Eco-Friendly Travel Tips

Did you know that carbon dioxide emissions from travel are one of the largest contributors to global warming? Before you hit the road this summer to jump on a plane, train or automobile, or book your next hotel room, think about becoming more conscious of minimizing–or at least offsetting–your total footprint on the planet.  Here are just a few ways to help get you moving in a greener direction:   

1. Fly Greener Skies
Airplanes release both carbon dioxide and nitrous oxide, which when released high into the atmosphere during flight, create a global warming effect twice as intense as carbon dioxide alone.  To minimize this impact, book your next flight with a more environmentally-friendly airline like Lufthansa, Virgin or Continental, which recently modernized its fleet and switched to energy-efficient dual twin vs. four engine aircrafts, which helps reduce greenhouse gas emissions by a whopping 35%.

2. Go Green to and from the Airport
With train stops at Midway and O‚ÄôHare, the greenest‚Äîand cheapest–way to the airport is simply hopping on the CTA.  But if you must have door-to-door service or are running late, forego an oil-guzzling taxi and schedule an eco-friendly car service like Chicago‚Äôs Going Green Limousine.  Their hybrid and flex-fuel vehicles use up to 80% fewer greenhouse gases, and are available for service throughout Chicago, Milwaukee and Northwest Indiana.

3. Stay in a Green Hotel
Who says traveling green means you have to give up luxury?  On your next vacation, book a four-star eco-suite at a local green B&B or national green hotel chain like The Fairmont or Kimpton Hotels.  With a growing number of conscious consumers requesting green amenities like in-room recycling, energy and water-efficient appliances, and local and organic hotel cuisine, these hotels are setting the eco-bar high for hotels worldwide.

4. Drink Eco-Friendly Water
Staying hydrated is important for maintaining optimal health when you travel.  Though convenient on the road, plastic water bottles leach nasty chemicals into drinking water, your body, and the planet and eventually end up in landfills or our precious oceans.  As an alternative, travel with refillable stainless steel water bottles from companies like Klean Kanteen, Sigg and Eco Usable, or try local company Green Planet‚Äôs tasty vapor-distilled water, which comes in BPA-free biodegradable bottles made from plants.

5. Offset Your Travel Carbon Footprint
If you aren‚Äôt to make a greener choice with your air, car or hotel, not to worry, you can still reduce the overall environmental impact of your lifestyle through carbon offsetting.  Through sites like, consumers can easily calculate the total amount of carbon generated from their daily travel and lifestyle, and offset that amount by purchasing ‚Äúcarbon offset credits‚Äù.  Through these credits, you can personally contribute to innovative greenhouse gas-reducing projects around the world that generate renewable energy from wind, solar and biomass.  

No matter where you fall on the green travel continuum, there are plenty of ways to reduce your carbon footprint, so just pick one and commit to it!  Mother Earth will thank you.

More from Michael Alexander

Couture for a Cause: Runway to Green

At last, the fashion industry has responded en masse to consumer demand...
Read More

What do you think?