Simple Green Travel Tips for 2012 As the outdoor temperature starts to rise and the last day of school quickly approaches, it is that time of year to start planning your summer vacation. Maintaining an eco-friendly lifestyle doesn't have to take a hiatus when you travel. In fact, it shouldn't. With millions of tourists traveling each year by air, land and sea, it's more important now than ever to do your part to preserve nature's treasures. Whether you are planning to spend your vacation lounging on a tropical beach, or pounding the pavement site seeing, the following are tips you can take along with you as you travel to help reduce your carbon footprint. Reaching Your Destination Air Travel Traveling by air is one of the most popular modes of travel. Unfortunately, it is also one of the most environmentally damaging. When traveling by air, you can do your part to help offset carbon emissions by booking a direct flight. The most damaging carbon emissions are released from an airplane during the takeoff and landing. Another way you can travel greener by air is to book a flight on a "green plane." Many airlines are transitioning some of their planes to operate more efficiently. Boeing recently introduced its new 747-8 Intercontinental jumbo jet. According to the company, the plane provides 16 percent better fuel economy, 16 percent less carbon emissions per passenger and generates a 30 percent smaller noise footprint than its predecessor, the 747-400. Driving If you plan on driving to your vacation destination and don't own a fuel efficient or hybrid car, consider renting one. Renting the smallest car to comfortably meet your needs not only saves the environment, it also saves your car from accumulating additional miles. Take the Train For shorter destinations, consider traveling by train. Not only do trains emit less damaging carbon emissions when compared to airplanes, they provide a unique travel experience. You will be able to see so much more from the inside of a train, than from 30,000 feet or behind the wheel. Where To Stay Green Hotels The hotel industry is doing its part to protect the environment by offering eco-friendly accommodations. Green hotels are popping up around the world offering luxury accommodations while also helping to reduce energy, water, and waste. Look for hotels that make use of solar and wind powered energy, water saving devices, non-toxic cleaning supplies, organic cotton sheets and towels, and energy efficient lighting. For more information on green hotels, check out the Green Hotels Association's website. Getting Around Use public transportation such as buses, shuttles, or trolleys as much as possible and take advantage of hotel vans to get to and from airports. Or better yet, walk or take a bike ride. These options are a cheaper alternative, reduce your carbon footprint and force you to get outdoors and enjoy your natural surroundings. This summer don't check your green habits at the hotel door. Be sure to take the reduce, reuse, recycle mantra with you along with your carry on luggage.