This planet-conscious guide to US cities is a starting point for your next sustainable vacation. But let the record show that there’s more to planning a planet-friendly vacation than one index.
Ah, vacation—a chance to rest, unwind, and restore from the stresses of day-to-day life. Except, in the last few years, it hasn’t felt quite that easy. Whether it’s ever-changing COVID-19 travel restrictions or climate catastrophes like the recent flooding in Yellowstone National Park or the melting of Everest Base Camp, current events have been nothing short of an in-your-face reminder of our broad (and direct) impact on our planet.
So if you’re one of the majority of people globally who are concerned about climate change, there’s really no vacation that truly allows us to ‘escape’ the stress that is being on planet Earth in 2022. But there are still opportunities to see how miraculous the world is. And—just as importantly—to reduce our impact on it. Maybe then, you enjoy your trip knowing that you’re traveling in the best possible way for the planet. (But don’t be too hard on yourself, either—no one expects you to single-handedly slow global temperature rise).
A new study by travel blog ParkSleepFly has some useful info if you do decide to make sustainability a priority when you plan your next vacation. Their index ranks the 31 most-visited US cities from most to least sustainable, based on the percentage of sustainable hotels, accessibility of public transit, percentage of energy from renewable sources, air pollution, light pollution, miles of bike paths, carbon emissions per person, and traffic congestion.