Monday, April 22, 2013

How to Go Green on Vacation

How to go green on vacation
Even on vacation? Yup!
Happy Earth Day!

Have you ever wondered if it's possible to "Go Green" on vacation?

It's easier than you may think!

We'll show you some simple steps to make your next vacation more sustainable and environmentally-responsible.

The Environment's Nightmare Vacation

But first - here's what NOT to do on vacation...

You're in a rush to get your family to the airport and you accidentally leave your entire home office - and all your other home electronics - plugged in. Whoops!

But good news! You've made it to the airport and have everyone's tickets, maps, and itineraries printed out - in triplicate. So you know you'll have everything ready to get through the lines.

Now to check the luggage and get through security. You've packed more than you wanted, but you'll definitely need everything you packed right?

Once you've made it through security, it's off to the vendors for food and water. Good thing they have so many water bottles for sale - you're thirsty after lugging around all that luggage.

Ahhh - a short 3 hour plane ride later and your family's arrived. It's vacation time!

That is, after you've picked up the rental car. You have a few options, but forget it! You've earned this vacation and now it's time to ride in roomy, eight-seat SUV style with your family of four.

Woo-hoo, another fabulous family vacation! And an extremely costly trip for the environment.

And now the more responsible way...

5 Ways to Go Green on Vacation

1. Unplug. If you're not at home, there's no need to cool your house. Set the thermostat higher so the air conditioning doesn't kick on throughout the day.

Turn off and unplug any electronics including printers, computers, alarm clocks, coffee makers, lamps, and TVs. Not only will you prevent unnecessary electricity usage, you can save up to 10% on your bills by doing this regularly.

You can do the same things at your hotel or vacation home. Turn off lights and other electronics while out touring and participate in the laundry and recycling programs.

2. Go paperless. Most travel companies offer e-tickets and correspond via email. Use to your smartphone to check-in and store itinerary information. Going paperless may even save you time, since you can go straight to the security checkpoint.

3. Pack lightly. Every extra 10 pounds/traveler requires 350 million additional gallons of jet fuel/year, according to author Thomas Kostigen. Most hotels and vacation homes have washer/dyers so you can pack fewer clothes, wash, and reuse them.

And unless you're vacationing in the jungle, you'll probably have access to a major convenience store or retail center for any essentials you forgot to pack. No need to pack your entire house for the "just in case" instances that probably won't happen.

4. Bring a reusable water bottle. Bottled water bottles add 1.5 million tons of plastic waste per year. And the water is no healthier than tap water. Purchase a BPA-free water bottle with a filter and never overpay for tap water again.

5. Rent a smart car. If possible, take the train and public transportation. But if you need to rent a car, opt for a "smarter" car. Start by choosing a car for the number of people in your party - family of four? A four-seater is the best option!

If you have the option to rent a fuel-efficient, hybrid, or electric car, do so! Not only will you be saving yourself gas money, but you'll be reducing your carbon footprint.

What Next?

If you're interested in other simple ways to live a Go Green life, check out The Green Book.

Curious about the dwindling resource, clean water? Watch Thirst from PBS.

We want to know - how do you vacation while still being environmentally responsible? Leave a comment or .

Are you or a friend about to take a trip? Share these tips to Go Green on vacation!