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The Green Life: Travel Light

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June 27, 2012

Travel Light

Jetting around the globe bloats your carbon footprint. Here are some items that help shrink that load.

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.

--reported by Avital Andrews; photos by Lori Eanes

READ MORE:

The Camera: Kevin Gallagher's Appalachian Trail 

The Journals: Kolby Kirk's Pacific Crest Trail

The Ukulele: Collaboration on the John Muir Trail 

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