When people think about green vacations, they picture long walks in the jungle or canoeing through a river. But you don’t have to go to the middle of nowhere to actually have an ecofriendly vacation – you can still visit big cities, crowded beaches or small villages and call yourself a green traveler. Green vacations aren’t entirely about the destination but about the efforts to preserve the environment of the people taking them.
Sounds like you’re going to have to sacrifice yourself for the environment? Not at all. There are various little things you can do before going away and while you are enjoying your vacations that can turn your vacations into a greener experience you’ll love twice as much. Here are some ideas!
- We said it above – green vacations aren’t entirely about the destination. But it’d naive to say that all destinations are equally green. Picking the right destination certainly is a huge deal for a green vacation. Don’t misunderstand me, though. This doesn’t mean you have to go deep into a wild secluded destination that no man has ever seen before. Choosing a green destination is more about considering places that are closer to your home (a radius of 150 miles is a good reference), which means you’ll have to use your car less, thus reducing your emissions while on the road
- If you’re looking for accommodations in your destination, try to do a little research first about environmentally friendly hotels in the area you’re visiting. There are several organizations that have developed certifications and standards to define how eco-friendly hotels and tours really are, so you’d better do your homework and try to pick an hotel with the proper certifications. An hotel that boasts with these certifications is surely the one that reduces its energy consumption, has recycling programs, conserves water and offers local foods and beverages. Doesn’t that sound like a hotel worth checking out?
- Know which vehicle is more convenient for you. Perhaps you like the comfort of your car but it’s really necessary to go on vacation with it? If you aren’t travelling far away and have the chance, why don’t go on a train? They are more environmentally friendly than cars and they can even make for an amazing experience. Are you flying? Then book tickets electronically to reduce paper waste (besides, it’ll be less likely you end up losingyour tickets).
Before you go
- Many people are too worried about their vacations to even think about the state in which they are leaving their homes. That’s how you end up with appliances unnecessarily plugged in while you’re away, a thermostat in a high setting or even tiny water leaks here and there. The advice here is obvious – check the whole house before you leave for vacation. Take some time to pull the plug on TVs, toasters, microwaves and any other non-essential appliance- Believe it or not, stand by modes use a lot of energy you could be saving. Additionally, adjust your thermostat at low settings, since you won’t be using it for some time.
While you’re away
- Keep a green attitude throughout the whole vacation, no matter what you do. A lot of people like to think that everything goes when they are on vacation and they simply forget the most basic tips regarding green living. Don’t let that happen to you! Remember to take quick showers, never leave lights on in rooms you aren’t using and inform yourself about the recycling programs available in the hotel you’re staying. It’s OK to try to relax when you’re in vacation but that doesn’t mean you have to set aside all your efforts to help the environment.
- Respect the places you’re visiting in every possible way. Stay in marked roads, don’t mess with the animals and local flora and observe all signs. Of course, reduce your waste to a minimum and dispose of your trash in places created for such purposes. Remember, you’re just a visitor of a place that has its own efforts to offer you the best destination possible – keep it that way!
- Keep your waste in check by grabbing only brochures you are actually going to use and share those you do grab with the people you’re travelling with. Take your own water bottles with you. You won’t have to buy water whenever you go while you’ll also reduce the amount of plastic bottles you throw away. Also, try to buy local products – they won’t just give you the possibility to experience the local flavor firsthand but also help in reducing the pollution caused by imported goods.
- Explore your destination with public transportation or better yet, walk around. If you didn’t have the possibility to leave your car at home, at least leave it in the garage while on vacation. Use buses, trains or just go walking to the attractions you want to check out. This won’t just help the environment but will also prove a fantastic way to discover the place you’re visiting.
- Use your sheets and towels for more than a day. Though many green hotels often leave them for a couple of days, there are hotels that still change them every day – unless you ask them not to. Be honest here – you don’t change the sheets or the towels every day while you are at home so why does that have to be different? Changing sheets and towels on daily basis means more washing which translates into more water and chemicals used. You can prevent that!
As you can see, all of these tips are fairly easy to use and won’t affect your vacations at all. If you plan smart, you’ll be able to use them all and your vacations won’t just be unforgettable – they’ll be the greenest they can possibly be.
Posted June 14, 2015
by Gabriel Posternak.