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green tip lightbulb Transportation:
While you can make environmentally-conscious decisions in many aspects of your study abroad experience, one thing that is virtually unavoidable is your international flight. The carbon emissions from your overseas flight can actually be more than your carbon footprint in an entire year. There are a couple of ways that you can help address this problem.
  • Purchase carbon offsets for your flights and other transportation.
Carbon offset programs allow individual flyers to invest in projects which help counter-balance the emissions from your particular flight. The amount you pay is related to the distance of your flight. Many airlines give you the option of purchasing offsets when you book your flight. There are also many organizations which offer carbon offsets such as Carbon Fund (non-profit) and ClimateCare (“profit for purpose”). These organizations can also purchase offsets for other forms of transportation and electricity consumption.
  • Look for airlines with sustainable practices.
Many airlines have chosen to focus their efforts on decreasing their fuel consumption and building more efficient aircraft. Research which airlines are the “greenest” before booking your overseas flight! The website Greenopia rates different kinds of products and business in terms of their sustainability – including U.S. and non-U.S. airlines.
  • Use alternative forms of transportation for local and regional travel while abroad.
Your daily commute to and from class will likely be longer than it is at Davidson. While many major metro areas have very efficient mass transit options, you may also want to consider buying or renting a bike, or even walking to class. In addition to the lower environmental impact, think of how much more of your host city you will see. Also, many students choose to travel to neighboring countries during their semester abroad. As you plan these shorter trips, take into account the environmental impact of your travels. Rather than taking a flight from Paris to Rome, consider taking a train. For shorter trips, think about hiring a shared taxi or taking a bus.

eco hotel Hotels:
During your semester abroad, you will likely take short trips to other destinations. As you plan your travels, be mindful of the lodging you book. Look for hotels which participate in sustainable practices and/or have a green certification. Keep in mind this can mean different things in different parts of the world.

There are many different “green certification” programs which rate hotels on a variety of criteria: LEED, Energy Star, Green Key Global, and Green Globe International are just a few. When you book a hotel room, be sure to ask them about any environmental certifications and sustainable practices in which they participate.
  • Expedia, the travel booking website, has partnered with Sustainable Travel International to compile a search engine for green hotels.
  • The Green Tourism Business Scheme is the national sustainable tourism certification in the U.K.
  • Many travel guide books now include commentary and advice on eco-friendly hotels.


Last modified 10/23/2015

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