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Tips for Greener Summer Travels

Milk Carton races at Greenlake, Seattle Times
Greenlake milk carton races by Seattle TImes

Milk Carton races at Greenlake, Seattle Times

Summers in Seattle are awesome – makes Seahawks game withdrawals so much easier! With the nice weather, you can hop on a bike and tour the city with a theme: pie, ice cream, beer, food trucks, ice cream food trucks…oh, sorry, you want to do something besides eat? Right! There are plenty of free things to do in and around Seattle, not to mention all the outdoorsy stuff that makes living in the Northwest so great. As with travel anywhere, be respectful of nature, wildlife and your fellow outdoors enthusiasts (even if you can’t always tell them apart).

We’re lucky to live where having a staycation is such a sweet deal, with the added bonus that it can be a great low-impact option. But what if you have plans to leave town and want keep your green cred? Here’s a bunch of ideas to get you started (and you may even save some money in the process):

  • Air travel has the most impacts – but there are tips for how to reduce the impact of your air travel, such as packing as lightly as you can and taking direct flights whenever possible. Think about different options (some airlines are more fuel-efficient than others and short flights are less efficient than longer ones, so a train could be a better option).
  • Try  going carless – it’s possible! You often get more of the local flavor if you go by foot, bike or public transportation. There are also increasing options for short-term car rentals, like Car2Go, as well as bike sharing in many cities.
  • If you’re thinking about going on a road trip, be sure to check out EPA’s fuel economy trip calculator and choose the most efficient vehicle you can. There are other great tips on their site for conserving fuel while driving.
  • Be sure to bring your reusable water bottle and coffee cups to fill up on your travels. If you forget to bring one with you, buy one somewhere as a souvenir and use it on your trip.
  • Support local restaurants and farmers markets, it’s a great way to eat healthier while on vacation (or staycation, for that matter).
  • Look for green and sustainable accommodations or stay at a working farm with an inn; eco-friendly lodgings are getting more common. And remember to limit the amount of laundry done on your behalf by using your towels and other linens more than once.

Need more? Independent Traveler has a great list of tips and handy Green Travel Center, as well as a resources page for finding carbon offsets, car rental companies, eco-friendly lodging and tour operators.

Enjoy the summer wherever it takes you!