By Kate Voss If there’s one thing that can be said about traveling, it’s that even when done right, the journey can be expensive. Planes, trains, and hotels all cost money, which is why proper preparation is essential when considering a vacation. Beyond the out-of-pocket cost, however, vacations can be expensive in other ways – especially when it comes to the toll on the environment. It’s no secret that airplanes and transportation vehicles are some of the most wasteful machines out there. Which means that when vacationing, every time you hope into a cab, or jet off for a weekend trip, you’re directly contributing to a massive use of fuel and non-renewable energy. Luckily, there are plenty of ways to offset your usage and take a more eco-friendly vacation:

Take Public Transit There are some situations when a taxi or private is necessary – but whenever possible, take public transportation or even ride a bike. Cities such as Rome and Paris have plenty of attractions close enough to walk or bike between. They also have easy-to-use el systems with clear directions to popular tourist attractions. Book a Green Hotel Before you leave, research green hotels and businesses to stay at. Like residential plans, businesses and hotels all over the world have the opportunity to use renewable energy power sources or commit to renewable energy plans from power companies like Epcor and Champion in order to reduce their overall waste. Hotels have also realized that customers are increasingly environmentally conscious, so many will have full descriptions available on their green building, recycling, and waste practices. Of course, as a temporary resident, you can also do your part by keeping your showers short and notifying the hotel staff that your sheets and towers don’t need washing everyday.

Many hotels now have green programs to save energy!
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Many hotels now have green programs to save energy!

Collapsible water bottles are both easy to carry and easy to use!
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Collapsible water bottles are both easy to carry and easy to use!

Bring a Water Bottle As with everywhere else, plastic water and drink bottles are wasteful items that are used far too often – especially on vacations where you’re walking is usually increased, and the opportunity to buy from vending machines and street vendors is literally around every corner. Do the environment a favor and bring or purchase your own water bottle to carry around with you (unless, of course, you’re in an area where the water is unsafe). Save the sweet drinks for when you’re dining at restaurants, where you have the chance of being served from a fountain versus a bottle.   Keep It Green Back Home                 Chances are, you know to limit your heating and cooling at home while you’re off seeing the world. However, you should also shut off the circuit to your water heater to prevent unnecessary heating, and completely unplug the television and major appliances to prevent “energy vampires.” Even small electronics, such as razors, coffee pots, and digital clocks drain energy when left plugged in. If you’re planning on an extended vacation (longer than a few weeks) you could potentially clear and unplug the refrigerator. If you’re leaving for less time, it’s also possible to lower the fridge temperature to 42 degrees and freezer temperature to 5 degrees – high enough to keep everything cold or frozen (except for perhaps raw veggies and fruits) while you’re away.

 

About Kate Voss: Freelance entertainment blogger living in the Windy City. MSU Alum with a love for creative writing, reading and restoring antique furniture.  @kateevoss

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