If you can recall, June 20th officially marked the first day of summer this year. The sunny summer season has always been a very popular time to take vacations. Whether you are packing up for a tropical retreat, getting ready for your annual camping trip, or planning your next trip, keep in mind that you can continue to make green decisions before and during your trip. Maintaining a green lifestyle even while you are away from your home is not as hard as you think. Keep reading for a few tips on how you can stay clean, green, and environmentally friendly even while traveling.
Before You Leave:
- Unplug appliances: Even when appliances are off, they still use energy if they are plugged in. Don’t forget to unplug appliances like TVs, video game systems, microwaves, and alarm clocks.
- Stop your newspaper delivery: Instead of coming home to a pile of newspaper that you’ll end up recycling, opt to read it online for the time that you are away.
- Turn off your heat/AC: Leaving your heat/AC cycle on means generating heat or air that isn’t necessary unless you have pets or plants that need a specific temperature.
- Ditch night lights and pre-set automatic lights: Have a family member, close friend or neighbor housesit and check on your house rather than keeping lights on.
- Choose a green hotel: Do your research about the hotel you choose before you book it. Some key things to look for are if they use a recycling program, whether or not they offer the option to reuse sheets and towels and what they have done thus far to reduce their overall consumption.
- Pack a night light: If you’re traveling with small children, instead of leaving your hotel bathroom light on all night, bring a night light for them. If you’re staying outdoors, look into investing in a solar lantern.
During Your Vacation:
- Treat the space you stay in like it is your home: Remember to turn off any lights, AC/heat, and electronic devices when you leave the room. Be mindful of your water usage by taking short showers and turning off the water while you brush your teeth. If you are outdoors, keep recyclable items until you find the nearest recycle bin. Bring a permanent marker to keep track of things like cups so everyone can reuse them.
- Turn off amenities that you use: Double check to see if the exercise machine you used in the hotel gym is off or the computer system is shut down. If you are outdoors, make sure any water systems you use are completely shut off.
- Keep transportation simple: Walking when you can or carpooling can save you money and also contribute less pollution. Carpooling options vary while traveling (bus, sharing a taxi, hotel vans) but if you must drive and plan to rent a car, try to request a small one or even a hybrid.
- Reduce and recycle paper: Share your morning newspaper with your neighbors or offer to leave it at the front desk for others to enjoy. Check to see if you can view and pay your bills via the television or phone to reduce paperwork.
- Try to support things local to the area: Buying local products means you are reducing products that need to be shipped overseas.
Contrary to popular belief that it cost more to travel green, there are many things that you may overlook. Sometimes, it’s the small things that add up and count the most. The next time you travel, we encourage and challenge you to keep your economic footprint as small as possible.
(Image Courtesy of: http://www.pointeorlando.com)