Whether you’re heading to the beach, the woods or a hotel this summer, keep these summer travel tips in mind to lessen your impact on the environment.
1. Take a “staycation”. Opt to visit local sights instead of jetting halfway around the world and you’ll not only use less energy, but save money and time too. Read these staycation ideas from Real Simple.
2. Make it educational and inspirational. The volunteer leaders with Sierra Club Outings will take you to some of the most beautiful places on the planet while teaching you about conservation, wildlife and other environmental issues.
3. Lather Up. Protect yourself from skin cancer and toxic chemicals by wearing a sunscreen approved by Environmental Working Group’s Safer Sunscreens guide.
4. Driving? Avoid peak travel times. Traveling on off-peak days can prevent you hitting congested highways. Don’t lose your well-earned time off sitting in traffic!
5. Flying? Avoid layovers and redeyes. Frequent takeoffs and landings use more fuel, and the pollution emitted on night flights has a more detrimental impact on the climate.
6. Offset what you can’t avoid. Inexpensive carbon offsets help mitigate the impact of your air or car travel. Calculate your carbon footprint with Carbonfund.org, and they’ll tell you how much it will cost to offset your travel.
7. Pack light. Extra weight causes airplane and cars to lose efficiency and use more fuel to travel. Leave the kitchen sink at home.
8. Be an Ecotourist. Going abroad? Make sure your trip is protecting the environment and local communities. Conservation International has tips on being an ethical traveler at their website.
9. Volunteer. Join projects to protect endangered species, work on an organic farm, reforest eroded hillsides, or convert abandoned railroad tracks into hiking and biking trails. Plug in your destination into VolunteerMatch to find opportunities near you.
10. Leave your destination better than you found it when vacationing outdoors by following these guidelines from the Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics.