NINE TIPS FOR GREENING YOUR TRAVEL IN 2009
Part of FamilyTravelPlanet.com is taking your children to see the world and experience it through your child's eyes. Family Travel involves more than seeing the world; it is an opportunity to teach your children how to take care of our planet, so that one day, they can see the same natural wonders with their own families.
When we travel, we often make sure to "give back" to where we visit. Some hotels now offer "Voluntourism" vacations. We took the kids to the Southwest Conservancy in Naples, Florida to teach them how to keep the beach clean. Then, we got our garbage bags and hit the Naples Beach with a program that the Ritz-Carlton, Naples offers to clean up the beach. Making a treasure-hunt out of our findings was fun, but watching my children see how our ecology works was the true gift of our vacation.
Here are some other tips for Green Travel this holiday season - and any:
1. FLY GREEN International tourism supports many communities worldwide by creating jobs and raising the standard of living. The only downfall is the carbon footprint from your air travel. While it isn't perfect, you can offset your flight by purchasing carbon credits. There are many sites for calculating your footprint and making this donation to a worthy cause such as www.terrapass.com and www.climatecare.org to name a few.
2. TOUR GREEN Intrepid Travel (http://www.intrepidtravel.com/) is a long-standing leader in sustainable tourism and environmentally sensitive travel. They recently took their commitment further with a new category of "Carbon Offset" trips. In 2009, 38 of their 400+ adventures will be eco-friendly and specifically designed to have a lower impact on the environment.
3. MEET GREEN Australians are keen outdoor enthusiasts with a reputation for living the green lifestyle and having strong environmental programs. In early 2009, the city of Melbourne, Australia will unveil a new Melbourne Convention Center with a 6 Star Green Star certification from the Green Building Council of Australia.
4. VOLUNTEER GREEN Luxury hotel chain RockResorts (http://www.rockresorts.com/) offers "Give and Getaway" vacations, where guests can participate in volunteer projects, such as trail restoration with the National Forest Foundation, and receive discounted lodging rates to boot!
5. DRIVE GREEN Carpool to the airport if possible, but if you have to rent a car choose a hybrid option, such as Budget-Rent-A-Hybrid-Car. Some hotels even throw in a hybrid as part of your stay. The Fairmont San Francisco and Fairmont Washington DC both offer posh Lexus Hybrid Living Suites complete with your own luxury green wheels. And at the Resort at Paws Up (www.pawsup.com) in Montana, guests enjoy free use of a Miles Electric vehicle when renting a Wilderness Estate.
6. EAT GREEN Sample the destination's local cuisine by choosing sustainable, organic, locally grown foods. Choosing these fresher, healthier meals will support the communities you visit. Keystone, Colorado (www.keystoneresort.com) has instated the "Appetite for Life" program, an initiative that serves only sustainable cuisine in all of the destination's food and beverage operations.
7. DRESS GREEN Purchase eco-friendly clothing that packs well and comes from a company with earth friendly practices. Clothier Patagonia offers garments that pack well and are geared towards the great outdoors. The company's Common Threads Recycling Program utilizes a fiber-to-fiber recycling system to make new products from old; for example, polar fleece pullovers are made from recycled plastic bottles.
8. SLEEP GREEN Choose a hotel with strong environmental policies. Fairmont Hotels & Resorts (www.fairmont.com/environment) have resort wide mandates for recycling, water and energy conservation, and reducing disposable waste. They also empower guests to do their part with in-room recycling bins and the option to pass on daily towel and bedding changes. One more tip: taking your soap and shampoos home ensure they are used instead of becoming waste.
9. DREAM GREEN In mid-2009, the world's first green island will open in the Out Islands of the Bahamas. Named Star Island (http://www.starislandbahamascom/) for Sustainable Terrain and Resources, this carbon neutral island will offer a boutique luxury resort operating on 100 percent clean energy derived from wind, solar and biofules. The island's restaurants, pools, spa, and boat marina will also be powered with clean energy and built to the highest standard of green-luxury design. When you return home, you can give back to a destination by donating to organizations like Travelers' Philanthropy (http://www.travelersphilanthropy.org/).