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EcoWise: Traveling Green

Ah, vacation! It’s a time to set aside day-to-day routines – and that often includes all of those good, green habits we’ve established when we’re home.

But with minimal effort, you can help the environment and still have fun. In this column, EcoPel offers up some ideas to help you and your family travel green.

Before You Leave Home

  • Unplug the power strips for all computers and monitors. Even when turned off, these electronic devices still draw power when they’re plugged in.
  • Lower the thermostat on your hot water heater and raise the temperature setting on your air conditioning system – or turn it off completely.
  • Remember to pack reusable bags for shopping, along with refillable water bottles and coffee cups.

On the Road

  • Reduce your carbon footprint by booking non-stop flights. Takeoffs and landings use the most fuel.
  • Wherever possible, use mass transportation on the ground.
  • If renting a car, choose the smallest, most fuel-efficient one possible.
  • Improve gas mileage by keeping tires properly inflated, driving at the speed limit, and avoiding rapid acceleration or constant braking.

At the Hotel

  • Look for green hotels that have energy-efficient buildings, recycling programs, and restaurants that source their food locally.
  • If the hotel offers recycling, make sure to sort your trash accordingly. If you’re on a car trip, consider bringing recyclables home.
  • Turn off the air-conditioning, heat, lights, and electronics before you leave the room.
  • Hang up wet towels on hooks or racks so you can reuse them, rather than leaving them on the floor so the housekeeping staff brings you fresh ones each day.


Wherever you’re headed this summer, always protect and respect the environment. And enjoy your time off.