My desire to be mindful of my impact on the environment doesn’t simply vanish when I decide to travel. In order to remain eco-friendly, I take a few extra precautions during vacations and when preparing for my trips.
When preparing to leave, I make sure to unplug any appliances and electronics that do not need to remain on. This includes televisions, microwaves, chargers and anything that stays in “standby power” mode, which will draw power even when turned off. I also adjust the thermostat or even turn it off completely when applicable. Doing these things not only saves money, it prevents consuming power while your home is vacant.
If I’m flying to my destination, I look for non-stop flights. Although non-stop flights are often pricier than those with layovers, flying non-stop saves a significant amount of the carbon emissions that occur during takeoff and landing. Of course, another perk of skipping layovers is that you get you to your vacation spot sooner!
Once I arrive, I make an effort to eat, shop and buy locally to support the local community. If you take the time to look, you can normally find quite a few restaurants that use locally sourced ingredients. I avoid buying any items that are manufactured out of town or overseas and stick with things that are made in the community I’m visiting. The easiest way to do this is to steer clear of national chains and instead stick to locally owned businesses and markets.
If I need to rent a car during my travels, I request an eco-friendly gas-efficient or hybrid vehicle. While these cars might not be the most attractive, driving an eco-friendly car instead of a conventional vehicle saves quite a bit on carbon emissions. Another plus is that gas-efficient vehicles are much friendlier on your wallet when you do have to visit a gas station.
Upstate New York
If you’re looking for an eco-friendly destination in the United States, consider booking a trip to Upstate New York. Visitors enjoy a variety of green attractions such as The Finger Lakes and many local wineries that are available for tours and tasting. If you tire of the scenic aspects of the area, you are only a short drive from the conveniences of city life. Nearer to Syracuse, you will find the LEED certified Destiny USA, the largest green shopping mall in the word.
For a more tropical vacation, try Costa Rica, which is ranked as one of the world’s top green destinations. This vibrant country boasts many eco-friendly resorts, tours and hotels to choose from. The 2.4 million tourists that travel to Costa Rica each year enjoy ecological activities such as bird watching, hiking and pristine beaches as well as many unique cultural experiences.
These are some really simple and helpful tips for traveling greener on your next trip. The little things are what count, and with these tips you are able to kill two birds with one stone: 1) Help the environment and 2) Save some money!
Cliff Barre, of Vermont, lives with wife Tiffany and teenage son Steven. He would like to think of himself as an eco-friendly, responsible traveler who supports all things green. He says its never to late in the game to go green and hopes that his blog (Peace, Love, and Travel with Cliff and Tiff) posts and the help of other bloggers can spread the news about green initiatives we can all get involved with!