Are you planning your summer vacation? I hope you don’t think you have to toss out all your good green and sustainable habits when you travel!
I have loads of suggestions to help you plan a green vacation of your dreams. With just a little planning and resourceful packing, any vacation or road trip can also be environmentally friendly. When planning an eco-friendly vacation, it’s important to consider:
• your destination
• your methods of transportation on the way and during your stay
• your accommodations, and
• your proposed activities as well as your daily habits.
First, consider your destination. There are now loads of blogs and websites that offer endless possibilities for eco-friendly destinations here in America or around the world. Consider checking out some of these sites. Eco-friendly destinations and activities are now commonplace. It is actually very trendy now for destinations and hotels to be green and sustainable, so see what they have to offer. Prices can range from budget to luxury options, so you can choose the price you can afford and still have a great experience. But even if you are just going to Aunt Betty’s for a week, learn about your location so that you can make sustainable choices while there.
If you are not staying at Aunt Betty’s, then spend some time researching on the Internet for eco-friendly accommodations. Look for sites that list what their sustainable practices and services are, not that they just say they are eco-friendly. Like I said, being green is really trendy; make sure they actually are. Some possible options offered are providing in-room recycling options and non-toxic bedding and using renewable energy resources, non-toxic cleaning products and recyclable products. Many accommodations and restaurants now offer organic or farm-fresh meals as well.
Next, consider your mode of transportation to get to your destination as well as your methods of transportation while there. If you can, take direct flights or one-stop flights to your destination if you’re required to travel by airplane. Airplanes emit more carbon into the air than any other transportation method. If possible, avoid travel by air once you are at your destination — use other less fuel-intensive means once you’re there. Walking, bicycles and public transportation are ideal ways to travel green as opposed to driving a rental or your car or taking taxicabs while on vacation. Check for shuttles that your hotel may offer as well.
Whatever way you travel, plan to pack lightly. Lighter baggage means less fuel expended and reduced fuel emissions. Learn to pack effectively, too. Plenty of websites provide tips for maximizing your packing in fewer bags. My husband marvels at my packing skills and that my clothes always come out wrinkle free! What can I say? It is an art!
Now think about your daily routine and the activities that you are planning. Reuse bedding and towels. If the hotel offers this as a feature, be sure to do as instructed so that the items are not taken away by cleaning staff each day. Recycle all products that are recyclable. If the place you’re staying in doesn’t seem to have recycling facilities, inquire at the front desk about where you can find them. Most green hotels and resorts will use in-room or nearby recycling bins.
Only charge as much as needed for electronics and then remove the charger from the plug. Once the charger indicates that your batteries have been recharged, leaving them in any longer is a waste of energy. Avoid in-house dry-cleaning services. Switch off lights and appliances before leaving your room. Only use those lights and appliances that you really need to use. Treat water like the precious resource that it is. Use only as much water as you need to shower or bathe, clean your teeth and flush the toilet. Avoid using disposable containers and items wherever possible. Take a bottle for your water and avoid buying bottled water when it is safe or viable to do so. Always dispose of trash responsibly.
Don’t forget to plan activities on your trip that will be fun and healthy for the environment, too. Just keep in mind that it is sort of like being a doctor: Just do no harm. With a little bit of effort, you can plan an incredible vacation and feel sooo good about being a friend to the Earth, too. Have fun!
For more information about Keep Liberty Beautiful programs and living Earth-friendly, contact Keep Liberty Beautiful by calling 880-4888, emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or going to www.keeplibertybeautiful.org.