This guest post is by Felicia Baratz of Eat Breathe Blog.
Green Up Your Travel
If you’re committed to being green, vacation should be no exception. While you may not be able to bike to your destination, and you don’t have complete control over the green practices of your hotel, you can do your best to ensure that your commitment to all things green extends to your vacation choices. While it may seem that the impact you make when planning a greener getaway is small, in truth, with the number of travelers hitting the road each year, each little bit helps preserve the health of the planet, making it more than worth the effort.
Pick a Green Hotel
Many hotels, committed to environmental sustainability and eager to capture the bucks spent by environment-loving travelers have adopted green practices. When selecting your hotel, specifically seek out one that is green. Visit the Green Hotels Association or a similar green accommodations group to explore your options. Regardless of where you roam, you can almost certainly find someplace green to lay your head. Even in metropolitan Chicago, for example, you can find green hotel options such as the Holiday Inn Chicago Mart Plaza or the Hotel Felix Chicago, both of which hold the prestigious LEED Gold Certification, awarded by the U.S. Green Building Council to recognize hotels’ commitment to exemplary green practices.
Reducing Your Consumption
Just as at home, when on vacation you can do a lot to ensure that you consume as few resources as possible. Instead of taking a taxi or bus everywhere you roam, select sites within walking distance from your accommodations and pound the pavement, likely burning a few extra calories while you do so. Don’t turn your hotel room into an igloo, but instead keep the air conditioning at a moderate temperature. Instead of throwing your one-time-used towels on the floor for the maid to replace, hang them back up and use them the next day as well. Avoid using the wasteful—albeit convenient—hotel offerings such as plastic cups and oh-so-petite bars of soap; bring your own full-sized supplies from home instead.
Leave No Trace
Part of staying green is ensuring that you have as little impact on the natural landscape as possible. This commitment is of the utmost importance when exploring natural destinations like national parks. If your travels take you to a park or other natural wonder, put extreme care into not leaving any indication of your presence after you leave. If you light a campfire, do so responsibly and completely remove any ashes or other remnants that remain. Carefully gather all of your refuse and recycle what you can before disposing of the rest to ensure that the place you visit is as pristine after you leave as it was before your arrival.
If you possess a real dedication to green living, this desire to do right by the planet should be never-ending. Green travel isn’t as a difficult a feat to accomplish as it may initially seem. In truth, with just a little more effort you can green-ify your travel and ensure that you stick to your values while taking your much-needed vacation.
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