Green: How to make your summer vacation more eco-friendly

It’s summer vacation time! You have worked hard all year for this special vacation, and it’s time to sit back, relax and enjoy! If you have family, it’s also a great time to reconnect and create lasting memories. While enjoying this special time together, please also consider the environment and try to make your trip as eco-friendly as possible. Below are some tips to make your vacation eco-friendly:

  1. Consider a “staycation.” How many times have you said, “I would really like to go to (insert local tourist destination) if only I had time?” Well, now is the time, grab the bull by the horns, carpe diem and all that. I have an ongoing list of places that I would like to visit in Austin and haven’t found the time yet. A staycation is the perfect excuse to explore your home town, and it’s definitely the most eco-friendly option as most local destinations are within an hour’s drive.
  2. If you must fly somewhere, consider buying carbon offsets to reduce the impact of your trip. This money will be used to clean the air by planting trees or supporting other renewable resource projects.
  3. Consider staying at an eco resort or eco-friendly hotel. You can use Travelocity’s website to book a green hotel. Or consider using to stay at a place with a kitchen (this saves a lot of money, is healthier and is more environmentally friendly to cook your own food).
  4. Take your own toiletries instead of using the small, wasteful hotel bottles. By taking your own favorite toiletries, this is the best way to ensure quality control (think of all the chemicals in the cheap bottle of shampoo/conditioner).
  5. Pack lightly. The lighter you pack, the better for your body and the environment. The heavier the luggage in the trunk of the car or the airplane, the more fuel is needed to get to your destination.
  6. Instead of renting a car at your final destination, consider utilizing public transportation or other modes of transportation, such as walking or biking. If you must rent a car, try to rent a hybrid model or a model that gets better gas mileage.
  7. Volunteer for your vacation. Studies have shown that volunteering can play a role in increasing your sense of well-being, alleviating chronic pain and even reducing depression. And, your volunteer vacation may be tax-deductible to boot!
  8. Support local restaurants that buy their food from local farmers rather than eating at a chain restaurant. Not only will you get more tasty, healthy food, you will also be supporting the local economy and environment.
  9. Instead of buying cheap souvenir trinkets (most likely made in China), consider buying homemade keepsakes from local artists and businesses who have local products that will give you something that is truly reminiscent of your vacation destination. I usually like to buy a local homemade food product such as jams and jellies. When you consume them, you are reminded of your vacation.
  10. Don’t forget to unplug all of your appliances such as toasters, TV’s, blenders, DVD player, etc. before you leave for vacation. This will cut down greatly on “phantom” energy and save you money at the same time.

Be green and enjoy your travels!