With easy and affordable access to the most isolated islands and the highest mountains, humans are touching every corner of the earth.

Everyone enjoys this accessibility and freedom,

but it comes with a responsibility — to ensure the protection of the area so that the pristine conditions are kept intact.

This is not only vital for future generations so they can visit, but it is essential for the local community and economy.

With a little thought and planning this is easily done.

When planning a vacation these are five steps that will have an immense positive impact on the carbon footprint that is left behind:

1. Planning — Consider the fuel which will be spent for the trip.

With the help of a map, plot the quickest and safest route to the destination.

Instead of flying the whole way, when possible, substitute a portion of the trip by train, bus, boat or car.

This will make for a pleasant change and a great way to see the country.

2. Transportation — When renting a car, whether it is to drive to the destination or to get around,

a small comfortable car may do just as well as a large gas-guzzling vehicle.

Sharing a car with fellow travelers, renting a hybrid car, renting a bike,

and using public transport will greatly reduce the carbon footprint.

This will take planning to find out which facilities, such as bike rental, are available and where they are located.

Car pooling and using public transport are some of the easiest and most efficient ways of reducing the carbon footprint left behind.

3. Support Local Business — Use local services and buy local produce and products.

This not only helps the local economy flourish,

but reduces the use of food and objects that have been brought from another country.

International brands and food chains carry a heavy carbon footprint.

4. Do Not Litter — Trash is the key component that is hurting the beauty of nature,

killing wildlife and hurting the budgets of small towns that are already struggling to improve their infrastructure.

A large portion of their budget ends up having to be spent cleaning up after tourists.

Plastic water bottles are an outstanding portion of the trash; using a reusable bottle will make a notable difference.

Many countries are now offering filter water stations to give people a source of clean trustworthy drinking water to refill their bottles.

5. Book in an Eco-friendly Hotel — Stay in hotels which are certified as environmentally friendly. This kind of hotel will use their energy efficiently and use local products.

In addition, ask for towels and bed sheets to be kept a few days longer, and each person doing their own essential laundry cuts the use of water.

Staying in a centrally located place will allow getting around easily without using extra fuel.

Take these five tips and incorporate them as part of your travel planning process to reduce your carbon footprint and help local economies to survive in today’s challenging economic climate.

Featured images:

License: Image author owned

License: Royalty Free or iStock source: http://depositphotos.com/5850249/stock-photo-Couple-on-beach-with-travel-bag.html?sqc=41&sqm=1148474&sq=15uyij

License: Royalty Free or iStock source: http://depositphotos.com/6776924/stock-photo-Eco-Friendly-Green-Road-Sign.html?sqc=12&sqm=11134&sq=15uz6p

Sarah Thompson is a journalist who writes for the travel sector.

She is interested in sustainability and green living and chronicles the developments of the green industry.