Being on vacation means it’s time to let go of responsibilities. But being away from home doesn’t mean you have to forgo your ‘green’ habits. There are actually a lot of easy steps you can take to remain environmentally conscious even while you’re on a trip. In honor of Earth Day, here are 5 ways you can stay ‘green’ on your next vacation!
1. Use the most eco-friendly transportation.
Planes are still the most convenient way for most Americans to travel. While many planes use less fuel than they once did, they still consume a lot of energy per flight. If you can, stick to direct flights, which minimize energy consumption.
If possible, travel by train or bus (they’re much more environmentally friendly). Book your tickets through Travelocity and you can conserve money too!
2. Pack lightly.
The more you pack in your suitcase, the heavier the plane becomes – which equals more energy being wasted. Carefully consider every item you put in your luggage – do you really need everything? If you pack lighter, you’re not only helping the environment, but you’re also less likely to hurt yourself trying to lift a heavy suitcase!
Also, when you’re packing, remember to bring a reusable water bottle. You’ll avoid using those wasteful plastic bottles during your trip!
3. Book ‘green’ hotels.
Because being ‘green’ is sort of trendy now, many hotels boast of their environmentally-friendly policies on their websites. Look for lodgings that provide non-toxic bedding and cleaning products and offer recycling options. Some hotels use wind or solar energy to run heating, cooling, and electric. There are even some (although usually a little pricier) that serve organic meals and use recyclable products only.
To find hotels with specific ‘green’ policies, do a little research, and you can discover locations all over the globe with eco-friendly goals. If their individual websites don’t list anything about their policies, call the hotel directly and ask about any ‘green’ measures they’re taking to help the environment.
4. Use public transportation.
When you arrive at your destination, it’s important to remember to conserve energy while you’re exploring the area. If you’re not sure of the best way to travel around in a ‘green’ way, look to see what the locals do. Walk, take the bus or subway, or ride bikes instead of getting in a car. You’re also more likely to see a greater number of interesting people and sights this way!
5. Keep your carbon footprint in mind during your stay.
There are a lot of little things you can try during your vacation that will help conserve resources. Reuse your bedding and towels for a few days before you ask the hotel’s cleaning staff to replace them. Make sure to recycle, and switch off all the lights when you leave the room (this counts for the majority of hotels’ electricity bills). You can also unplug chargers or hair dryers when you’re not using them to save even more energy. Try to eat local or shop at farmer’s markets; this is a great way to test out different cuisines while still supporting local merchants. Overall, just remember to follow some of the behaviors you do at home, and you’ll be in good shape.
For even more ideas, check out this list of resources from Independent Traveler.
Keep these tips in mind, and you’ll be making a difference anywhere you decide to travel to!