In the same way that living a greener life is less about buying green goods and more about living conscientiously, being a greener traveler isn't so much about picking green hotels as it is about reconsidering the way we travel. These 8 simple ideas will reduce your environmental traveling impact without adding a cent to your vacation budget.
1. Travel locally. So many people travel internationally before they explore their own backyards, and you don't have to go to the ends of the earth to experience the joys of travel.
2. Use holiday homes instead of hotels. Home swaps (or house swaps) or short term rentals give you the opportunity to live in local apartments, cottages or beach houses. They are more comfortable, more convenient and they give the freedom to relax.
3. Eat in. If you're staying in a holiday home you are much more able and likely to cook for yourself. Take advantage of all the new fresh and local produce. Take your time, and enjoy your surroundings.
4. Walk, cycle or use public transport. In my experience, there is no better way of getting to see a place than by walking. More and more cities are providing walking tour maps, rental bike hubs and touring public transport passes.
6. Bring your own. Using your own water bottles and toiletries means that you don't have to use disposable, single use items.
7. Support the local community. When you're staying somewhere new it benefits everyone to support the local community however you can. Buy locally made souvenirs, shop at local businesses and when you eat out, eat at locally owned restaurants.
8. Limit your energy consumption. It's easy when you're on vacation to bring your portable dvd players, cd players, game consoles, laptops etc. But enjoy your vacation, if you can, leave them at home and keep up the everyday practices like turning off lights and air conditioners.
(image source: sarah starkey)