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Eco Friendly Travel Tips

Updated on February 28, 2011

Green your Vacation or Business Trip with Easy Eco Friendly Tips for Travel

In the quest for a greener lifestyle, the world's "on the go" attitude often puts the brakes on more eco friendly options, making waste filled convenience the go-to method for travel. From easy to carry individually wrapped snacks to free hotel soaps, waste is abundance when travelling.

Is it possible to be greener on vacation without putting a serious cramp into your fun or spending additional money? Yes! You'll actually save money, make your trip more fun, try new things, and have less to carry. Read on for some ideas and eco friendly travel tips!

Staying away in a hotel can consume a lot more waste than you might think. You might be thinking that you just sleep in the bed and leave, but there's more to the process. When you arrive in the hotel, you check in and enter your room. Once in the room, the temperature might be adjusted, the lights are turned on in every corner, the TV is left going, and all the free toiletries are scoffed up.

What can you do to lighten your load on your hotel stay?

To make your hotel stay a little greener, try out the following:

  • Reuse your towels. If you're staying in a hotel more than one night, hanging your towel back on the rack universally means "I'll use it again." That way, you'll be conserving extra water and energy from washing an extra towel.
  • Conserve extra water by limiting your shower time.
  • Opt out of receiving a newspaper if possible. Save a tree.

Get paperless billing for your hotel stay. You can often avoid getting a bill if you use express checkout.

Take the stairs. If you're able, spare some electricity and walk the stairs. It's good for you!

Don't take all of the toiletries in the room unless you really need them. Besides, the quality of the hotel toiletries isn't something that you'll want to remember when you get home!

Bring your own food. Vending machine snacks are full of excessive packaging, not to mention they're notoriously unhealthy. Pack up snacks in reusable containers of various sizes and you'll be eating better, saving money, and doing a good green deed by avoiding all of that packaging.

Turn down the AC or heat in your room. Crack a window if possible and get some fresh air! Turn down thermostat just a few degrees in the cold weather and you'll sleep more comfortably and save energy.

Don't have the bedding changed unless necessary. One room's hotel bedding can often take up one normal sized washing machine!

Instead of using disposable styrofoam coffee or water cups, bring your own reusable mug or plastic cup. It tastes better that way anyway.

From reusing towels to leaving that hotel soap, you can make a small impact on the amount of resources you consume while staying

From reusing towels to leaving that hotel soap, you can make a small impact on the amount of resources you consume while staying
From reusing towels to leaving that hotel soap, you can make a small impact on the amount of resources you consume while staying

It's okay to admit, this poll is anonymous! So here's our question...

Do you take the hotel soaps home with you?

See results

Green your Ride - Get a More Efficient Vehicle

Opt for a gas efficient car rental and save cash, lower emissions

Hybrid rental cars are tougher to come by in most rental dealerships than regular non-hybrid cars. Not surprisingly, hyrbids like the Toyota Prius, Honda Civic Hybrid, and Toyota Camry Hybrid often top "most fuel efficent car" lists everywhere. Generally, the smaller the car, the less gas it consumes. The hybrid version of the Chevy Tahoe is going to consume far more gas than the non-hybrid Toyota Yaris. Here's a list of cars that aren't gas pigs that would be excellent fuel efficient picks when non-hybrid cars are your only choice:

  • Volkswagen Jetta
  • Nissan Versa
  • Hyundai Sonata
  • Honda Civic
  • Ford Escape Hybrid
  • Toyota Yaris
  • Hyundai Accent
  • Ford Focus
  • Chevy Cobalt
  • Mazda Mazda5 Minivan
  • Kia Rondo

Chevrolet Cobalt: It's not a hybrid, but it's greener than the hyrbid version of the Toyota Highlander.

Chevrolet Cobalt:  It's not a hybrid, but it's greener than the hyrbid version of the Toyota Highlander.
Chevrolet Cobalt: It's not a hybrid, but it's greener than the hyrbid version of the Toyota Highlander.

Using Alternative Transportation

Ditch the car and go by foot to save energy and burn calories

When you're staying in large cities, public transportation is always an option. Buses are often very affordable, while travel by train can save time and money. In some cities, there's also the alternative of public boat transportation (like in Boston and New York City).

You can find the local public transportation in any city you're visiting by using the American Public Transportation Association.

Green Travel with Pets

Even pets consume energy! Make their travel experience a little more earth friendly...

Pet travel has become enormously popular in the past decade. Along with this newfound habit and growing love for our pets comes increased energy consumption! First you may want to analyze where you might be consuming energy...

Some Places your Pets Consume Energy

  • Eating and transporting food (are you bringing too much?)
  • Their body weight when travelling (can't do much about this!) by air, car, train etc.
  • Excrement -- paper towels and pooch bags to clean up the mess
  • Purchasing special pet transport supplies -- portable bowls, pet carriers...
  • Wee pads (if still traning), packaging for pet food

As you can see, pets consume things just like people. However, it's really people consuming these things and making these decisions, not the pets. As much as we love our pets, it might be a better idea to leave your pet with a friend or family member sometimes. Travel is very stressful for most animals. If you do decide that Fido has to make the trip with you, consider bring reusable containers for food, and only bring as much as you know your pet will eat during the trip. There's also biodegradable pooch bags available that will break down in a matter of months instead of hundreds (to thousands) of years.

Flying Green - Choosing the Most Eco Friendly Planes

According to's carboon footprint calculator, a nonstop flight from LaGuardia Airport in New York to LAX Airport in Los Angeles, California would emit 3,841 lbs CO2.

Carry on luggage is becoming heavier. New fees attached to checked luggage mean more stuffed overhead bins.

Carry on luggage is becoming heavier. New fees attached to checked luggage mean more stuffed overhead bins.
Carry on luggage is becoming heavier. New fees attached to checked luggage mean more stuffed overhead bins.

Trains vs Airplanes

While trains may emit less pollution than airplanes, jets often have an overall better efficiency rating. Flights are often near capacity, resulting in a maximized efficiency and greener form of transportation.

Is it possible to fly greener?

Is it possible to fly greener?
Is it possible to fly greener?

Raw foods use less packaging and aren't cooked, so they use less energy, too.

Raw foods use less packaging and aren't cooked, so they use less energy, too.
Raw foods use less packaging and aren't cooked, so they use less energy, too.

Don't worsen jet lag symptoms!

Convenient, high sugar foods like cookies and carb heavy breads are going to bog you down and worsen any jet lag. Bring fresh cut veggies and a sandwich you made yourself on the plane would be a much fresher and healthier option, not to mention be a little greener, too.

Do you buy travel size containers for travel or use refillable containers?

See results

Bring your Own Refillable Containers

Find just the right size containers for your travels and use them over and over again!

Is buying more greener?

When it comes to packaging, it's often a greener choice to buy more. Buying the bigger size containers and portioning them out into reusable containers can save yourself lots of cash and cut down on excess packaging that would otherwise end up in a landfill.

Green Travel Videos - Videos about making your travel a more eco friendly

Leave a note in our Guestbook to let us know you were here or to just say hello!

Travel Books for your Next Trip! - Get the Amazon Kindle download version to be even greener!

Have Some Green Travel Tips of your Own? - Share them with everyone!

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    • smithlights profile image


      8 years ago

      I used to tour for work and spent months living in hotel rooms. In one, (yes, ONE) hotel over the years, they did not offer tiny bar soaps, but refillable hand soap dispensers. I can only imagine what a difference this would make! They also had a refillable shampoo dispenser in the shower. I believe they had small ones available at the desk, but imagine the amount of soaps and wrappers they saved! I wish it would catch on!

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      help with an assignment thanks

    • aesta1 profile image

      Mary Norton 

      10 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      I really like the tips here. We travel all the time and doing one or two of these to start will bring some benefits. Will really try this time.

    • profile image


      10 years ago

      Some great tips here, I will surely remember at least some of them next time I travel.

    • profile image


      10 years ago

      excellent information. traveling is fun and full of memories but little we realize that it causes such a great impact on our environment. Following your tips, we could still make our travels fun and memorable but limiting our impact in our environment, thanks.

    • TopStyleTravel profile image


      11 years ago

      This lens covers all the bases, 5 stars! We walk from our hotel, rather than use a rental car or taxi for shopping, dining and sight seeing. It is great exercise and allows for quality time.

    • profile image


      11 years ago

      Another excellent lens from TheGreenerMe. Well worth 5 stars

      Thank you for all the work you've obviously put in on this, it make a great read.

    • KimGiancaterino profile image


      11 years ago

      You always have such great advice... thanks for adding this to All Things Travel.

    • Paula Atwell profile image

      Paula Atwell 

      11 years ago from Cleveland, OH

      Very useful information. Welcome to Living the Green Organic Lifestyle.

    • WritingforYourW profile image


      11 years ago

      I was horrified when I learned how much fuel an airplane uses. Makes me feel I should be taking vacations locally whenever possible.

    • anthropos lm profile image

      Lamar Ross 

      11 years ago from Florida

      A lot of information. Thanks for joining ”Anything and Everything Travel” Group.

    • TheBookGarden1 profile image


      11 years ago

      some excellent sugestions and tips, though I can;t agree that any form of airtravel is green. Comparing to undercapacity trains isn't a fair comparison, many domestic flights are also undercapacity, if you calculate both at capacity the train wins easily! You should maybe encourage visitors to consider train options, theyget to see more of the country and more of the country is served by trains than airports.

    • profile image


      11 years ago

      Can I just say "wow"! What a great lens, chalked full of excellent tips and suggestions. Imagine, if we all did just a little bit more, what a difference it would make! - Kathy

    • profile image


      11 years ago

      Excellent lens and important, thoughtful, information! (and your avatar is adorable!)

      5* Fav from me!


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