Scientists have spoken: Mankind is destroying the planet. It seems simple enough to cut carbon emissions while we are at home, but what about vacations or business trips? You can be kind to the environment even while you travel.
Here are some tips that will steer you in the right direction.
Plan and Prepare Well in Advance of Your Travel Dates
Forego paper tickets and book electronically via telephone or online. You will save paper (and time).
Discontinue the newspaper while you are gone or have it delivered to the local library or doctor’s office instead.
Before setting out on your trip, reduce the heat on the hot water tank, lower the thermostat, and unplug all electronics (like cable boxes, cordless telephones, and DVD players).
Vehicles Have a Huge Impact on the Environment
If possible, try to use public transportation or airport shuttles. Rent a vehicle only as a last resort.
If a rental is your only option, try to reserve a compact vehicle that will be easy on gas. Some rental agencies even provide electric cars or hybrids.
Before you head out, check tire pressures. Underinflated tires cause increased gas consumption.
Instead of using the air conditioner, open a car window when feasible.
Drive conservatively. Save fuel with a light foot on the accelerator while staying well within the speed limit.
Avoid idling your vehicle. If it will be sitting for more than 60 seconds while you load luggage or run an errand, switch off the ignition.
Participate in bus, train, or walking tours when available.
See if you can find a bike rental and get out in the fresh air.
Hotel or Bed and Breakfast Accommodations
Book lodging that is centrally located to your intended activities.
Make a point of reserving rooms in an establishment that promotes eco-friendly practices. Be sure to ask the innkeeper or booking clerk what they are doing to protect the environment.
Leave a note for the maid. Tell her that you want to use hotel towels for a couple of days before sending them to be laundered.
Don’t turn on the radio or TV unless you are really paying attention to it.
Leaving the room? Turn down the heat and/or air conditioning and make sure that the coffee maker, iron, TV, and other electrical devices are switched off.
If your hotel or inn has an elevator, ignore it and use the stairs instead. Your body will thank you for the exercise, and you will be doing your share to conserve electricity.
More Eco-Friendly Travel Tips
Never use regular alkaline batteries. Instead, pack enough rechargeables to get you through a complete day, along with a battery charger. You might also want to investigate the purchase of a solar charger.
If you must recharge your cell phone, game console, or laptop, don’t leave it charging overnight. Start early enough in the day or evening so that you can monitor the progress and shut down the device when it is up to 100%.
Instead of working out on a motorized stair climber or treadmill in the hotel gym, put on your walking shoes and go for a jog or walk in the fresh air.
Disposable or regular film cameras are not environmentally-friendly. Invest in a digital instead. Prices are becoming more reasonable every day and the capabilities are rapidly improving.
Avoid individually-wrapped hand cleaner packets, disposable razors, and other one-use items. Stick with smaller-sized reusable and/or refillable products.
An all-in-one cleaner can take the place of shampoo, laundry detergent, and hand cleaner. It will save room (and weight) in your luggage.
Speaking of weight in your luggage: pack light. It will conserve gas on your way to the airport, and will result in fuel savings for all other types of transport while you travel.
Avoid buying coffee or snacks in disposable containers. Pack your own mug – and if you want coffee to go, ask the restaurant or snack bar to fill it for you.
Be a good eco-citizen and pick up any trash you discover while you travel.
These tips are just a beginning. Be eco-conscious in everything you do, and you will find other ways to help save our beautiful planet.
©Copyright Kathy Steinemann: This article is free to publish only if this copyright notice, the byline, and the author’s note below (with active links) are included.
By: Kathy Steinemann
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