You live sustainably at home, have a fuel efficient vehicle and greened up your office. But there’s still one area that you could make more eco-friendly – your leisure trips.
Since horses are no longer a viable means of travel, taking a trip inherently means your generating an eco footprint. For the eco-conscious, the goal is to limit the size of that footprint without sacrificing the experience. The demand for environmentally friendly vacations is growing and the travel industry is paying attention. CEOs like Justin Francis are building entire businesses around making it easier to plan eco-friendly vacations.
Even if you can’t afford your own eco-friendly travel agent, there are ways to ensure your trip is green and clean for the environment.
Get the Details Before Booking a Room
When you’re splurging on a relaxation vacation the details matter. The better prepared you are the easier it is to relax once you get there. Here are a few ways to gauge how eco-friendly a hotel or resort really is before booking a room.
Spa Products and Equipment
If relaxing at the spa is a top priority, the services provided and products used can influence where you stay. Many spa products are full of harmful chemicals, but an eco-friendly establishment will go all-natural. Also ask about the equipment, like what type of massage tables they have available. The equipment is just as important as the skill of the service providers, especially if you have special requirements like the use of a pregnancy table.
Energy Sources and Conservation
More hotels are starting to see the benefit of going green since it helps their bottom line while helping the environment. It began with giving guests the option to forgo daily towel and linen changes. Now some hotels and resorts are investing in solar power systems while others are taking steps to conserve water from the infrastructure up and implementing recycling programs.
See if the hotel offers guests transport to area attractions. Carpooling in the hotel van can be more convenient and it’s greener than taking your own vehicle.
One Energy Consuming Feature to Have: Wi-Fi
During your vacation, you’ll probably want to unplug for the most part, but being in contact with family is important to most people. You never know when life is going to dole out something unexpected so you may not want to go completely off the grid.
Find Eco-Friendly Flights
One of the least eco-friendly parts of any vacation is getting there and back home. The least green option is traveling by plane. However, in some cases, it makes more sense to travel by plane rather than vehicle or train. You can make your flight a little greener by:
- Taking direct flights – Whenever possible book a direct flight to reduce your carbon footprint.
- Choosing a green airline – Airlines like Southwest are taking steps to eliminate waste and improve efficiency. Look for a carrier that has fully embraced the United Nations ICAO (International Civil Aviation Organization) agreement that caps carbon emissions.
- Comparing carbon emissions – Google has created a tool that will tell you the carbon emissions for a flight along with the price. You can lower your impact without affecting your budget.
- Utilizing an airline’s carbon offset program. Delta and a number of other airlines are offering customers the ability to join their carbon offset program.
Look for Eco-Friendly Entertainment
Selecting a resort or locale where you can get out in nature is good for your mental health and the world’s well-being. You can easily spend hours out on the nearby trails without adding one bit to your eco footprint. Even in an urban location you can take leisurely walking tours or bike tours to cut out the carbon emissions.
Staying in and spending a day at the resort can be equally entertaining and environmentally friendly. Plus, you don’t have to worry about making travel arrangements.
Choose an Eco-Friendly Destination
Where you go is possibly the biggest decision if you plan to take an eco-friendly getaway. You want the destination to offer creature comforts that make relaxation easy while also promoting a green lifestyle. Here’s a quick rundown of some of the world’s greenest destinations:
Costa Rica – For years Costa Rica has been the poster child for conservation. The country’s leaders have gone to great lengths to conserve rainforest, and this year the country made headlines for going 150 days on nothing but renewable energy.
Finland – Another country that’s so green it doesn’t matter where you go is Finland. The country recently ranked number one on Yale’s Environmental Performance Index.
Iceland – Iceland is another top eco destination. There’s no shortage of spas built right into the natural surroundings, which provides endless relaxation and 100% of the country’s energy.
New Mexico, USA – The rugged, raw beauty of the New Mexico landscape is the perfect backdrop for a number of eco-friendly resorts. Local hot springs offer a natural relaxing soak, minerals that can soothe the skin and geothermal energy.