So, maybe you’re considering a trip to escape everything during the holidays. Or, maybe you’re thinking about treating yourself to some time alone after the holidays! Whatever it may be, there are now more ways than ever to travel in a “green” way.
The first and most obvious way to travel green is by putting some careful thought and consideration into your trip. This can be as simple as running your daily errands and considering a gas-saving route to complete them. If you’re going to be hitting the road, heading to Grandma’s house, you can make sure that your tires are inflated to proper pressure, pack a little lighter and make sure to use that cruise control set around 65 or 70mph to get the most out of your gas mileage. You could also rent a hybrid car for your trip. Most of the big rental car companies now offer hybrids and will even teach you how to use them if you’re feeling intimidated about the technology on-board. There’s now one whole rental car company that rents nothing but environmentally friendly cars in California and Phoenix, AZ.
But with the current green movement underway, there’s now all sorts of environmentally friendly ways to travel about. You could plan to visit green cities. One city that’s consistently ranked tops for it’s green way of life is Portland, Oregon. The city is surrounded by nature, has a great mass transportation system, plenty of parks and open space and a host of environmentally responsible hotels and restaurants. What could be better? If Portland, Oregon isn’t in your trip planning future you could look for green hotels at any destination. There’s now a Green Hotels Association, where innkeepers can pledge to make a difference with their property. You can check out a listing of their members by clicking this link to the Green Hotels website. If you can’t find a listing for a green hotel in the area you’re headed there’s some steps you can personally take at any hotel. The number one suggestion: don’t have your room serviced every day. The wastefulness of washing every room’s sheets and towels once a day when the same people are staying in the room is ridiculous. You don’t wash your stuff at home that much, why let the hotel do it! Also, take your own bottles of soaps and shampoos so you don’t have to use the ones at the hotel. If you do use them, take the leftover with you and get the most out of it before throwing away the packaging.
If you’d like to literally lend a helping hand to the environment and have an unforgettable trip, there’s several groups offering ecological experiences. One based in Flagstaff, Arizona takes on projects for places like the National Park Service. You volunteer your time to the task at hand and pay a fee that covers food and expenses, usually for a week at a time. You can log onto the Wilderness Volunteer website to get an idea on what kinds of trips they have to offer.
Last but not least, when you head out of the house for that trip, shut it down! Lights are essential to make your house look lived in while you’re away. But, put those lights on timers so you’re not wasting electricity 24/7. If you haven’t already, change the bulbs to compact fluorescents. That will also help you save the cost of energy. You should also unplug electronics that always suck power, no matter what. These are your VCR’s, DVD players, televisions and most of all…your computer. If you’re not going to be home to read your email for a week, turn it off! There’s so many fun, new ways to tread a little lighter when we head out to travel.
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