Green Travel in North America

When it comes to green vacations, forget about exotic rainforests and natural spring-fed spas and focus on what it means to actually go on an eco-friendly trip. 

Taking a green vacation means something different to virtually everyone. To some, it means pitching a tent in the middle of nowhere and roughing it. For others, it means reducing their carbon footprint and staying off the grid to some degree while still taking advantage of amenities and adventures. The biggest thing to remember when taking a green vacation is to be as environmentally-friendly as possible. That means being mindful of transportation, energy conservation, waste, and keeping things as low-impact on the earth as possible. 

Planes, Trains and Automobiles – Getting to your Destination

While some think that a green vacation means traveling thousands of miles to some of the world’s most naturally beautiful locations, this actually goes against the concept of reducing one’s impact on the environment. Green travel should result in the lowest carbon emissions possible, so consider taking a bus or train before driving or flying. 

Public transportation, walking and biking should also be considered, once travelers reach their final destination.

Sometimes it is difficult to reduce carbon emissions; there are companies that can be accessed online so that travelers can donate money to projects that reduce carbon emissions somewhere else in the world. 

Don’t waste your energy

Those interested in green travel generally practice energy conservation methods all the time, but for those unfamiliar with the concept, here are some things to consider while away from home. 

Remember to take shorter showers to reduce water waste. Turn off lights, fans, and air conditioning when leaving the room. If staying in a hotel, re-use towels and sheets to cut down on the energy costs associated with doing laundry. 

While out on the town, look for forms of transportation that don’t result in any carbon emissions. Many towns offer bicycle taxis or rickshaw rides so that tourists can get around and see the sights without taking public transportation or renting a car. 

Waste not, want not

The typical vacation involves a lot of waste, especially when it comes to eating. 

Depending on accommodations, vacationers have the option to cook for themselves, which not only saves money, but also cuts down on energy costs, waste, and natural resources in the area. 

To further reduce waste, bring a reusable water bottle to refill throughout you trip (remember to bring along a water purification kit if the local drinking water isn’t safe). 

Low impact, high expectations

The greenest vacation anyone can take is a staycation. That means staying at home or as close to home as possible. By visiting local attractions like parks, museums, and whatever else is in the area (or just relaxing at home) virtually no carbon emissions are created, so the impact on the earth is minimal. 

To conserve energy during a staycation, turn off needless electronics like the television, computer and cell phones. 

Where to go

Keeping these things in mind, eco-travelers can go virtually anywhere in the United States and beyond – just watch the carbon footprint. 


Dana Rasmussen writes about green travel options and eco-friendly tips for