10 Ways to Green Your Summer Vacation
With warm weather right around the corner, we all like to start thinking about our summer vacations. Maybe you want to take the kids to the beach or finally visit a friend you never get to see. Whatever your plans are, Greenhome wants to make it easy for you to have a safe, happy, and eco-friendly vacation. Remember, just because you’re travelingdoesn’t mean you have to take a break from being green!
1. Unplug when you leave
Most of the appliances in your home will continue to soak up electricity while you’re gone, even if they’re powered off. To reduce the energy your home uses while you’re away, unplug appliances like TVs, printers, microwaves, and computers.
2. Turn down the dial
Dial back any appliances you can’t turn off. Keep your refrigerator and freezer on the lowest setting, turn down your water heater, and, if you need to leave the air conditioning on, make sure to keep it set above 80 °F.
3. Stay close to home
It’s tempting to jet off someplace exotic, but all those miles in a plane or car use lots of fuel and create greenhouse gas emissions. So this year, why not help the environment by finding vacation spots close to home? A staycation is the perfect opportunity to save money and explore local parks, restaurants, and museums.
4. Travel smart
If you are venturing far from home, use transportation that will minimize your carbon footprint (that’s the amount of greenhouse gas emissions you’re responsible for). Options like buses and trains require less fuel per person, and many are electric or hybrid. In fact, taking the train instead of an airplane can cut emissions by up to 75%.
5. Buy carbon offsets
No matter where you’re planning to travel, getting there is still likely to increase your carbon footprint. To help make your vacation as green as possible, look for places to buy carbon offsets, which allow you to invest in organizations that use your money for environmental projects like planting trees or developing alternative energy sources. Use a site like the EPA’s carbon calculator to find the energy footprint for your vacation, then donate to a company like Terrapass or Carbonfund.org to offset your carbon use.
6. Pick a green hotel
Look for hotels with environmentally-friendly policies that include purchasing green products, conserving water and energy, and investing in the local community. You can do your part to help these hotels by keeping the room thermostat set above 75° and by saying no to daily towel and sheet changes (you don’t wash your linens at home every day, so why would you waste the water on your holiday?).
7. Get outside
Make time on your vacation to explore the outdoors. Whether you’re going for a picnic in a state park, taking a guided tour in a nature reserve, or just jumping in a lake or river for a swim, there’s no better way to feel green than to get outside.
8. Take only pictures, leave only footprints
When you’re vacationing out in nature, you’ll want to do all you can to ensure you leave your destination better than when you found it. Pack out your waste and pick up any trash somebody else may have left behind and never take flowers, rocks, or other natural objects from where they belong.
9. Stay chemical-free
Vacation staples like bug spray and sunscreen can be full of toxic chemicals, so look for safe, family friendly alternatives. Use DEET-free bug repellant or make your own from natural oils, and always cover up when you’re out in the sun.
10. Shop local
Chose locally owned hotels, restaurants, shops, and tours to help support the community you’re visiting.