Somehow, it always happens. When I’m traveling, the day before is a blur. I’m lucky if I remember to pack my toothbrush and phone charger, let alone remember to turn off my computer. So I was thrilled to team up with Cliff and Tiffany Barre, the husband and wife team behind the blog Peace, Love, and Travel. The pair produced this great guide for Jenn Setter readers on traveling green. These tips are so easy to implement – just spending an extra 15 minutes before you leave your house to turn things off, and some extra time before your trip to research eco-friendly restaurants. The Barres even provided their two favorite green destinations. Read on for their tips…
If you consider yourself a conscious consumer, your commitment to care about the environment through your everyday lifestyle does not have to be confined to home. Even when you decide to travel, whether it’s inside the U.S. or even abroad, you can still stay true to your eco-friendly ways and habits. Whether it’s learning how to save on your utilities while away from home, packing recyclable goods or finding and patronizing businesses that have the same passion about the environment and sustainability issues, consider these tips to engage in “green travel”.
Unplug appliances from outlets before leaving home. Believe it or not, when appliances and devices are left plugged in, they can still drain electricity. This is called “leaking electricity” and can still affect your electricity usage, even when your house is empty. Make sure you set your thermostat to be turned off when away from home. The last thing you want is a non-stop, running air conditioning system cooling off your home when no one is there.
Book nonstop flights. Although it may seem cheaper to book connecting flights, you actually contribute to creating more carbon emissions. A huge portion of a plane’s carbon emissions comes from the takeoff and landing. Not only will you help the environment, but you will also find that it removes a lot of stress and hassle. How many times have you had that dreaded four hour layover in a boring airport or had to run like crazy to catch your next plane? Reduce stress and carbon emissions by booking that nonstop flight.
Rent hybrids, electric or gas-efficient cars. If you decide to rent a car while on vacation or on business travel, check with the car rental agency to see if you have the option to rent a gas-efficient car. Although the upfront costs of renting these vehicles might seem more expensive compared to their gas-guzzling counterparts, you actually will save money on gas and will help minimize carbon emissions from cars. This is highly recommended if you know you are going to be doing a lot of driving.
Keep recycling and reusing. Just because you are away from home doesn’t mean you have to stop recycling. Instead of constantly purchasing new bottles of water, buy a large bottle of water and reuse the bottle by refilling it at water fountains. You can even buy an eco-friendly thermus if you don’t like drinking out of plastic. Also, get into the habit of using the same towels versus constantly having the room service place new towels in your room. You will help save water and also electricity usage.
Upstate New York
If you are looking for an exciting and scenic eco-friendly getaway, consider the area of Upstate New York. First make a stop the Finger Lakes region where you’ll find beautiful views and endless outdoor activities. Rent a boat, go fishing or hike some trails to find the best view in the area. Need a break from the outdoors? Head to Syracuse, just a short drive from the Finger Lakes. Syracuse offers a hint of urban culture and is home to the world’s largest green shopping mall, Destiny USA. If you are into green design and architecture, it is definitely worth the visit to see Destiny USA. The mall itself offers unique shopping, dining, and entertainment experiences for all ages.
Head to the West coast and visit America’s greenest city. Portland is known for its bike friendly community and trails. Rent a bike, go sightseeing and get some exercise all at the same time. While biking, be sure to visit the Lan Su Chinese Garden, The Portland Zoo, or the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry. There are also several eco-friendly accommodations in the area – One being the Portland Doubletree hotel, which has proven to the community just how important sustainability and the environment is to them.
There is a plethora of ways you can be eco-friendly and environmentally conscious while away from home. The best thing to do is to always do careful research about the cities and countries you plan on visiting. Make a list of restaurants, businesses and other places that engage in principles of sustainability. You can easily find this information on travel, science and nature blogs. With careful planning, you can easily plan an exciting trip while not leaving such a massive carbon footprint. Whether you are into visiting large metropolises or low-key rural areas, the world is filled with some great locations that any environmentally concerned individual can still enjoy!