The following post is from Cliff Barre of Peace, Love & Travel with Cliff & Tiff:
Traveling “green” doesn’t have to be a major undertaking if you take small, but important steps all through your plans. You won’t need to rent electric-only vehicles, or seek out solar-powered hotels to clear your conscience if you do these few things before you leave and while you travel:
Go green before you even leave.
Not only will this save energy; it will also reduce the fire hazard in your home: Unplug everything you aren’t using. Most devices these days draw a trickle of power even when they aren’t in use. Turn off not only the obvious devices with a clock, such as microwaves and TVs, but also anything that has a standby mode. If you can turn it on with a remote, it needs to be unplugged.
Set the thermostat down in the winter, or higher in the summer. When the house is unoccupied there is no reason to keep the rooms at a comfortable living temperature. This also applies to your water heater; turn the temperature down before you leave. As a bonus to being green, you’ll also be saving money, something we could all use!
Travel with the environment in mind.
Reduce your waste when you travel. Bring a reusable water bottle and refill it as needed. No bottle? Keep the first plastic bottle that you buy and reuse that. This will help reduce waste of plastic bottles and save you some money on overpriced bottles of water at the airport, hotel, or in your daily excursions.
To save water, don’t insist on freshly washed towels every day. When you’ve finished your shower, hang the towel up to try and use it again the next day. Just think of all the loads of laundry that wouldn’t be run if everyone did this when they traveled. Again, these tips are smart not only for the green traveler, but for the savvy traveler as well.
Choose green destinations.
Portland, Oregon has long been known as destination for nature lovers, and they’ve continued that theme into the city. Rent a bike and see the city on a slower set of tires. Portland encourages two-wheeled vehicles and provides plenty of bike lanes and riding paths. Use your wheels to bike to the Oregon Zoo as a reminder of why we all need to take being green more seriously.
Upstate New York has more to offer than most people realize including some great wineries. Spend a few days at the Finger Lakes enjoying the water and great hiking. Pick up some sun screen or stop for lunch at Destiny USA, the world’s largest LEED certified shopping mall. As long as you’re here, grab a reusable water bottle too so you’re set for your next adventure.
Traveling green doesn’t require you to spend a lot of money or put forth extra effort when planning your vacation. Following one or two of these tips listed above can be extremely helpful to our environment. When choosing a destination, keep in mind that there are many eco-friendly areas that offer exciting activities and scenic views.
So next time you’re planning a vacation remember that traveling lean and green is definitely the way to go, both for your wallet and the environment.
What “green” choices do you make when traveling? What exceptions do you make when you’re on the road?
Cliff Barre, of Vermont, lives with wife Tiffany and son Steven. He would like to think of himself as an eco-friendly, responsible traveler who supports all things green. He says its never too late in the game to go green and hopes that his blog posts and the help of other bloggers can spread the news about green initiatives for every family!