Tips Tuesday: Five Tips to Green Your Summer Vacation

The summer travel season is here and whether you are traveling by train, plane or automobile, your vacation is likely to increase your carbon footprint. Fortunately, this doesn’t have to dampen your summer fun. Gary Gero, president of the Climate Action Reserve, a Los Angeles-based nonprofit that registers and issues carbon offsets, offers five easy and affordable ways to reduce the impact of your summer travel on the planet.

1. One if by air: Calculating the carbon footprint of your trip is the first step to reducing its impact on the environment. If you are traveling by air, you need to factor in the plane and engine type, cargo load, passenger weight, and fuel usage. The good news is that many major airlines will do this for you and also offer to offset your flight’s emissions as an add-on to the ticket price. If your airline doesn’t have a carbon-offset program, there are easy online calculators to do it yourself, like TRX Travel Analytics at http://carbon.trx.com.

2. Two if by land: If you’re opting for a road trip instead, you not only need to factor the trip’s total mileage but also your vehicle’s year, make and model when calculating emissions. TerraPass offers an easy-to-use vehicle emissions calculator at http://www.terrapass.com/road/calcdetails.html. Then you can balance out your trip’s emissions by purchasing carbon offsets. For a list of reputable offset retailers, visit http://www.climateactionreserve.org/how/crt-marketplace/ .

3. Low-carbon sightseeing: In order to minimize your carbon footprint, consider sightseeing by bicycle, public transportation or on foot. And when driving between sites, smart driving practices – like driving at the speed limit and turning down the air conditioner - can increase your car’s fuel efficiency and lower emissions.

4. Greening your hotel stay: Another way to reduce your carbon footprint while on vacation is to choose a hotel that offers its guests green options designed to save energy and reduce emissions. Such options include reusing towels, fewer housekeeping services, soap and shampoo dispensers, guestroom recycling baskets and reduced food-related waste.

5. Keep it local: Vacations and road trips can mean more meals out. Look for seasonal, local options on restaurant menus. Transporting food over long distances requires large quantities of fossil fuels and generates significant carbon emissions. Eating locally grown foods has the added benefit of supporting the local economy and helping family farmers stay in business.


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