Green Travel Options
Winter travel season is in full swing and kids and parents look forward to days off from school and work. With more people becoming interested in environmental issues, green travel options are starting to be a popular choice. With a few simple steps, traveling green is easier than you think.
"Choosing green travel options is an easy way to enjoy the winter travel season and respect the environment," says Sue Pinera, environmental programs director for the Hertz Corporation. "Through small steps at home, on the road and during your stay, you can really make a difference."
Leave a Green Home While You're Gone
Preparing your home or apartment before you leave can help conserve energy and the environment. Remember to turn your water heater down to "vacation" mode or the lowest level. Appliances such as televisions and stereos can draw energy even when they are off, so you should unplug them. Also, stop your newspaper. Check to see if you can donate it to your local school or library.
Rent Green Automotives and Get Better Mileage
When renting a car, consider renting a hybrid. Hertz, for example, offers a special "Green Collection" of rental cars. Try renting a Toyota Prius hybrid or other environmentally-friendly vehicles such as the Toyota Camry or Hyundai Sonata -- which feature an average Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) highway fuel efficiency rating of 31 miles per gallon.
Driving Green Saves on Fuel
The way we drive can have a big impact on how much fuel is used, costing us more money and putting more pollution into the environment. When traveling, try to pack light. The extra drag on your vehicle will cost you. Also be aware of the speed limit, and rapid acceleration and hard breaking, each of which increases fuel usage. Also, remember to choose the octane fuel recommended by the manufacturer of your vehicle. Premium, high-octane fuels don't necessarily provide greater fuel efficiency. If you are renting a car, be sure to ask the agent what fuel type works best.
Book an Eco-Friendly Hotel
If your winter travels require you to stay at a hotel, choose one that values the environment. More and more hotels are becoming "green" by using natural materials and processes at their locations. Remember to participate in the hotel linen program and use your towels and sheets over again. This helps save water and helps reduce the amount of toxins put into the ecosystem through soap and bleach washing. If the hotel participates in a recycling program, ask them the process and use recycling bins. Finally, when you leave your hotel room, lower the heat and turn off the lights, TV and radio.
Use Digital Rather Than Disposable
Because travel is so important, we always want to capture those special moments in a photograph. The widespread availability of digital cameras offers a great way to take photos and reduce waste. Disposable cameras are wasteful, expensive and generally take a lower-quality photograph. Film and unused printed pictures can also be reduced by using a digital camera. For extra green points, use rechargeable batteries.
"From renting a car to reusing a towel, traveling green today will ensure that our earth remains healthy for future generations to enjoy through their travel adventures," adds Pinera.