Going green and going on vacation may seem like two incompatible concepts. Let’s face it, most travel leaves a pretty big carbon footprint: planes, trains and automobiles spew carbon emissions, hotels use tons of water and travelers tend to favor the plastic water bottle. But if you are concerned about the environment and want to do your part for the planet, there are lots of ways to start being eco-friendly on vacation.

Peddle or Paddle

Whether it’s a cycling tour through the quaint villages of the Swiss Alps or kayaking in Alaska or the Galapagos, these outdoor experiences will provide healthy doses of exercise mixed with spectacular views and unparalleled access. The small impact this makes on the environment is an obvious bonus. There is nothing that makes Mother Earth prouder than when we use our own power to see the world.

Set Sail

Sailboats and catamarans are easy on the ocean, and they provide a beautiful way to explore gorgeous coastlines. In recent years, major cruise lines have made great strides in new technology designed to add environmental protections. Hurtigruten, an expedition cruise line, is building two new ships that will run on first-of-its-kind hybrid technology. Cruisers can travel through the Arctic regions or the Norwegian fjords on these ships in the near future.

Eat and Drink Local

There are lots of reasons why eating a locally sourced meal is better on vacation–but one of them is that it is eco-friendly when you cut down on the mileage it has to travel to your plate. After all, a local beer will give you both a taste of the town you are in—and be carbon-friendly!

Leave No Trace

When enjoying the great outdoors, follow the guidance of the #leavenotrace movement. For starters, don’t litter (not even biodegradable banana peels and apple cores) and leave everything you find including flowers, rocks and leaves. If you are hiking, make sure you stay on the trail and avoid trampling plants and other foliage. We are all responsible for leaving a space in the same condition we found it for the next visitor.

Reduce Use

It is particularly helpful when traveling to consider limiting the amount of single-use items you use. Water bottles, paper cups, disposable straws, take-out containers and plastic bags are among some of the more obvious. Even if each of us cuts down on some of these during our vacations, the impact would be enormous.

Turns out that sustainable travel is not just a passing trend. A recent travel industry survey found that two-thirds of travelers say they plan to make better environmental decisions while on vacation this year. It seems the majority is interested in leaving the place we visit in better condition than when we found it. How will you do your part?

SIDEBAR:

If environmentally sound vacations are important to you, tell your Mann Travels advisor while you are planning your next vacation. Mann Travels is celebrating 40 years in the Carolinas and has nine area offices. Call one of them today at 800.343.MANN (6266) to start planning.