Many of us are looking for ways to make sustainable choices in every part of our lives. Travel choices might seem a little tricky, but we’ve actually got some suggestions to help you bring “green choice” into your vacation plans.

Stay close to home

Generally speaking, the closer you stay to home, the smaller the carbon footprint. Luckily, staycations are all the rage right now and hotels offer some amazing deals right in your own backyard. Take a walking tour of your own city, visit a museum or two, or drive instead of fly to a nearby spot.

Choose a sustainable airline

As we’ve already mentioned, you can choose to put your money where your mouth is. You can choose to book a hotel that prioritizes the environment, and you can do the same for flights. KLM uses biofuel for certain routes. KLM and All Nippon Airways both rank highly in the Dow Jones Sustainability Index.

Visit a Destination that is in Need of Support

You can take a volunteer trip, visiting a destination that may be rebuilding after some sort of natural disaster. Tourism dollars can help a devastated community rebuild faster.

Choose a sustainable travel agent

If you’re the kind of person who likes a travel agent, or you book package tours, you can use a sustainable travel agency. An agency like Lokal will help you book activities that take environmental impact into consideration.

Put money back into the local economy

If you really want to practice responsible travel, there’s one surefire way to do so. Spend your tourist dollars on local businesses. Avoid chains where you can, stay with family-owned hotels or homestays, and dine at restaurants owned by local folks as well.

Make sustainable  travel dining choices

Avoid all-inclusive resorts that offer all-you-can-eat, western style buffets and – once again – go local. If you ask around where local people eat, you’ll eliminate waste and put more money back into the pockets of local farmers and purveyors as well.

Hop a Train any train

Planes, boats and automobiles are big time carbon emissions offenders. Did you know that trains emit the lowest levels of greenhouse gasses? They’re also an excellent way to take in the scenery and relax, while practcing a more sustainable travel strategy. Many countries around the world have efficient train systems – get out of your comfort zone and explore by rail!

Elect for public transport where you can

Speaking of train systems, another great way to be responsible is to take local buses or even walk. Traveling like a local is a great way to meet people, and it keeps big tourism buses or private cars off the road.

Bring home responsible souvenirs

If you avoid chain stores and markets, you can avoid shopping for imported goods. It’s also a good idea to avoid animal products when you don’t know their origin. Some animals could be endangered – please don’t unwittingly be a part of an environmental impact problem.

Choose the Green Flight

On, we offer a way for you to choose the most responsible flight option for your trip. Yes, we now offer “green choice.” A “green choice” flight can be selected from your search results. Just look for the leaf and “green choice” label. A green choice flight offers relative fuel efficiency compared to the other flights offered for any one itinerary. Usually, a nonstop flight will be the most fuel efficient, but a flight with a layover may also be considered fuel efficient if the distance between the traveled cities is shorter than other options. You can compare the flight you’re considering with all of the other options on offer and choose the one that promotes a lower carbon footprint.

We hope this post has given you some small ways you can be more aware of how travel impacts local communities. If everyone makes more thoughtful choices, we can all have a more positive impact on the communities we visit.

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