, Green Globe, a certification board, named the property the “Most Sustainable Hotel & Resort in the World.” The resort scored a 98 out of 100.

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