Take a Green Holiday

The best vacations expand your world. Getting away from your little corner of it to see new sites, try new foods and meet new people can rejuvenate the spirit and increase your effectiveness upon return to your work and community. The purpose is to have fun, but with a little pre-planning you can shake off the cares of the world while helping to protect its environment at the same time.

The simplest modifications to your travel routine make a big difference, positively impacting your personal life as well as ecology. You may pack as light as possible simply so you have less stuff to lug around and keep track of while you traverse the world. However, if fellow passengers do the same, your airplane bears a lighter burden, conserving its fuel and reducing carbon emissions.

Another simple, yet effective step you can take would be going through the house one last time to make sure the lights and oven are off, it doesn’t take much extra time to unplug your appliances and electronic devices. Computers and chargers, microwaves and MP3 players “leak” electricity using standby power when merely turned off. Pulling their plugs not only conserves energy, but lightens your energy bill.

As delightful as it is to let hotel and restaurant workers assume the drudgery of the usual daily chores, a little mindfulness won’t interfere with your sense of luxury. Instead of leaving bath towels out for housekeeping to pick up after only one use, tuck them away and use them several times before surrendering them to the hotel’s enormous, energy gobbling laundry machines.

When searching for places to dine out, look for locally owned restaurants and shops that use locally grown ingredients rather than foodstuffs processed and flown in from afar. Again, the benefits are small but multifaceted: You help the environment and the local economy while enhancing your own experience of the area.

What area might that be? If ecological mindfulness is a factor in your search for a restful and relaxing vacation spot, you might find yourself in Upstate New York. Its eponymous capital city may be associated with pollution, but New York’s Upstate region offers a surprising array of natural wonders. Take, for example, the fresh clean air and breathtaking beauty of the Finger Lakes Region.  Not far from Syracuse, you’ll find entertainment at Destiny USA, which is not only the largest LEED certified shopping mall in the country, but also the largest “green” shopping mall in the world.

Portland, Oregon offers its own appealing blend of metropolitan chic and environment-friendly fun. Considered the number one “green” city in the United States, Portland is a city made for cyclists with an adventurous spirit and a cultural bent. You’d be surprised at the many extraordinary places a little “green thinking” will take you. Rent a bike and cruise around the city, as this is a very bike-friendly community.  Why not get a little exercise, go green, and sightsee all at the same time, right?

Some people go to great lengths to be eco-friendly travelers and I understand that it does not always fit into everyone’s lifestyle.  However, these tips that I have shared don’t require dramatic changes in peoples lifestyles, but merely just some simple yet effective actions to travel a little greener!

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