It's no secret that traveling has the potential to rack up a hefty footprint on our fragile earth. Fortunately, new technologies are helping change the way we travel, facilitating a greener approach to travel. Not only are these advancements green, they make traveling much more streamlined and manageable than before.
For those travelers fortunate enough to tote an iPhone, iPad, or other smartphone, many guidebooks, such as Lonely Planet, are available as downloadable apps. Not only does this lighten your backpack or suitcase, it also cuts down on the demand for printed books. RTW or multi-country travelers will particularly benefit from these, because you can buy as many guides as you'd like without lugging them around or feeling guilty about consuming so many trees. There are also a host of apps to help you make sustainable decisions in-destination regarding the local environment, economy, and culture.
Offsetting your carbon usage, typically from flying, is so simple that no one really has an excuse not to. Many tour operators offer carbon offsetting in their online booking, or they direct you to sites where you can do so. Many people find that offsetting is, in fact, a lot less expensive than they anticipated, and much easier to do, which is great news for all those forests out there! Zerofootprint Offsets is a great place to start, and if you're flying Air Canada, you'll be happy to know they've teamed up to make offsetting the easiest part of your journey.
If you're in the middle of planning a trip, it's likely you have notes about what to see and do, where to go and eat, and who to meet up with, scattered throughout your life. Not only does this consume a ton of paper, napkins, post-its, etc., it also can take a toll on your organization and, thus, your sanity. Enter Evernote, the online application literally allows to you capture everything you want and need for your trip - plane tickets, itineraries, photos that you take on the road, websites you like, text notes, receipts, meeting notes - everything. Evernote organizes it all for you, and allows you to search quickly and easily for exactly what you want. Best of all - it's accessible anywhere, working with any computer, phone, or mobile device, and it's also free to use, unless you want to go premium. Instead of printing out your entire itinerary, booking confirmations, and maps of your three-month trip, consider using Evernote to save your sanity, and an unnecessary amount of paper.
Sorry, Kermit, It Actually Is Easy Being Green
Many travelers balk at the perceived expense and inconvenience of going green, when in fact, these technologies have actually made it easier to travel green. These three tools make greening your travel far less challenging than many people imagine, while making travel itself even easier. Sorry, Kermit, but it is easy being green!
Photo Credit: Waseem Sayegh