If you have to travel around the holidays, don’t let your best intentions for eco-friendly living fly out the window. Here’s a few tips to help you have a great vacation and keep your impact on the planet to a minimum.
* Take the train. A train can use up to 70% less energy and causes up to 85% less air pollution than air travel. Your travel time will be longer, but with a little planning, a scenic and relaxing rail route is in store. Visit www.amtrak.com to plan your trip.
* Don’t fly if you can help it. One transatlantic flight for a family of four creates more CO2 than that family generates domestically in an entire year. Short flights are especially energy-guzzling because take-off and landing require so much extra energy. If you must fly, do it only for long flights and go nonstop whenever possible. Pack light for the plane by planning weightless gifts that share an experience, membership, etc.
* If you must drive a car, consider renting a hybrid. You can start with listings from the Eco-Directory.
* Contribute to a carbon-offset program. Make your trip “climate-neutral” by making a donation to zero- or negative-emission projects such as building renewable energy facilities that help to cancel out the carbon dioxide produced by your flight. Check here for a start on trusted carbon offset programs. Alternatively, you could donate an estimated amount of money to the environmental group of your choice, such as the Ecology Center.
* Greener hotels: Some hotels are making a commitment to reduce their environmental impact. Since some are doing more than others, ask each hotel about its environmental practices before making a reservation.
* Linens: Laundering sheets and towels consumes large amounts of energy, water, and detergent. Specifically ask that your linens and towels be changed less frequently.
* Human-powered and public transportation: Not only are walking and bicycling good for the environment and your health – they can also help you stumble upon all sorts of hidden treasures you might not have found otherwise. Many cities have bus and rail systems that can bring you to major hotels and attractions.
These tips came from a more extensive guide on our website. Happy trails!