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Traveling in Earth-Friendly Style: Accommodations, Gear and Other Tips

Posted Sep 22 2008 11:21am

Just because you’re jetting off for a holiday of relaxation and fun doesn’t mean you’re taking a break from being environmentally responsible, right? In a society where convenience almost always trumps eco-friendliness, it can be challenging to stay green on the road.  There are disposables everywhere, it’s tough to find eco-friendly travel gear and racking up a whopping carbon footprint from all those travel miles is all too easy.  That doesn’t mean it can’t be done, though.  Guess what, ladies and gentlemen – you can be just as green on a weekend getaway as you can at home, without sacrificing quality or style.

Find green accommodations online through one of the many directories and resources on the web.  Green hotel ratings aren’t yet available for every city, but they’re much easier to find now than they were a few years ago.  Check out Sustainable Travel International, which offers a searchable directory of eco-friendly lodging and other tourism services, as well as Green Seal, which lists lodging properties in the U.S. that meet its Green Seal certification standards.  Another place to check is the Green Hotels Association, which maintains an international directory of earth-friendly hotel members.

Keep your luggage to a minimum to make taking public transportation, walking and riding bikes way easier (because naturally, that’s how you’re going to get around, right?).  It’s really no fun trying to lug insanely heavy, bulky luggage around, let alone fitting it into the tiny compartments offered by trains and buses.  Think about everything you’re putting in your bag – are you really going to use that? Is there a real need to pack four pairs of shoes for a single weekend trip? A few things that should definitely go in your bag include a reusable water container, your own mini toiletries (leave the ones the hotel provides behind!) and your own little tableware set complete with a cloth napkin, fork, knife and spoon.

Pack your gear in an eco-friendly suitcase or travel bag
like the Joy Travelbag by Mandarina Duck, pictured above.  The entire Mandarina Duck ‘Joy’ line is made from DuPont™ Sorona®, a renewably sourced polymer partially made from corn.  It’s greener than nylon – DuPont™ Sorona® takes 30% less energy to produce and emits 63% less CO2 emissions during production.  The Joy Travelbag comes in brown, black or natural.  Since chic, stylish, affordable travel gear is still hard to come by (come on, designers!), vintage luggage is a great option for the budget-minded.

Eat, drink and shop locally while you’re there.  Why not enjoy your destination to its fullest? Immerse yourself in the local culture by enjoying local restaurants, sampling regional specialties and purchasing items made by the people who live there.  Buying locally-made souvenirs is a great way to support the local economy of the place you’re visiting.

Conserve resources in every way possible.  Browse brochures at the display in your hotel and then only take the ones you really need (or type the info into your cell as a note, to save paper).  Ask the hotel staff not to wash your towels every day – use them a few times.  Make sure you turn off the lights and air conditioning/heat in your room when you’re going to be out, and bring recyclables home with you if there aren’t any facilities available on your trip.

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