Friday, July 31, 2009

35 eco-friendly travel tips - travel green!

From Travelling the Green Way

Planning your eco-vacation…

  • Know that where you visit and stay does make a difference. If you choose an eco-friendly hotel or other destination you’re making a statement that this is what matters to consumers.
  • Choose an eco-friendly hotel, hostel, or resort.
  • Consider a volunteer trip with an eco-organization.
  • Plan an eco-friendly all-inclusive bus trip.
  • Pick a trip that gets your family out into nature vs. out into an urban setting.
  • Travel as close to home as possible.

Before you leave…

  • Turn your thermostat down if you’re traveling in the winter, and up if you’re traveling in the winter.
  • Unplug everything.
  • Cancel the newspaper.
  • Lower the temperature of your waterbed heaters by at least ten degrees.
  • Turn your water heater to the lowest setting.
  • Get e-tickets vs. paper if you’re taking mass transport.
  • Make sure all the lights are off when you go.
  • Pack lightly to reduce your travel weight. The more your bags weigh the larger the carbon footprint you create when traveling.

Once you arrive…

  • Once you arrive at your travel destination skip a car and walk or take local transportation like the bus or the subway. Not only is this green, but you get a better taste of your area and the people who live there.
  • If you need a car once you arrive at your destination rent a hybrid.
  • In many places you can rent bikes for the whole family.
  • Take along a small reusable container of eco-friendly, biodegradable laundry detergent. Finding a local laundry mat is easy, finding eco-friendly soap at said mat is not so much.
  • Be sure to turn of hotel extras – examples: don’t leave the sauna on, the jet spa on, lights in the exercise room on, or exercise equipment.
  • Don’t buy a bunch of plastic souvenirs and other junk. If you do buy something, buy green products when possible.
  • Don’t pick up fliers and brochures and area maps everywhere you go. You don’t need a brochure to enjoy an area. You won’t ever look at them again after you get home, and it’s a total waste of paper.
  • Take along a reusable water bottle for everyone going - you can also use these to fill up with juice or soda when on the go.
  • Carry reusable bags with you so if you shop you have something to carry purchases in.
  • Carry an extra small reusable bag in your backpack so if you get a hold of something that needs recycled, you can put it in the bag and save it for recycling later.
  • Eat local and organic at green restaurants when possible vs. at fast food chains.
  • Don’t use those small plastic bottles of shampoo offered at the hotel – take your own along. IF you use them, recycle them or bring them home and use them for other things.
  • If you arrive by plane consider the shuttle or bus to get to your hotel.
  • Use a digital camera vs. disposable.
  • When staying in a hotel reuse your towel - let the front desk know you won’t be needing daily housekeeping.
  • If traveling in summer or winter follow the same energy conservation tips in your hotel that you do at home - for example, shut the curtains, dress for the weather, turn down the AC or heater when you leave the room, and so on.
  • Avoid room service or carryout food which comes with more disposable trash issues than say, eating at an actual restaurant does.

Extra smart eco-actions…

  • If your hotel / motel / spa could be doing something better speak up. People don’t often make green changes without some nudging.
  • If staying at a campsite or other wild setting, put out all fires and leave nothing behind out in nature, pack up and carry out trash, extra food, and recyclables.
  • Have everyone in the family pick up one piece of litter each day. This is cool to do in urban vacation spots but extra important if you’re traveling in outdoor nature areas.
  • Get a hotel with a kitchen, dishes, and cookware, and make most of your meals – head to the local farmers markets or natural grocers for new finds!