The list of benefits to taking a vacation does not typically include saving the environment -- or even being nice to it. Even though there are many forms of travel that range in eco-friendliness, the only way to be 100% sure you're not hurting the environment on your trip is to simply not go at all.
Travel can be very polluting when factoring in the different aspects of the trip. From the method of transportation used to how much you pack are all components of the overall carbon footprint you'll leave behind.
However, on the scale of no pollution to a lot of pollution, there are ways that you can manage to stay on the greener side of travel. An assortment of travel choices and various states of mind can show you the best way to travel green for your mindset.
"The Enviro-Matrix" is a guide to help you balance your trip between eco-friendly decisions and the amount of effort you put into it. The grid is split into four subsections, with the vertical axis scaling how green your choice is while the horizontal axis scales how difficult they would be. Using this matrix to help you figure out the greenest possible way to travel would be a beneficial tool to having an eco-friendly trip.
Additionally, there are other contributing factors that the Matrix does not cover that can also help create an environmentally savvy trip. Considerations such as where to travel can also help with your overall eco-impact as well. Many places will offer eco-friendly options during your stay or promote the well-being of the surrounding ecosystem and wildlife in numerous ways.
You'll want to be aware of hotel and resort managers who boast about their eco-friendliness but ultimately show no effort to do so. In fact, there's even a term for this. Greenwashing is when "less-than-honest properties and tour operators embellish their Earth-friendly achievements," and it can be a hard scam to spot. That's why it's important to thoroughly research eco-friendly travel opportunities before booking.
When it comes to being an environmentally conscientious traveler, traveling within the country is the better option for limiting greenhouse gas emissions. Domestic travel means to travel within the borders of your country, and about 78% of those domestic air trips are taken for leisure reasons.
While there are circumstances that may hinder your ability to take a domestic trip or travel a certain way, there are still plenty of other ways to make your trip eco-friendly.