With summer here, many people are ready to get out of town for some vacation travel! If you are looking for ways to lighten your carbon footprint while you explore new locations, consider these 5 green travel tips for low impact vacations:
1. Plan a walking or bicycling tour. Taking the slow, scenic route is a great way to discover a new location. Instead of driving, why not get out and enjoy the fresh air. Even if its raining, you can discover gems on vacation that you would otherwise miss. Many travel properties will have maps and trails for you to consult to make your touring easier. You can also rent bicycles in most metropolitan areas.
2. Minimize dining out. Restaurants usually give giant portions that are often wasted, and they may not use the healthiest, local ingredients. When you’re on vacation, consider stocking up on fresh fruits and veggies to enjoy in your room or poolside, if allowed. Make your own sandwiches and bring reusable water bottles. You’ll save both money and energy! Plus, less food waste will end up in the landfill.
3. Adjust the room thermostat before you leave and overnight. Just because you are not staying at your own home doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t be cognizant of energy usage. When you are leaving for the day, adjust the temperature on the thermostat to a bit out of your comfort range. Same thing at night – either add an extra blanket or open windows (as the season may require). You might not save directly on your bill, but energy conservation helps us all.
4. Take the most direct route to your location. With GPS devices and even just plain Mapquest, its easier than ever to plan the most efficient way to get to your destination. Sure, some travel plans will require diversions (i.e. through the Redwood Forests, or along the Cascade Lakes Highway in Central Oregon), but for the most part, you will want to save gas and get there as quickly as possible.
5. Pack light! For a week long vacation, consider packing only 2 pairs of shoes, and 5 shirts and undergarments. Often, you can wear a piece of clothing a second time, or rinse them out and allow them to hang dry if necessary. Bringing along less stuff minimizes the weight of your gear – whether you are driving or flying. That requires less fuel to get you to your low impact vacation.
Do you have any tips for green vacation that you’d like to share?