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7 Steps to Optimize Your Travel for the Environment

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7 Strategies to Improve Your Travel’s Environmental Impact

Traveling is an important part of life. You travel to get to work on a daily basis and to see your family and friends. You also travel to see new parts of the world and to gain new experiences. The problem is, many forms of travel, including driving a car or flying in a plane, can be destructive to the environment. Burning fuel produces carbon emissions, and puts strain on finite resources available to us.

So what steps can you take to continue traveling freely, while also reducing the strain you put on the environment?

Important Steps to Take

These are some of the best steps you can take to improve your environmental impact when traveling:

  1. Ride a bike: Start riding a bike. Chances are, your workplace and some of your most important errands are all within biking distance. Not only will you keep your fuel-intensive car off the road, but you’ll also get the chance to enjoy the fresh air and scenery, and give yourself a workout along the way. See if your workplace has a bike-to-work program, and make the investment in a bicycle. You’ll be glad you did.
  2. Recycle your old car: If you have an old car sitting around, consider recycling it. Old cars tend to have terrible fuel efficiency so the miles you drive with it will be much harder on the environment than those of its newer counterpart. When you recycle a car, it will be broken down into its base components; some of the usable parts might be used to make repairs in other vehicles, but others will be scrapped and reused for other applications. It’s a highly sustainable practice.
  3. Invest in a smaller, newer vehicle: The fuel economy of vehicles keeps getting better as we develop newer, better technologies. Electric and hybrid cars consume very little gasoline, but any semi-new vehicle will be an upgrade from your older model. Smaller vehicles also tend to consume less fuel than their bigger counterparts.
  4. Take public transportation: You can also reduce your carbon footprint dramatically by taking public transportation. In most major cities, getting a public transit pass is far less expensive than buying and maintaining a vehicle, especially over the course of years. You’ll be using less fuel as well. On top of that, if you use public transportation for commuting, you can spend the extra time working, since you won’t have to focus on the road.
  5. Offset your carbon emissions via plane: If you’re traveling to another country, or somewhere hundreds of miles away, your best option is to get a flight—but flights can be very fuel-intensive. Fortunately, many airlines now offer their passengers the opportunity to offset their carbon emissions, for a small additional fee. With the extra money, airlines invest in trees and plant life, and other initiatives meant to improve the environment.
  6. Choose the right hotels and travel companies: While you’re at it, be choosy with the hotels you stay in and the other travel accommodations you seek. Some companies go out of their way to provide recycling options and protect the environment, while others are far less sustainable. Do your research in advance of your trip, and spend your money on the most sustainable options you can find.
  7. Don’t travel unnecessarily: Though it may require a sacrifice for some of you, it’s also important to avoid traveling unnecessarily; in other words, don’t drive around for the sole purpose of driving around. If you’re going to spend the time, money, and resources on travel, make sure you’re trying to get somewhere or accomplish something.

One Step at a Time

You don’t need to start a revolution or completely change your lifestyle to make a positive change for the environment. As you can see, sometimes a small tweak or a change in your approach is all it takes to start making a difference. On a big enough scale, over the course of years and with a few million people following these steps, we can mitigate the damage we’ve been doing to the environment—and hopefully, start reversing it.

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Like everyone else, I am a child of the earth. I love my animals, and I love the environment. As modernization pushes us forward and introduces us to an exciting new world filled with advanced technology, it is easy to forget about.

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