Before You Go
1. Book an eco travel focused hotel. You can get all of the comforts you want in a hotel and still select an eco travel option almost anywhere in the world. From agritourism stays to eco luxury accommodations, the Green Hotels Association is one place to start to look for just the right eco travel place to rest your head.
2. Plan sun protection. Is a beach vacation next on your eco travel list? Purchase UV protecting swim shirts, hats, and other clothing to protect yourself without using sunscreens that damage coral reefs and local waters. Use a biodegradable sunscreen if you must such as one of the many selections from All Good. And purchase it in advance as you might not find it where you’re going.
3. Reduce energy usage. Eco travel starts before you leave. Turn down the refrigerator and the heat and unplug appliances while you’re away including coffee pots and televisions. The U.S. Department of Energy has a lot of energy saving information available. Did you know that electric appliances left plugged in can add up to 10 percent or more to your utility bill?
During Your Trip
4. Turn off the lights and heat/air-conditioner when you leave the room. It won’t take long for things to get comfortable again when you return and it will save energy and maybe even keep the cost of future eco travel stays down.
5. Use your feet and stay on the trail. You will see so much more if you walk or bike rather than rent a car or take a cab. Or use public transit to get around in cities. And, stick to the designated areas for hiking, biking, or dog walking (and be sure to pick up after your pet). If you must rent a car for your next eco travel experience, choose a hybrid vehicle whenever possible. Enterprise Rent-A-Car has a Carbon Offset Program and hybrid vehicles available in locations nationwide. And, Hertz has a Green Traveler Collection.
6. Keep the sheets. Everyone likes clean linens but just opting to have your sheets and towels changed every other or third day can save an amazing amount of water. Most hotels offer this as an option or you can request it upon check in. According to the American Hotel & Lodging Association, hotels that offer guests the option to not have their sheets and towels washed daily experience a 17 percent reduction in laundry loads and related water/sewer, energy and labor costs.
7. Recycle. Ask the hotel where to put your recyclables if there is not a designated receptacle in the room. And don’t assume that they will be sorted if you place them in or near the trash.
-Happy and Safe Travels!