Green Travel

The following are some helpful hints to assist you in planning a trip that has minimum impact on the environment.


  • Plan your route to minimize carbon emissions- travel by train and public transport where possible, and minimize internal flights.
  • Minimize flying time and stopovers - the worst carbon emissions are emitted during take off and landing. For the flights that you cannot avoid, offset the carbon emissions of your flight using our carbon calculator . That way the money is invested in carbon reducing initiatives around the world, offsetting the emissions caused by your flight.
  • Ask to see the tour operator's policy for responsible tourism. All members have to have one. Make sure it explains how they minimize environmental impacts and support the local economy.


  • Read up on local cultures and learn a few words of the local language - travelling with respect earns you respect.
  • Remove all excess packaging - waste disposal is difficult in remote places and developing countries.
  • Ask your tour operator for specific tips for responsible travel in your destination.
  • Ask your tour operator/hotel if there are useful gifts that you could pack for your hosts, local people or schools.
  • Ask your tour operator whether there are local conservation or social projects that you could visit on your trip, and if/how you could help support them.


  • Turn water heater to "Vacation" or lowest setting.
  • Turn off AC/heat or adjust the thermostat to protect plants, etc.
  • Turn water off at outside connection (to prevent flooding should a pipe break while you're gone). When you return, turn on the water slowly and check for problems.
  • Appliances, such as TVs and cable converter boxes, should be unplugged because they can draw or "leak" as much as 40 watts per hour even when they're off.
  • Turn icemaker off (lift wire) to prevent flooding should it break while you're away.
  • Stop your newspaper. You may be able to donate it to a school.

Purchase e-tickets for airline travel whenever possible. Less waste. If paper tickets are lost, they may cost $75-100 to replace.

  • Enjoy walking tours. Walk where sensible.
  • Use public transportation when available.
  • Use the hotel van instead of renting a car. Use the bus or local transit system. Share taxis. Less pollution, and you can leave the driving to others.
  • If you're driving, turn your motor off when idling. Encourage tour/bus drivers to turn the motor off when idling.
  • Don't allow anything to be thrown out of your car windows-ever.


  • Participate in hotel linen programs, or let the hotel know that it's not necessary to change your sheets and towels every day.
  • Reduce the amount of water used for bathing or showering.
  • When you leave your hotel room, turn off the AC/heat, lights, TV and radio. Close the drapes.
  • Participate in hotel recycling programs by placing recyclables in appropriate bins.
  • Carry a dry cleaning or grocery bag with you in which to carry dirty laundry home.
  • Leave little bottles of amenities in the guestroom if unopened.
  • Keep bar soap wrappers and take used bars of soap home.
  • Let hotel management know, by speaking directly to management or writing them a note, that you want them to conserve and that you want to participate.
  • Patronize hotels, airlines, tour operators who support "greening" programs.
  • Instead of leaving bathroom lights (and fans) on all night, it's wise to pack night lights for hotel stays.
  • If the hotel provides complimentary newspapers, pass yours on to someone else, or leave it in the lobby for another reader. Ask the hotel to see that it's recycled.
  • Take only the brochures or maps necessary.
  • Return others to the brochure stand.
  • Pick up at least one piece of litter every day-especially at national tourist locations which are vulnerable to huge tourist populations.
  • Expensive cosmetic bags are unnecessary and often do not prevent or control spills. Use zippable plastic bags for cosmetics. Separate bath needs and makeup needs.
  • Be sure to turn off exercise equipment, sauna, whirlpool, Jacuzzi or tennis court lights when you're through.
  • Check out of the hotel via the hotel's electronic program available on the TV in some hotels. You can view your bill, approve it, and help reduce paperwork.
  • Environmental programs or events may be listed on "things to do in the area" portion of the in-house TV programming.
  • Give yourself a pat on the back for doing all you can to help protect the beautiful destinations we all love to visit and Mother Earth!

More Information


  • Carry bottled water with you. Refill as needed.
  • Reduce fast food waste whenever possible.
  • Pack a few plastic bags. They come in handy for saving half-eaten treats, used hotel bar soaps, keeping salt and pepper packets dry in the cooler, and many other uses.
  • Avoid styrofoam. Carry your own cup.
  • Avoid room service and carryout.
  • When offered individual packages of condiments, take only what you'll use.
  • If you commonly take home leftovers from restaurant meals, carry a container, a square of aluminum foil or waxpaper with you. You'll be responsible for putting less styrofoam into the waste stream.

Other Information

  • Buy local produce in preference to imported goods.
  • Do not buy products made from endangered species, hard woods or ancient artifacts.
  • Respect local cultures, traditions and holy places - if in doubt ask advice or don't visit.
  • Use public transport, hire a bike or walk when convenient - its a great way to meet local people on their terms and reduce pollution and carbon emissions.
  • Use water sparingly - its very precious in many countries and tourists tend to use far more than local people.
  • Remember that local people have different ways of thinking and concepts of time, this just makes them different not wrong - cultivate the habit of asking questions (rather than the Western habit of knowing the answers).

Last updated: January 29, 2019

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508 East 2nd Street
Yankton, SD 57078


(605) 665-0209

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