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An Environmentally Conscious Traveler's Toolbox

Posted: 07/02/2012 7:00 am

Jetting around the globe is a wonderful way to gain a better appreciation of our planet, but it bloats your carbon footprint, which isn't good for the Earth. Here are some items that can help you be less of a burden on the land even as you get out there and start exploring.

Luggage tagTo spot your bags on the carousel -- and to make sure they find their way home if lost -- tie Motherboard Gifts' Circuit Board Luggage Tags onto your packs. They consist of cast-off computer parts and come in catch-your-eye colors. $20 for a set of three Green Earth Guide

The Green Earth Guides lead you to public transportation, eco-minded businesses, and organic, vegan cuisine. Currently, the books cover France, Spain, Switzerland, Venice, and Vermont, with England and Ireland on the way. $3 to $16

Or you can eschew tips printed on dead trees by downloading all you'll need onto your iPhone or Android: The Tripsketch Green Traveler app, which donates 20% of its proceeds to environmental causes, recommends sustainable hotels, walking and paddling tours, "voluntourism" opportunities, outdoor parks, and farmers' markets. Two other apps to know about are Kayak's, which filters car-rental options by gas mileage and whether they're hybrid, and Getaround, a vehicle-sharing service.


Nau passport holderFor a near-perfect passport holder, go with the Fluent Doc from NAU. Its slots for airline tickets, cash, memory cards, and official documents make navigating security lines a cinch. And it's easy on the earth, thanks to its recycled-polyester exterior. Nau uses only sustainably produced fibers, offers free public transportation passes to its employees, and donates 2% of every sale to charity. $65 Kiva suitcase

The 21-inch Packing Genius Upright Light by Kiva is made from fabric that used to be plastic bottles. The suitcase is attractive (the inside's a zingy yellow) and comfortable, with padded handles, plenty of zipped compartments and pockets, and a carabiner looped in for added utility. $200

On commercial flights, each passenger can be responsible for more than a half pound of CO2 emissions per mile. To atone for your travel, buy offsets -- donations, essentially, that fund the "erasing" of the pollution you created. The money goes toward things like wind-power projects, tree-planting efforts, and methane-reducing technologies. Two of the biggest offset-selling companies are TerraPass ($6 for up to 1,000 miles) and CarbonFund.org (about $11 for a flight of up to 6,000 miles). Some airlines offer offsets too -- check with yours to find out if it does.

--Avital Andrews and Lori Eanes

This article originally appeared in Sierra magazine.

 

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