Many schools are creeping up on their spring breaks so I wanted to help you plan your vacation. When traveling we want to make our carbon footprint as small as possible while still having a blast. It is also a great idea to make sure the products your bringing on your trip are eco-friendly and fair trade, so if you need to buy a bigger suitcase to fit all of those bathing suits and flip-flops, try buying a bag that is recycled/Fair Trade ! If you’re in need of a trusty travel kit, take a look at Hope for Women’s ReStyleTM Salon Pro Travlel/Dropp kit. It is water resistant, durable and easy to wash so you won’t have to worry about that exploding shampoo ruining your entire suitcase.
If you’re traveling to Latin America, Africa, Asia, Europe, or the Pacific Rim, you could even go see some of the Fair Trade artisans! By visiting www.wfto.com andwww.fairtradefederation.com you can find out where participating producers of the Fair Trade organization are located and then see if there are opportunities to visit them.
When booking your trip there are many eco-friendly hotel options. Travelocity actually has a whole page dedicated to booking eco-friendly vacation packages that are right for everyone’s budget. Be sure to research just what is meant by “green” to make sure your values are being met.
Planes create a large carbon footprint so try to book a direct flight if possible: “Taking off and landing requires a tremendous amount of fuel, so flying direct is greener than making stop-overs,” said TreeHugger and PlanetGreen.com editor, Meaghan O’Neill. Help the planet and your wallet by not renting a car on your travels, and try booking a hotel that is either walking distance from all the local attractions or has easy access to public transportation.
WAIT! Before you leave for the airport make sure you have turned off all of your lights, you have unplugged all of your appliances (many appliances continue to suck out power from your walls even after they are fully charged), and you have adjusted your heating or cooling system appropriately – there is no need to heat or cool an empty house!
Once you have arrived at your vacation destination don’t forget to treat the hotel like your own eco-friendly home. Turn off the lights when you go out for a swim, turn down the air conditioning, and hang up your towels to dry after you use them. Hotels have to use a huge amount of energy for laundry everyday so help them cut down on wasting water and energy. When you’re out looking at all the local goodies try to buy some of them! Many countries depend on tourism to survive so show some love for the local artisans, and try eating out at the local restaurants instead of eating out at a chain you can find in your own backyard.
Going on a vacation is about having fun and relaxing so don’t stress about trying to accomplish everything I have listed – but try a few! Most of the things are super simple and you will feel better about your vacation knowing that you are helping the environment and the community you are visiting. My last tip for a fun/eco-friendly vacation is…have an amazing time!
Written by, Mary Mathias