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The terms ecotourism, green travel or ecotravel evoke a wide variety of mental images and expectations. However, to travel green one does not have to do without luxury or need to spend a lot of money. Green travel means doing your part to preserve the ecology of the places you visit and nothing more complicated than that. Oftentimes, green travel can save you money at the same time that you are doing your part to protect the planet. Here at Smart Travel & Incentives, we have provided the following list of 18 ways to save money through green tourism.
Packing and Planning
1. Pack light, especially when flying. It not only saves on extra baggage fees, but less baggage equals less weight equals less fuel.
2. Print maps and tourist information before you go. Better yet, borrow a guidebook from the local library and save a tree.
3. Purchase empty travel bottles and fill them with your favorite shampoo and other products. By reusing them on multiple trips you save money and keep dozens of travel size bottles from local landfills.
4. Bring your own digital camera instead of purchasing an expensive disposable camera that can only be used once before being dumped in a landfill.
5. Consider purchasing a solar charger as most cameras, cell phones and iPods can be quickly and easily recharged this way.
6. Consider traveling closer to home this year to avoid flying. Flying is getting more expensive every day and uses a tremendous amount of fuel and contributes a lot of pollution to the air.
7. Combine work and play. If you have to fly somewhere on business plan your personal vacation before or after so you won’t have to fly twice.
10. If you have to rent a car get a small one, or better yet rent a hybrid. Many car rental companies are now offering hybrid vehicles. Sure they might cost a little bit more to rent, but typically you save on fuel prices.
11. If taking your own automobile, take some or all of the following steps to increase your fuel efficiency and save on gas costs while reducing emissions. Have a tune-up before you leave, make sure your tires are properly inflated and reduce the number of unnecessary items you might have stored in the back seat or in your trunk. Turn off the air conditioner whenever possible. Reduce any drag on your car by removing roof racks and driving with your windows closed.
12. Carpool whenever one is available. Carpooling is not just for work anymore!
8. Whenever possible get around town using public transportation.
9. Take short trips by walking or using a bicycle.
During Your Trip
13. Eat locally produced food. It is a lot healthier and less expensive and it saves on all the shipping costs and emissions from transporting them across the country.
14. Buy locally produced souvenirs. Handicrafts made by locals are not only sustainable but they are often a fraction of the price of items shipped in from out of town.
15. Visit local, state and national parks and reserves. The costs are usually very reasonable and the fees are used to support these protected areas.
16. Bring your own reusable water bottle instead of filling up landfills with old ones. If the tap water is not safe to drink at your destination, purchase a gallon size or larger of water and use it to refill your smaller bottle. It saves you money buying in bulk and saves the environment from billions of water bottles.
17. Stay with family and friends whenever possible. Hotels use a lot more energy and resources than homes through daily cleaning, mini bottles of shampoo, hallway lights constantly lit. Whenever you do stay in hotels remember to turn off the lights and TV, turn the A/C down whenever you leave, and when an option reuse the towels and sheets instead of changing them daily.
18. Look into a home exchange whenever you can. This type of tourism not only saves you money over an expensive hotel, but you can more easily practice green living while away from home.
As you can see, using just a few items from the list above can save money and energy and helps one protect the environment while traveling. Smart Travel & Incentives hopes all your vacation dreams come true.