When you’re preparing for vacation or business travel, it’s easy to get caught up in your to-do list and not give much thought to putting a greener spin on it. Here are some simple tips you can do to be more eco-friendly and save some green. Start thinking about this list a month or two in advance, so you aren’t rushing around at the last minute.
- Unplug televisions, air conditioners, toaster oven, blender, microwave, coffee pot, washer/dryer, stereo, DVD player, clocks, etc. because even though they are not in use they still use energy. Contact your electric company for your cost and energy savings.
- It’s understandable that you may want to leave a security light on while traveling. But don’t leave lights on 24/7–use a timer for both indoors and outdoors. Your local hardware or lighting store can help.
- If you need something new to put your clothes in check out used or vintage luggage in thrift stores, flea markets or online at eBay or craigslist, or even a relative’s closet. Older luggage can be fun to have, but one drawback could be they may not have their own set of wheels. Ebags.com sells McBrine Eco-Friendly Spinner set of luggage has an exterior made from 50% recycled materials. Buy the pink set and they will donate to Susan G. Komen breast cancer foundation. Eco Traveler’s 2 Piece Expandable Carry-on Luggage is made from hemp on the outside and the inside material is biodegradable. Patagonia Freewheeler and MLC Lines are constructed from 100% recycled fabrics.
- Ask a neighbor to take in the mail, newspapers and circulars. Offer your neighbor the papers if you don’t want to put subscriptions on hold. In any case, don’t leave them lying around to build up so people know you’re not home.
- If you have plants that need lots of sun and water ask someone to plant sit. Pay them in cuttings to plan their own indoor garden!
- Throw out and/or give away food that may spoil. Buy a new box of baking soda to keep bad smells away.
- Depending on how much luggage and time you have, try taking a shuttle bus or public transportation to get to the train or airport. In New York City, for example, a subway can get you to JFK for $2.25 vs. $52.00 in a cab–and in rush hour traffic, it is probably faster.
- Most hotels nowadays provide shampoos and soaps, but if you prefer your own brands you can buy reusable containers to refill. If you have a stash of samples to bring with you from other stays that’s great too. Some women’s shelters, homeless shelters and global organizations accept donations of sample size soaps, shampoos and other personal care products. Check out what they do in your neighborhood.
- Make sure to turn off all the faucets in the bathroom and kitchen securely. Dripping water is not eco-friendly as can cause damage.
Begin your travels knowing you have decreased your carbon footprint, even before you walk out the door.