Summertime is coming to a close. Some schools even start back next week! So if you’re trying to get a last-minute trip in, it can be difficult to prioritize traveling green.
The good news is that more and more companies are realizing their impact on the environment and are turning their old ways to newer, greener ones. Here are a few ways to stay green while enjoying the precious rest of your summer:
1. Prepare your home for vacation. Set your air conditioner to 75 degrees. Unplug electrical appliances and televisions. Put lights on timers. Suspend your newspaper and mail delivery until your return.
2. Go paperless. When flying, book electronic tickets to reduce paper waste. Most airlines will scan your smartphone instead of a paper ticket, even at the gate!
3. Be conscientious with your accommodations. Look for hotel accommodations and tours with Green Seal or Green Leaf certifications and standards. Green hotels reduce energy consumption through fluorescent lighting. They also institute recycling programs, and they conserve water through installation of energy star products. If you choose a hotel that does not recycle, consider taking your empty bottles or other items out to recycle. Also, pick a hotel close to public transportation or near the places you are going to visit during your stay. Remember to do your share of “green” by turning off the lights, TV, and air conditioner when leaving your hotel room. Take short showers and leave toiletries behind if you didn’t use them. Hotels too expensive? Stay at a working farm that also functions as inn. They cost less than hotels.
4. Get around without a car. Reduce your carbon footprint by participating in cheaper, Earth-friendly transportation options like biking, walking and taking public transit. You can even take a low impact walking tour. They are inexpensive and fun! Download from www.greenmap.org to find the latest top spots to visit and to dine.
5. If you do choose wheels, go green! When selecting a model, choose a smaller economy vehicle or a hybrid. Turn down free upgrades that seem nice but could cost you more money in gas.
6. Utilize alternative transit between destinations, too. Don’t like to fly? Take the train. It’s often cheaper than flying, it’s certainly more environmentally friendly than driving, and the scenery is beautiful!
7. Eat smart. When dining, eating locally is one of the best ways to support a community. Browse the farmers’ markets and enjoy!
8. Stay hydrated. While traveling, bring a reusable container and drink locally sourced water when you’re on the go.
9. Keep souvenirs green as well! When shopping, buy local products instead of buying products that have been flown or shipped in from overseas. Avoid buying souvenirs or other products made from endangered animals or plants, and try finding a local marketplace instead of shopping right around big tourist traps.
10. Be respectful when hiking. If hiking is on your agenda, be smart and respect the rules! Avoid veering off marked trails when hiking, and keep a safe distance from any animals you might encounter. Always throw away your trash in the proper trash receptacles or bring it home with you when you leave. Light campfires only in allowed areas and always be sure the campfire is completely extinguished before you leave. Use recycling and composting facilities if they are available.
Being a green-conscious traveler doesn’t mean you have to give up the comfort of luxury hotels or fine dining in big cities. Traveling green means you are making an effort to preserve and protect the environment of the place you are visiting.