St John's Travel: Tips For Travelling Sustainably - Reducing Consumption
Here are tips for planning your sustainable and envionmentally concious vacation and business travel:
- Pack Your Environmental Ethic
A 2007 survey by a major hotel chain found that most people relaxed or ignored their normal environmental habits when traveling, including simple things like turning off lights and using less water. This may be because you are not directly paying for the hot water, taking out the trash, or washing the sheets & towels yourself.
- Go Paperless
Use online resources to plan and book your trip, and print any necessary maps, lists, and reservations documents at home on recycled paper.
Using airline and hotel e-tickets saves them money and paper, and speeds your processing at the airport. Paper tickets, if lost, can cost $75-100 to be replaced. In 2008, the International Air Transport Association (IATA), which represents over 230 airlines and comprises more than 90 percent of international scheduled air traffic, switched to electronic ticketing, which will save 50,000 mature trees each year or about three square miles (five square kilometers) of forest.
- Plan Dates Carefully
Traveling to destinations during their "high season" can increase your overall negative impact, so consider visiting a month earlier or later. Travelling in "shoulder" or off season can provide a more relaxed holiday, and the destination area can be rejuvenated from the rush of high season. To lessen the negative impact of your travels, you should research your destination before you book
- Plan Going During a Festival
Scheduling trips in conjunction with vibrant, local celebrations provides a window into the culture and helps support traditional crafts and customs. Consider ways to lessen your impact on a culture when traveling.
- Sign the "Responsible Traveler" Pledge
Sign the Friends of World Heritage online Responsible Travel Pledge, to help preserve the natural & cultural attributes of places you visit. This helps to preserve areas like the more than 850 places that the United Nations has recognized as World Heritage sites.
This pledge has 3 components:
- Discover the natural and cultural beauty of World Heritage sites by learning about the history, customs, folklore, and biodiversity that make them so special.
- Share their commitment to these sites with hotels, tour operators, and other travel-related entities.
- Preserve the natural and cultural values of World Heritage sites by following designated trails, respecting local rules and customs, and not removing archaeological or biological treasures.
- Choose ENERGY STAR Properties
When booking hotel reservation in the United States, go to Energy Star for Hospitality to find accommodation in your destination that have earned the Energy Star label. These hotels reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 30 to 35 percent. For a 200 room hotel, this is equivalent to about 600 tons of carbon emissions, or 2.5 railroad cars of coal.
- Support Sustainable Tourism Practices
Choose tour operators that support sustainable tourism through their bookings and operating policies. Before booking, ask the key question, how do they support sustainable tourism practices? Those that do not have a good answer, or are clueless, should be skipped for a better operator.
- Get a Green Map
When travelling, a locally designed Green Map (available for more than 400 cities in 50 countries) can be a great resource with a fresh, eco-friendly perspective. These maps typically highlights local natural and cultural resources (like parks, bike paths, farmers markets), as well as green products & services.
- Book Responsibly
Let hotel operators know that environmentally sound practices and stewardship are important by staying at certified, eco-friendly properties. There are certification programs including the international Green Globe, CERES' Green Hotel Initiative (GHI); Coalition for Environmentally Responsible Conventions (CERC); Florida's Green Lodging Program, and Environmentally Friendly Hotels.
- Book New
New hotels are more likely to include state-of-the-art energy saving features, including new appliances, low flow faucets and toilets, compact fluorescent light fixtures, and with more efficient heating and cooling systems for maximum energy and cost savings. Newly equipped hotels can save about 16,500 litres of water per room annually;
- Book Basic
When selecting accommodation, choose a smaller, simpler option with fewer amenities. These typically consume less energy while providing more personal and authentically local service. Top-flight hotels use a lot more energy than a simple roadside hotel.
In their defence, since 1992 many top hotel chains, including Fairmont, Hilton, Marriott and Starwood have adopted responsible environmental standards, to qualify as a Green Hotel.
- Book "Sense of Place"
Responsible travellers should also support hotels, lodges, and resorts that enhance sense of place and help protect the character and authenticity of a destination. "Generic" looking hotels lack that sense of place. COnsider heritage travel resources like the National Trust for Historic Preservation's Historic Hotels of America (HHA), which connects to over 200 HHA hotels and resorts in the United States which provide historical integrity, architecture, and ambience, as well as at partner properties in other countries.
More sustainable and envionmentally concious vacation and business travel suggestions.