Think Locally, Travel Globally
I'm a big believer in the popular environmental mantra: "Think Globally, Act Locally." When it comes to saving the planet, that saying is as true as it is simple.
And when I travel, my rule of thumb for keeping it green and keeping it cheap is: "Think Locally, Travel Globally." You'll usually find the most eco-friendly and genuine travel experiences when you spend less not more and get local, no matter where in the world you're wandering. It's all about traveling independently (not in a tour group or packaged tour) and drilling down to the local level, getting a true sense of place by experiencing it as if you live there.
Consult a good, locally researched guidebook like those in the Lonely Planet series for basic background and logistical info before you travel, but don't use it to plan your every move, like where you'll stay, eat and hang out. By the time a guidebook recommends something, it's usually overrun with tourists (and overpriced).
Travel Without Reservations
The "Three L's Rule" (Look for Lines of Locals)
Local Transportation and Short Distances Are Best
Prepare at Least Some of Your Own Meals
Keeping It Green When You Travel
Not surprisingly to this Green Cheapskate, a recent study commissioned by eco-friendly lodging chain Element Hotels found that 41% of the people they surveyed said that their vigilance about conserving resources is "due to the economy" (i.e. "It saves me money!"), while just 28% said it was "due to the environment." The upshot is that when people travel, their eco-conscious habits often slip; they're not as vigilant about things like turning off the lights in their hotel room, since they're not paying the electric bill. Don't leave your eco-ethics at home when you hit the road this summer, because you can't fool Mother Nature.