Travel can be fun — and eco-friendly, too

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Many peo­ple go to great lengths to ad­here to eco-friendly life­styles at home. That de­vo­tion to the en­vi­ron­ment may or may not con­tinue when they travel, but it is en­tirely pos­si­ble for trav­el­ers to take their eco-con­scious be­hav­iors with them on the road.

Whether trav­el­ing for per­sonal or pro­fes­sional rea­sons, trav­el­ers can im­ple­ment a hand­ful of sim­ple strate­gies to re­duce their car­bon foot­prints while away from home.

• Rent a hy­brid or eco-friendly ve­hi­cle. If you will be rent­ing a car dur­ing your trip, book a hy­brid ve­hi­cle or a small, fuel-ef­fi­cient model to cut back on fuel con­sump­tion. Many ve­hi­cles are now equipped with “eco mode,” a fea­ture that typ­i­cally forces the trans­mis­sion to up­shift sooner than it nor­mally would in an ef­fort to con­serve fuel. Cars in eco mode may seem some­what slug­gish, but that slug­gish­ness is ac­tu­ally the eco mode do­ing its job. It might take some get­ting used to, but driv­ing in eco mode can help trav­el­ers re­duce their ve­hi­cles’ fuel con­sump­tion.

• Re­use tow­els at the hotel. Many ho­tels now ask guests to re­use tow- els in or­der to con­serve wa­ter. Guests who want to make their hotel stays as eco-friendly as pos­si­ble should work with ho­tels and re­use their tow­els for as long as pos­si­ble. If vis­it­ing a re­sort, try to use the same pool or beach towel for as long as pos­si­ble as well.

• Pa­tron­ize restau­rants that of­fer lo­cally grown foods. An­other way to be eco-friendly when trav­el­ing is to eat your meals at restau­rants that use only lo­cally grown foods and in­gre­di­ents. Eat­ing lo­cal re­duces the need to trans­port foods across long dis­tances, cut­ting back on fuel costs as a re­sult. In ad­di­tion, pro­po­nents of eat­ing lo­cal foods in­sist that lo­cally grown foods taste fresher than foods brought in from afar.

• Use mass trans­porta­tion. When pos­si­ble, use mass trans­porta­tion rather than re­ly­ing on taxis or car ser­vices. Take a bus or train from the air­port to your hotel, and ride the sub­way or just walk when sight­see­ing. Many trav­el­ers in­sist that rid­ing mass trans­porta­tion when vis­it­ing a city pro­vides a much more re­al­is­tic ex­pe­ri­ence of life in that city than trav­el­ing by cab or driv­ing alone.

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