For many students and parents around the country, this week (or next, depending on where you live) is that lovely part of the year known as Spring Break. It's the time when people pack themselves in mini-vans or airplanes and go crash on beaches far and wide, all in anticipation of summer, which lies just around the corner.
While Spring Break and vacations in general are often highlights of the year for those of us who need a reprieve from the real world, traveling can be an activity that turns ridiculously wasteful in terms of the environment. From the way we recycle, eat and relax, there are plenty of ways to make our down time more eco-friendly. Here are 6 ways to be green on Spring Break.
Beyond saving money, traveling smart and light also saves you stress and can actually lower the carbon footprint of your travel plans. Traveling lighter means less weight, which means less fuel for your car or plane, which means less of a negative impact on the environment. Some of the items that you will be trying to desperately cram into your luggage can be bought upon your arrival, which has a bonus of helping boost the local economy of wherever it is that you're visiting. For more tips on specific ways to pack lightly, visit RealBuzz.
More than any other thing you can do to be green on your vacation, your mode of transport has the biggest effect on the environment. There are a couple of ways to combat or alleviate this issue. First, make sure you do not fly at night. Yes, the airport is more empty and it means less lines and stress, but the contrails of a plane at night have a bigger impact on global warming than those left in the day.
In addition, there are great resources online where you can book greener flights and save money at the same time. Alternative to flying, you could also take a train overnight while you sleep, or take a road trip with a rented hybrid car.
Take a "staycation"!
Just because a place is close to you doesn't mean it isn't a blast. I know, the idea of taking a staycation has "lame dad idea" written all over it, but it can be a really inexpensive way to have a fun and enviro-conscious vacation. Everybody wants to travel to exotic locations for their trips, but for the resourceful individuals out there, there are ways to locate local nuggets of fun. Not only will it save on travel expenses, but you will find out more about the tourist spots near where you live.
This one seems like a no-brainer when it comes to Spring Break, but enjoying the outdoors is a great way to be green. Take your bike out, go camping or rock climbing, or hang out at the beach. As long as you are being conscious of your waste and how you recycle, mother nature is out there for us to enjoy. Likewise, if you choose to go snowboarding or skiing, as many often do during this time, choose products that are recycled or made of bamboo, and find ski resorts that are sustainable.
Eco-friendly lodging is another excellent way to travel green. With more and more people becoming green-aware, there is a rise in businesses doing the same. Not only are there plenty of green restaurants, but there are even hotels who try to operate their buildings in a way that is less harmful to the environment. You can find loads of green hotels online, all for the same prices or even cheaper than your typical lodging.
Now that you are off enjoying your vacation, take your good green habits with you. Whether you are across the globe or in your own neck of the woods, there are everyday ways to reduce your carbon footprint while you enjoy your Spring Break. While you are at the hotel, remember to recycle, use less water when you shower, and re-use your towels and sheets so they are not constantly being washed. In addition, don't buy paper guides to lead you around, find paperless travel guides online.
With all of these tips, your vacation is sure to be eco-friendly and fun. So, how many of you guys are on Spring Break this week or next? Going anywhere interesting? Let us know in the comments!