Cut your travel footprint this summer

The kids are out of school, and that summer vacation that seemed so far away when you booked it back in February suddenly looms. Whether you’re flying, driving, biking, or sailing, we’ve got some advice on how to keep your carbon footprint down while you do it.

Regardless of how you travel, the best way to get your carbon footprint down is simply by thinking about it. I’m always surprised by how I have to force myself not to toss half my everyday green practices out the window the moment I leave town. You’ll never catch me drinking from a disposable coffee cup at TerraPass, but for some reason I find myself in the airport for an early flight without a mug, one thing leads to another, and…

So think ahead. Bring water bottles. Bring coffee mugs. Bring reusable food storage, plastic or glass, so you don’t have to toss what you don’t eat at that seaside picnic (hotel minibar fridges are energy hogs, but the hotel management will get very upset with you if you unplug them, so you might as well get some use from them.)

Speaking of hotels, always take advantage of any offer not to change bedding or towels. And turn the lights off when you leave the room, just like at home. Sure, you aren’t paying the bill, but it’s still the right thing to do. Same goes for the air conditioning. The room doesn’t have to stay at 68 degrees all day while you are out seeing the sites.

If you need to rent a car, factor in consideration of your carbon footprint by renting from Enterprise, a TerraPass partner, which has the most fuel-efficient fleet on the road, or from one of the companies like Hertz that provide a “Green Collection” option. You’ll be surprised at how easy it is to get a hybrid vehicle if you reserve a bit in advance. Also, if you’ve picked up a Scan Gauge from the TerraPass Store don’t forget to take it with you on holiday, measuring your fuel efficiency as you go.

Finally, if you haven’t booked a vacation yet, consider staying local this year. As someone who spent virtually his whole career in travel prior to landing at TerraPass, I know that nothing replaces the thrill of traveling somewhere new, or the fun of seeing old friends back home, but I also know that for many, taking a low-key break from the big summer trip can be a healthy and relaxing thing.

I know, at this point some of you are probably wondering when I’m going to get to the bit about purchasing high-quality TerraPass carbon offsets to balance out the emissions from your flying and driving this summer. There you go!

Have a great summer vacation, and please let us know your own tips in the comments.

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erik

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