Posted by Nicole, BiOH Polyols Marketing Manager on August 12, 2011
Sometimes, we need to treat ourselves to a break, especially during summer. After all the hard work you put in at your job, a vacation is definitely well-deserved. So get out your suitcases, sundresses, board shorts, flight tickets, and let’s go! But hold on. Have you given thoughtabout how eco-friendly your vacation spot is for you or your family? Oftentimes we are so focused on the idea of fun and adventure that we forget the potential ecological consequences these grandiose trips can cause. This summer, keep fun and the environment in mind!
Here are some general tips for an eco-friendly vacation:
- Pick Driving over Flying: No one wants to drive to their dream destination when a simple one-way plane ticket can be bought. But you’d be surprised on how much driving lessens the ozone damage and carbon footprint we make on our environment. Air travel itself causes 3% of total U.S. carbon emissions! That number is only expected to rise over time as population grows.
- Choose an Eco-Friendly Hotel: Many hotels and other resort accommodations have started renovations based on new environmental standards and needs. Some use ‘Energy Star’ or solar power to reduce energy consumption while many others have started recycling programs.
- Pick a Single Destination: Not only will this allow you to save money on gas, hotel expenses, and other expenditures, exploring just one destination will allow you to truly explore the depth of the location through learning its culture and mingling with its locals.
- Travel Light: This one is pretty self-explanatory. Bring only what you need to bring; instead of buying everything in new plastic travel-size containers, reuse old ones. Also, bring a reusable water bottle! J
- Walk or Bike to and from Attractions: Again, doing this will not only save you from spending ridiculous amounts of money on transportation fees, but will also really give you the chance to see the place from a scenic perspective.
If you are really stuck on where to go, here are some wonderful eco-friendly places to explore!
- Napa Valley (California): If you want great variety in your travel, this is where it’s at. Napa Valley has seven ‘Regions of the Valley’, with each region containing its own local attractions. The American Canyon, one of the regions, has lots of eco-friendly accommodations, including World’s First Gold LEED (Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design) Certified Hotel called Gaia Napa Valley Hotel & Spa. Its restaurant is very environmentally conscious in its food preparation, using only locally produced food. The hotel itself is made of sustainable designs, including carpets made from recycled materials.
- Crystal Mountain and Resort Spa (Michigan): The Midwest has a lot to offer in scenery and chances for a healthy relaxation. The Crystal Spa is the only LEED certified spa in the Midwest and offers many organic products. In addition, there are outdoor programs near the resort, such as the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, where you can explore the sand dunes that rise 460 feet above Lake Michigan.
- Amelia Island Plantation Resort (South Florida): Want some fun in the sun? The resort overlooks the Atlantic Ocean and has been active in its eco-friendly practices since 1971 when it first opened. You can either golf away on a golf course that uses reclaimed water for irrigation, or take a trip down to the nature center to learn about the creatures that dwell around the resort. Amelia’s Wheels is another activity where you can rent bikes or golf carts to the trails.
- Highland Lodge (New Hampshire): If you love hiking through the mountains, this is the perfect spot for you. Located in the east, the lodge offers a great deal of hiking trails as well as educational programs where guests can learn the history and making of the trails. It is a part of the Highland Center, where a great deal is made out of recycled steel with natural vegetation in front. Both parents and kids can take “Green Tours” and learn about ecology, rock climbing, how to track animals, etc.
Now you can grab your suitcases and everything else you need for an eco-friendly vacay with family or friends! There are plenty of choices out there to explore, ones that not only offer adventure, but a chance to learn and appreciate the environment that we live in. With that being said, I’m now going to pack my own bags for my own eco summer excursion!