There’s no such thing as a holiday from being green. It’s a lifestyle choice, and if your lifestyle includes traveling then you’ll need to take the Earth into consideration when planning and taking your trip.
Here are some great tips adapted from It’s Easy Being Green: A Handbook for Earth-Friendly Living, by Crissy Trask.
BEFORE YOU GO
Book a trip to a destination that will benefit the local people and environment instead of vacationing in a destination that is often visited and overburdened by tourists. For information about where to go, check out ecotour.org.
Identify hotels that are committed to reducing waste, conserving resources, and reducing or eliminating the use of chemicals. Greenhotels.com has a list of its members.
Unplug appliances to save energy while you/re away. Many small and large appliances continue to draw energy even when turned off.
If your home will be vacant while traveling, turn down your thermostat in winter and up in summer to a temperature only necessary to protect houseplants and pets left behind.
AT THE HOTEL
Anytime you check into a hotel for more than a day, phone housekeeping upon your arrival and decline housekeeping services. According to commercial laundry equipment manufacturers, forgoing fresh bed linens and towels can result in saving as much as 30 gallons of water per room per day.
Resist the temptation to use those small, complimentary bottles of shampoo and lotion provided by hotels or take them home with you. The excess packaging used for such small quantities is extremely wasteful and if guests didn’t use them or take them, hotels would stop providing them. Refillable bottles brought from home are a much more eco-friendly option.
AT THE CAMPSITE
Protect campsite water sources from contamination by never washing dishes, clothes or yourself in them. Use a basin and a small amount of biodegradable soap for washing chores. Dump wastewater in a hole at least 25 yards from waterways.
Leave the campsite and park better than you found it. Carry all trash out with you, do not burn or bury trash of any kind, and check your campsite thoroughly to make sure you left nothing behind.
Brochures and maps are commonly provided at tourist attractions. Take care of them and as you are leaving, return it so that someone else can use it.
When visiting a park, never leave paths (or allow your children to) and do not disrupt or remove anything (e.g. rocks, flowers, etc.). Leave them for the next person and everyone after them to enjoy as you have. Most importantly, leave them for the species that depend on them.