Eco Travel Made Easy

Many people will be traveling by plane, train or automobile this holiday. We thought it would be a good idea to provide a few eco-travel tips to make your vacation not only greener, but smarter.

1.   Pack lightly. The heavier a plane is the more fuel it needs to get off the ground. Take one bag. That’s all you need. You can wash your clothes when you arrive at your destination.

2.    Stay at a green hotel. There are plenty of hotels out there that cater to the green lifestyle. If you are going to stay in a hotel, pick one that chooses to be kind to the planet.

3.   Take the train. The train may not get you there very fast, but I’ve taken the train across this country and have loved it. You meet interesting people. You can sit in the observation car and watch the glory of the countryside unfold in front of you.

4.   Stay a little closer to home. Traveling a short distance by car or train is greener than flying, and once you start doing some research, you’ll be amazed at how many cool attractions are right in your backyard. Visiting a nearby state or national park can be a fun weekend getaway and a great educational experience for kids. And don’t overlook major cities, most of which offer not only diverse cultural attractions, but also convenient public transportation systems that make it easy to get around without a car.

5.   Driving? Rather than put the miles on your own car, rent a hybrid. Hertz and Avis are just two companies that have recently started offering hybrid models; Hertz will even donate $1 to the National Park Foundation when you reserve a car in its “Green Collection.”

6.    Flying? Opt for airlines with young fleets, such as Continental and Jet Blue. With each new generation of airplanes, the fuel efficiency increases as a result of engineering advances.  The airline with the youngest fleet of planes typically has the most fuel-efficient airline.

7.   During Your Stay- Don’t throw your eco-friendly habits out the window just because you’re hitting the road:

• Turn off the lights, TV and air conditioner when you leave your hotel room.

• Let the housekeeping staff know it’s not necessary to change your sheets and towels every day.

• Reduce plastic bottle waste by packing reusable water bottles for the whole family.

• Take public transportation, rent bikes or walk — it’s eco-friendly and the best way to see the sights.

• Opt for locally-grown food; not only will it reduce the distance your meals have to travel to reach your mouth, it will also help you more fully experience the local culture.

Happy Traveling!

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