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sustainabletravel
As the summer travel season kicks into high gear, many of us are getting ready to soak up new adventures on the road. Travel is one of life’s most fulfilling experiences, providing the chance to explore and view the world from different perspectives. Yet as the travel and tourism industry grows, so does the impact on the environment and cultures of cities around the world. The good news is that we can all take steps to make smart choices that reduce our impact as we travel.

As the head of corporate responsibility for Hilton Worldwide—the parent company for well-known brands such as Hilton Hotels & Resorts, Hampton, DoubleTree by Hilton and Embassy Suites—my job and passion is to make it easier for our guests to experience an unforgettable trip to one of our more than 4,100 hotels around the world while also helping to minimize the impact on local communities and the environment. Below are 10 tips I’ve compiled to help make your next trip more sustainable:

01 | Pack light
Paring down your travel wardrobe not only saves you the hassle of lugging around a heavy bag, but it also reduces the amount of fuel needed to transport all that baggage. Don’t forget to bring a reusable water bottle!

02 | Book accommodations with a sustainable reputation
When choosing a place to stay, conduct research to see if the property is eco-friendly. Certifications, such as ISO 14001, LEED and ENERGY STAR (in the United States), indicate that a hotel is committed to environmentally friendly practices.

03 | If flying to your destination, consider purchasing carbon credits
Air travel produces an estimated three percent of greenhouse gas emissions globally. Buying carbon credits is an easy way to offset your trip’s impact on the environment.

04 | Immerse yourself in the culture
Find out as much as possible about your destination before you arrive and plan your trip accordingly. Learning a few key phrases in the local language goes a long way in connecting with people, and visit places such as plazas and markets to get a glimpse into the local lifestyle. Embedding yourself in the culture will give you a better understanding and appreciation of local customs and traditions. Follow @HiltonSuggests on Twitter for advice and tips from our Team Members about the places where they work and live.

05 | Choose locally grown food
Making responsible food choices can sometimes be a challenge when away from home, but it doesn’t have to be. Seek out restaurants that incorporate local, organic or sustainably grown food. In fact, chefs at Hilton Worldwide properties globally integrate fresh, locally grown produce into our menus throughout the year.

06 | Travel around town like a local
Instead of renting a car, try biking, walking or taking public transportation to explore a new city. Not only will you reduce your carbon footprint, you’ll also get to experience the city through the eyes of a resident—and maybe uncover some hidden gems along the way!

07 | Enjoy nature
Get out into the natural landscape of the area you’re visiting and enjoy its parks and beaches. Take nothing but pictures and only leave your footprints behind—and make sure to always stay on designated trails.

08 | Go digital
Nearly every air and rail line offers electronic boarding passes that permit passengers to use their mobile phone instead of printing out paper tickets, and many hotels will email guests their invoices. Digitizing as many of your travel documents as possible reduces waste by saving paper. That also works for hotel booking through the Hilton Worldwide HHonors App.

09 | Be mindful of your actions
Did you remember to turn out the light before you left your hotel room? A recent study found that most travelers don’t do that simple task when on the road—even if it’s part of their normal routine at home. Taking quick showers and reusing linens are additional ways you can conserve energy and resources, ultimately reducing the impact on the area you’re visiting.

10 | Donate your loyalty points to charity
Check if your airline or hotel loyalty rewards program allows you to donate to a cause. Through the Hilton HHonors program, for example, you can donate your points to one of 28 charities.

Travel possesses the power to open minds and generate economic value for local communities. Shifting your travel habits will ensure you and others will have the opportunity to experience the joy of exploration for generations to come.

Photo by Bertrand Juba Roberts

Editor's Note
At Conscious, we get excited by how to's and tips that expand our knowledge about culture, ideas, and innovation, and so we set out to tell stories with the help of leaders and influencers in the social good community. You can read more stories like this when you Sign-up for the Weekly and Subscribe to Conscious Magazine.

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