Top Ten Tips to Go Green on Vacation
A green vacation is more than just an idea these days, now it's a whole industry. Just type "green vacation" into a search engine and peruse thousands of links to companies offering eco-friendly vacations neatly packaged and ready to go. But you don't need to buy into a marketing ploy in order to have an environmentally friendly vacation. Instead, use common sense and make extra effort to be an eco-friendly traveler. To get you started, here are ten tips you can use the next time you go on vacation.
1. Take Fewer, Longer Trips
All of those three day weekends really make your carbon footprint skyrocket. With shorter vacations you produce more CO2 because you travel more. If you think about it this is really neither relaxing nor eco-friendly. Instead of traveling often, for short periods of time, lump your vacation time together and take life slow for a while. This way you'll come back truly relaxed, and you'll have wasted far less fuel.
2. Buy Credits to Offset your Carbon Emissions
Part of green vacationing 101 is learning to buy credits to offset your carbon footprint. When you travel you produce CO2, and the Earth needs trees to transform that CO2 into oxygen for us humans. When you buy carbon credits, you basically fund the purchase of those trees. Many travel sites like Travelocity and Expedia now conveniently allow you to buy carbon credits on their sites.
3. Pack Light
The less weight a plane has to carry into the air, the less fuel it will use. This is the reason why many airlines have started charging for bags over a certain weight. Do your pocketbook and the environment a favor by packing only what you need. Chances are you can wash your clothes wherever you are going, and you'll have more room for souvenirs on the way back.
4. Take the Train
A train produces one third of the emissions a plane does, and half that of a car. Train travel is truly the choice method of transportation for green vacationing. The US in currently lacking in fast train service, but Europe and New Zealand both have lovely trains that get you to your destination on time and in comfort.
5. Consider Staying Local
Of course, you don't have to fly halfway around the world to have a vacation. Why not enjoy the wonders around you? Camping is a great way to have a green vacation and to enjoy the outdoors as well.
6. Use Public Transport When Possible
Before you leave for your destination, check out the public transportation options available. Urban areas especially usually have a bus or train system that you can buy a pass for. It may seem daunting and scary at first, but by using public transportation you'll really get a taste of local life.
7. If you must rent a Car Look into a Hybrid
Many large chains are now offering green vacationers the chance to opt for a hybrid rental car. Not only will you save gas money while on vacation, but you'll also greatly reduce your carbon emissions. Can't get a hybrid? Do the next best thing and go for an economy sized car. Not only will it cost you less, it will also use less fuel than its luxury counterparts.
8. Look for Hotels with the Green Seal
In the US eco-friendly hotels are either marked with the Green Seal or are LEED certified by the US Green Building Council. Don't fall for any "ecotourism" labels, only the hotels that have these approvals are the real deal. In Canada look for hotels marked by the Green Leaf Eco-Rating Program.
9. Don't have your Hotel Launder your Towels or Linens Daily
In most hotels the staff will wash your sheets and any towels left on the floor on a daily basis, eating up enormous amounts of electricity and water. To have a green vacation forgo the extra washing, hang your towels up and ask the staff to wash your sheets when you leave.
10. Slow Down
Some people think that they need to see every tourist attraction within a hundred miles when they go on vacation. Instead of driving everywhere and seeing everything, why not take it slow? Plan a few activities interspersed throughout your vacation in the local area, and then leave the rest of the days open for exploration and relaxation. If you push yourself too hard you won't fell like you had a vacation at all.
A green vacation can not only save the environment but also your pocketbook and perhaps your sanity. Next time you travel, remember these handy tips, and you'll have helped contribute to a healthier world.