Summer is the perfect time for a weekend getaway, or an even longer vacation. It is a great time to refresh, revisit with friends and reconnect with your inner self and explore the world. Many of us take a vacation with our family or our friends just to get away for a little bit. Why not do so in a green, eco-friendly way? Rejuvenate yourself while being kind to the planet. When you go on vacation, don’t send your green habits on vacation also. Check out these tips for greening your getaway.
• Getting from Here to There – Flying has the greatest environmental impact compared to trains and automobiles. When making arrangements, travel by land if possible and as an added bonus, land travel allows you to see where you’re going. If you do need to fly, combine trips and avoid stopovers and look into buying carbon offsets for your flight.
• Watch What You Pack – Pack light. The more you pack, the heavier your bag (or bags) and the more jet fuel will be used (not to mention extra charges for checked baggage). Before you leave, do a little research to find out what the weather will be like at your destination and pack accordingly. Not all countries/destinations have sophisticated waste management or recycling facilities. Avoid disposable items and substitute biodegradable products in your toiletries case.
• Home Goes on Vacation too – Before you leave, make a few changes at home to keep it safe, save energy and have a lower utility bill. Switch off all the lights, turn off and unplug electronics and appliances, turn down thermostat on your hot water heater and adequately adjust your home’s heating or cooling system. Suspend your newspaper subscription as well.
• Going Paperless – In this digital age, utilize the Internet as much as you can for booking accommodations, travel and tours. Use your public library, friends and family to gather more information on your destination, rather than gathering brochures from travel agencies or buying new guide books. Once you are at your destination, take free maps and brochures only as necessary.
• Eco-Accommodations – If you are able to, stay in places with specially designed vacation resorts, farm stays, and tours with green credentials and that are ecologically sustainable. Let housekeeping know you don’t need your sheets and towels changed every single day. Bring your own toiletries (those small free bottles waste a lot of packaging) and use reusable containers instead of travel size items. Turn of the A/C or heat when you leave the room, as well as the TV and lights, and unplug any appliances or chargers that aren’t in use.
• While You Stay – Travel with a reusable water bottle and/or coffee mug.
Walk to and from places, or use public transportation if it is available. It is greener, and cheaper. When you’re shopping for souvenirs, do so safely. Purchase items that don’t exploit or deplete local wildlife and flora. Support local crafts people instead of purchasing plastic or touristy items that are most likely imported.
True Green Life in 100 Everyday Ways by Kim McKay and Jenny Bonnin
Ready, Set, Green by Graham Hill and Meaghan O’Neill