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Top 10 Earth Friendly Ways to Travel

Aug 11, 2008
As concerns about emissions and global warming increase, people are scrambling to make all of their regular activities more environmentally friendly. Travel has been singled out by many as one of the biggest contributors to the climate change problem. Fortunately, there are many ways to make travel greener. By keeping these Earth friendly means of travel in mind, you can take a trip and help the environment at the same time.

1. Walk

Perhaps the most environmentally friendly means of travel is walking. While walking between cities or across oceans is obviously impossible, any trip can be made greener by increasing the amount of time walking. Not only is walking good for the environment, it is a great way to get some fresh air and exercise. It will also put you in close contact with the place you are visiting, potentially increasing your enjoyment of the trip.

2. Ride a Bike

The only downside of walking is that it can be slow. Riding a bike is a faster, zero emission, alternative. Like walking, riding a bike is a great way to get some exercise and fresh air. Bikes can be purchased new or used and sometimes even found for free. If you are visiting a new city, it is worth finding a bike shop that has rentals available. A rented bike is the perfect vehicle for a tour of a new place.

3. Mass Transit

In some places the weather, terrain, or traffic congestion makes walking and riding a bike challenging. If walking or riding a bike is impractical, look for public transport. The city bus or subway is a great way to get around and the overall environmental impact is significantly less than that of driving or taking taxi cabs.

4. Take the Train

If you are traveling greater distances, see if a train is available. Trains are fast and comfortable and give off dramatically fewer emissions than airplanes or even buses. Many people argue that, since the train will be making the trip with or without you, the individual emissions responsibility is zero. Whether you agree with this or not, the train is a one of the most earth friendly means of travel around.

5. Take a Bus

If the train is not available, or is too expensive for your budget, taking the bus is a good alternative. While not as comfortable as flying or taking a train, the bus is reliable and more environmentally friendly than flying. With stations in most towns and the center of many cities, the bus is also often the most convenient option among all public transport.

6. Rent a Hybrid

If you need to drive, try renting a hybrid. Though slightly more expensive than standard car rentals, hybrids offer considerable fuel savings and decreased emissions. Once difficult to find, hybrids are now carried by most major rental agencies and are available from offices across the country.

7. Share a Ride

If you are going to be driving a large distance, consider sharing the ride with someone else. Ask friends and family when you are planning your trip if they know anyone with a similar itinerary. If this fails, visit your local church, library, or community center and see if they have a ride board. Similar services are also set up online. By sharing the trip with someone else, you effectively cut the potential emissions in half.

8. Offset Your Emissions

Whether you drive or fly, consider reducing your emissions by participating in an offset program. When you pay into one of these programs, your money is given to projects that work to reduce carbon emissions, global warming, and climate change. By giving an amount of money proportional to your expected travel emissions, you can make your trip "carbon neutral."

9. Stay Still

Of course, not traveling at all is the only way to totally eliminate emissions, but many of us are not willing or are not able to give up or travel plans. Still, we can embrace this philosophy on our trips to reduce our overall impact. Instead of traveling to a place and then moving constantly to neighboring areas, try slowing down if possible. Go to one place and stay there. It may mean that you do not see the same number of different places, but each one you visit will be experienced to the fullest.

10. Stay Local

By not traveling as far from your home you can also make the trip more environmentally friendly. While it may not seem as exotic or exciting at first, there are likely neighboring areas that you have not visited, at least not as a tourist. This can be a fun and exciting way to see the area in which you live. Even if you travel far away, consider keeping things local once you get to your destination. Try to eat food that comes from nearby and buy sovereigns and products from that region.

Travel can have a huge impact on the climate and environment, but it does not have to. By keeping some of these tips in mind when making your travel plans you can make your trip much more earth friendly.
About the Author
Rent a Hybrid Car (http://www.hybrid-rental-car.com) offers information on how to rent a hybrid and other tips to make traveling more environmentally friendly.
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