Whether you are planning on a family trip or just going to see friends and family, traveling sometimes can be busy, expensive, and stressful. It can also generate a lot of waste and pollution, even with the best intentions.
A one-way trip for one passenger flying from Minneapolis to Los Angeles causes more than 1740 pounds of greenhouse gas emissions. It would take more than 20 trees seedlings grown for 10 years to sequester that amount of carbon. With a few changes you can green up your time away from home.
Planning for your green vacation
- For a low-carbon option, consider taking a train or motor coach.
- If you fly, choose a nonstop coach flight.
- Driving solo has the heaviest environmental footprint. Consider carpooling or renting a fuel-efficient or hybrid vehicle.
- If you drive, choose a green route.
- Book a green hotel.
- Bring and use a reusable bottle.
- Pack light. Those few added pounds in planes, trains, and automobiles will cause more carbon to be emitted into the atmosphere.
- Bring your own toiletries. The miniature soaps and shampoos from hotels contribute to thousands of bags of waste each year.
Before you go
- Unplug any unnecessary appliances such as televisions, computers, toasters, and microwaves. They still use energy in their off mode.
- Set your thermostat and water heater at low settings so that energy isn't wasted while you're gone.
During your stay
- If the hotel or lodge promotes sustainable practices participate as much as possible.
- Keep your showers short and shut off the water while brushing your teeth.
- If you use the complementary toiletries, take them home and use them up.
- Let the hotel know that you prefer not to have towels and sheets changed every day.
- Turn off the lights when you're not in the room.
- Lower the thermostat if you'll be gone for a long period of time.
- Recycle and sort your trash.
- Walk, rent a bike or use public transportation.
- If you rent a car, choose a hybrid or fuel efficient model.
- When hiking or camping, stay only in marked areas.
- Shop at farmers' markets and eat at restaurants with locally produced ingredients. Find locally sustainable foods in the US and Canada on the Eat Well Guide.