It’s that time of year again. The summer holidays are coming up – Memorial Day, 4th of July, and Labor Day – and families like to take long weekend vacations to visit friends and family. Other families use the summer break from school as an opportunity to travel for extended time periods. You have several options available to save your family money and help save our planet at the same time. And, as usual, these ideas are super easy to implement.
- Before you go on vacation, unplug your as many appliances as you can, and turn off, turn down, or turn up your heating and air-conditioning systems. Leaving items plugged in uses electricity, even if they’re off. You can start doing this on a daily basis, but definitely do this when you’re away from your home for an extended length of time. For security, many people will leave a lamp or a television on, but you don’t want a houseful of items using up electricity unnecessarily. This saves on energy costs.
- Suspend your newspaper service for the time you’ll be gone, and have the post office hold your mail. This stops unscrupulous people from seeing your papers and mail pile up, and knowing that you’re away from home.
- Pack less clothes, and take a few scoops of your own powdered laundry detergent so you’re prepared to wash them at the hotel. This also allows extra room in your suitcase for the souvenirs you bring back.
- Use as many reusable containers as possible. Travel-size items are more expensive than regular-size items, and they create more waste. However, if you insist upon travel-size containers, refill them from your stash at home, instead of buying more. Carry reusable bags when you’re sightseeing, then pack your puchases in your luggage for the trip home.
- Bring a reusable bottle – and use it! Use it for water, soda/pop, or juice. Just wash or rinse it out between uses. If you’re flying, you’ll have to bring it to the airport empty, but you can fill it up after you pass security.
- At the hotel, skip the daily towel service. Instead, use the same towels and washcloths for several days, before exchanging them for new ones.
- If you use the toiletries at the hotel, bring the half-empty bottles home, instead of wasting the contents.
- Stay in a hotel near public transportation, or within walking distance of the tourist attractions you’re going to visit.
- Use reusable utensils and avoid restaurants with disposable wrappings. Instead, opt for eating at local restaurants. This gives you an opportunity to really “eat locally”, and keep your dollars in the community you’re visiting.
- You know those brochure racks you see everywhere? Skip ’em. Especially if you’re not going to do a thing with the ones you pick up.
So it doesn’t take much effort for green travel, and it can actually save you a few dollars. That’s extra spending money on your vacation!