For many people, summer vacation is a time to forget your cares. Many travelers may not want to be burdened by thinking about problems like climate change. However, you can still have a fun time, while also being kind to the planet. Here are eight ways you can make your summer travel greener.
Reduce Your Home's Environmental Impact
By making a few easy adjustments, you can reduce the environmental impact your home has while you are away. Many of the appliances and electronics in your home still use energy when you are not there. Adjusting or turning off these items can lower the amount of energy your home consumes. If no people or pets are going to be in your home while you are gone, you can adjust your thermostat so that your air conditioning will not be needlessly cooling an empty house. Electronics continue to draw a small amount of power, even when they are not in use, so unplug them. Turn your water heater down to its lowest setting. If you receive a daily newspaper, suspend your subscription while you are away to avoid wasting paper.
Book Non-Stop Flights
Planes produce the most carbon emissions whenever they take off and land, so you can reduce the amount of energy your plane trip uses by booking non-stop flights whenever you are able. You can take this a step further by searching out an airline with a commitment to operating in a more environmentally friendly manner.
Stay in a Green Hotel
If you can, choose a certified green hotel in a LEED Certified building. Choose hotels that use environmentally friendly products, renewable energy, such as Colorado solar, and offer guests impactful choices, such as not having the sheets and towels changed daily. Small, locally run, hotels and B&Bs are often greener choices than large chains. Look for certifications from well-known organizations, such as Green Key Global, Green Globe International, Green Seal, EcoRooms and EcoSuites.
Pack or Purchase Reusable Shopping Bags
Plastic shopping bags can take hundreds of years to break down in a landfill. If you are planning to do some shopping on your vacation, you can reduce your impact by packing some reusable shopping bags or purchasing some when you arrive at your destination. Many gift shops and tourist destinations sell bags, so this is also an opportunity to pick up an eco-friendly souvenir.
If you are willing to rough it for a few days, tent camping is a great way to have an eco-friendly vacation. It does not use much electricity. You can often find great places to camp near where you live, so you can burn less energy traveling. You have nearly complete control over your environmental impact. Just be sure to be a good citizen and pick up after yourself and use as many reusable and recyclable materials as you can.
Bring Reusable Water Bottles
Plastic water bottles take up an enormous amount of space in landfills worldwide. You can avoid contributing to the problem by bringing reusable water bottles with you, instead of purchasing bottled water. You might also want to consider bringing along any refillable cups and mugs you have for coffee and soft drinks.
Choose an Eco-Friendly Destination
Before you decide where to go on vacation, do some research. Online resources, such as Ethical Traveler, can help you select a destination that has committed to green practices.
Walk, Bike or Use Public Transportation
Traveling by car has one of the biggest negative environmental impacts of anything you might do on vacation. Instead of traveling by car, try walking, biking or using public transportation.
The more people make an effort to travel green, the more travel destinations will offer green options. By using these eight tips, you can make your summer vacation a fun carefree time, while also minimizing your impact on the environment.
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