Green-Friendly Travel Ideas


The desire to explore is one that’s difficult for some people to shake. Some of those wanderers have an equal desire to be kind to the planet and minimize pollution.

The powerful pull of both desires is difficult to balance. How do you satisfy the urge to travel the world without leaving your carbon footprints all over it?

It’s not as difficult as it sounds. With a little planning and some creativity, you can easily put a lot of miles behind you without leaving a cloud of carbon dioxide.

Ditch The Shorelines

If your plans include a land-based sojourn across a single country or continent, you may find that an RV fits well into your plans. Many of these vehicles are more fuel-efficient than you might initially think, and diesel-powered ones can, of course, run on vegetable-based fuels.

But what about once you’ve settled in for the night? Operating all your creature comforts for indoors can affect the comfort of outdoor creatures as your generator spews pollution all night, or as some power plant somewhere pushes electricity to the shoreline you’ve caught at an RV park. A great solution is to use the solar panels for RVs that now on the market. They can generate power to store for later use while the vehicle is no longer running. The glare of the sun that has you squinting on an afternoon westbound drive will let you enjoy TV, internet, and more once you park for the night.

Fly The (Eco-)Friendly Skies

Of course, you can only travel so much on the continent where you begin. That leaves several other land masses unexplored, and they’re totally inaccessible without some amount of air travel.

We know that jets are powered by fossil fuels, so how do we minimize the damaging impact of air travel? Many airlines don’t trouble themselves with keeping their systems green. They focus instead on profits regardless of the environmental impact.

Other carriers realize that many of the same things that reduce pollution also help the bottom line. Strategies like careful route planning, minimizing tarmac idling time, and even working to offset their carbon output with tree-planting strategies can generate immediate and long-term revenues.

Go Minimalist

Once you reach your continent of choice, you can be greener by simplifying your travel. Many people find it far more fulfilling to hike or bike through a smaller area than to drive through a much larger space. You will not only save money but also be a greener traveler with this person-powered approach.

Of course, a consumption-centered journey is less green to begin with. If you stay in hotels and eat in restaurants, you’re generating more waste and energy consumption than if you bed down trailside and perch atop a rock for your meals. The pollution you prevent with a low-tech travel can really add up; you can probably fly a green airline to Maine, hike the trail for a few days, and fly back home on the same carrier with less total carbon impact than the same number of days zipping down Route 66 in a rented convertible.

Traveling green is much like minding the environment in any other area. You can do similar or even better things without generating as much pollution. You just have to spend some time in research and planning to get the best possible outcome. Enjoy your green journey!