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July 18, 2012

How to Travel Green

Summer is in full swing, and I know many of you are taking your families on vacations. Remember, just because you are on vacation doesn’t mean you can’t be green!

I’m just as guilty as everyone else. When I’m on vacation I seem to forget about the basic rules of taking care of our environment. I don’t recycle. I create a lot of trash and am just wasteful in general.

My excuse is it’s just too difficult. When I’m at a hotel, I don’t have access to a recycling bin; without a kitchen, I’m more likely to get fast food that comes in cardboard and styrofoam containers; and I’m going to drive a lot while sightseeing.

So how can I keep up the green routine while relaxing and having fun? It’s easier than you think.

Go Green Travel has posted a series, 25 Days to Green Travel, that outlines simple ways you can live green even when you’re not at home.

Day 16’s article features 11 Tips and Tricks for Greening your Hotel Stay:

  • Unplug, unplug, unplug - if you just spend two minutes unplugging items, you will already have made a difference
  • Hang your towel and reuse it
  • Stick the “Do not Disturb” tag on your door - or just call housekeeping and tell them you won’t need their services during your stay
  • Adjust the thermostat - by lowering the temperature by two degrees in the winter or raising it two degrees in the summer, you will save a lot of energy, and you won’t notice the difference
  • Turn everything off when you leave the room
  • Flush less frequently - no need to flush every time; practice the “if it’s brown flush it down, if it’s yellow let it mellow” rule
  • Bring your own toiletries - think of all of the plastics that are used to create tiny bottles of shampoo and conditioner, and all of the extra packaging in luxury hotel items
  • Take shorter showers
Day 3’s article features the Ultimate Directory of Top Green Travel Destinations, and there’s a lot more than just camping and hiking locations! Green travel is also about choosing destinations that are already taking steps to be more sustainable, and supporting the economy in those communities.

Some destinations include:


  • Belize City, Belize
  • Luang Prabang, Laos
  • Mjølfjell, Norway
  • Palau
  • Costa Rica, 
  • Kerala, India

United States:

  • Portland, Oregon
  • San Francisco, California
  • Boston, Massachusetts
  • Oakland, California
  • Eugene, Oregon
  • Cambridge, Massachusetts
  • Berkeley, California
  • Seattle, Washington
  • Chicago, Illinois
  • Austin, Texas
I don’t go anywhere without picking up a few souvenirs, and Day 23’s article offers tips for green shopping:
  • Buy locally-produced items or from a locally-owned business - support the local economy by getting your souvenirs from locally shops, artisans and street stands
  • Buy something made from sustainable materials - avoid rare woods that may not have been sustainably harvested; avoid animal-based souvenirs since the animal may be endangered or might have been poached
  • Buy lightweight and small items - the heavier something is, the more resources it burns reaching its final destination; the lightest gift I've found was a locally-produced papyrus painting in Egypt
Be sure to check out the rest of the posts in the 25 Days to Green Travel series for more information on how to make your next vacation not only fun, but earth-friendly. It’s much easier than you think!


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