Green travel can be accomplished to some degree in many different ways, and most of the options can be applied to both local and international travel. Depending on the destination, travelers may not be able to avoid air or ship travel, but between the two, most experts agree that travel by ship has less negative environmental impact than flying. Upon arrival, there are many options to help ensure green travel. Travelers should opt for bicycles or trains for transport to locales that cannot be reached by foot, and hotels should be researched to find out which ones operate in an environmentally friendly way. Many international hotels and motels now publish their green footprint online, and if not, they will generally be willing to answer questions via email or phone.
Some hotels now offer a program targeted at reusing linens to help offset energy for guests interested in green travel. The program typically gives their guests the opportunity to use sheets and towels for three or four days before changing them. This can drastically reduce the amount of energy used for linen cleaning. In addition, some hotels now offer recycling bins both within their lobbies and in the suites themselves. Lighting is also important, so travelers should inquire whether the hotel uses energy-saving bulbs or traditional lighting.
If air travel cannot be avoided, travelers should check with their airline about the type of plane they are booking. Some planes are fitted with additional wings that can sometimes cut fuel use by as much as 3%. In addition, air travelers can make an effort to be sure their flight is fully booked, as more people who fly at one time on a single plan can theoretically leave a smaller carbon footprint.
When traveling inside a single continent, when air or ship is not necessary, ensuring green travel typically means traveling by train or bus. For shorter trips, it may be a good idea to carpool. Many people advertise in local newspapers to locate others who may want to share their trip. Some experts on green travel recommend saving up vacation time and taking one trip per year, as taking a singular, longer trip will generally leave a smaller carbon footprint than several short ones.
Travelers interested in a cruise should probably look into sailing. Wind energy is considered one of the most environmentally friendly forms of energy, and some cruise lines now offer wind-powered excursions. In addition, it may be possible to charter a sailboat for personal or group use.