You want to travel, and you want to do it in a way that’s easy on the environment. You’re also working with a low budget.
It may seem impossible to marry all three of those factors in order to get yourself on vacation, but fear not: You can take several steps to ensure your vacation is equal parts exciting, low-cost and easy on the Earth. Here are four of the many ways to do it:
1. Try Going Without Planes
If you’re traveling outside of the U.S., you might find that flights from point A to point B are cheaper than any other method of transportation. Budget airlines rule the skies in Europe, for example, and make it very easy to ignore a plane’s huge carbon footprint in order to afford your vacation. Five long flights a year can account for 75 percent of the emissions you contribute to the atmosphere, according to The New York Times.
This time around, try and forgo air travel in favor of something ground-based and easier on the Earth. A car-sharing service can get you to your destination at a fraction of the cost, while you share fuel — and your carbon emissions — with the other people in your car. Hybrid buses, trains and even cargo ships can be alternate forms of transit, too. With so many passengers on board all three, your fuel usage for the trek will be very, very low.
2. Find an Eco-Friendly Hostel …
There are plenty of resorts and hotels that have jumped on board with the eco-friendly trend. They’ve been constructed with green materials, they use low-flow showerheads and they only launder your towels once every three days. These destinations are wonderful, but they also tend to be pricey.
Find a happy medium in an eco-friendly hostel. Many have created their own list of green-friendly initiatives, like installing solar panels and collecting rainwater to keep their gardens irrigated. Hostels cost much less per night, so you can afford to take a longer vacation.
3. … Or a Log Cabin
When you picture a log cabin, you probably see a house in the middle of nature, running off the land. Therein lies the reason why log cabins make this list: They make use of clean energy and building materials, meaning your stay in one will align with your green principles.
On top of that, your log cabin rental probably won’t break the bank, either. If it’s situated within a national park or other type of outdoor area, you can entertain yourself with hikes, swimming, climbing and fishing for free.
4. Pack Lighter
You’ve considered where you’ll stay and how you’ll get where you’re going, but you haven’t really thought about what you’ll bring with you. A huge suitcase or backpack filled to the brim with stuff won’t do you any favors in the eco-friendly department. A heavier load on a plane, bus or even in the trunk of your car means it will need more fuel to run properly.
So, learn to pack in an eco-friendly way. Bring rechargeable batteries for your electronics so you only need one set. Pack a reusable grocery bag for shopping trips or day trips to the beach. Edit your clothing choices, too, so you have just what you need — and make use of local laundry facilities if you need more outfits than can fit in your smaller backpack or carry-on suitcase.
These are only four examples of the ways you can make your next vacation both an eco-friendly and a budget-friendly one. With some careful planning, it’s easy to meet in the middle and have an unforgettable, non-regrettable vacation — and there’s no better feeling than that.
Author Bio: Emily feels passionately about building a more sustainable lifestyle to help our planet. You can read her latest updates on conservation and sustainability on her blog, Conservation Folks, or follow her on Twitter.