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10 Earth Day Travel Tips
Posted By Wendy Worrall Redal On April 21, 2011 @ 9:42 am In Eco Travel, Green Living | 7 Comments
When it’s time to leave home, consider the planet as you make your plans. These simple practices take little effort but can make a big impact on the environment — not just for Earth Day , but every day.
Unplug your electronic appliances when you leave home for an extended time, especially those with digital or LCD displays such as TVs or microwaves — these suck a lot of power  whether they are switched on or not. The Department of Energy estimates that so-called “vampire” or “phantom” energy waste  accounts for 5 percent of total electronic energy consumption in the United States. You should also make sure your thermostat is turned down or off , and reduce the setting on your water heater.
Planes use the greatest amount of fuel during takeoffs and landings, so choosing a non-stop flight can help reduce the amount of carbon your trip adds to the atmosphere. There are benefits for you, too: By avoiding transfers, you’ll get to your destination faster and you’re less likely to lose luggage.
Not only will you save money on checked baggage fees, but you’ll burn less CO2 when you fly if you leave the extra outfits and sundries at home . The heavier the plane’s load, the more fuel it requires to take off and reach its destination.
Stay hydrated on your flight and avoid wasting multiple rounds of plastic cups by bringing your own H2O along. Keep your reusable water bottle  with you as you travel to avoid buying costly and wasteful bottled water. Just remember to fill up after you go through security!
“Carpool” by taking a shuttle from the airport to your destination, rather than a taxi. Ride the bus or train instead of renting a car, if you can. And walk as much as possible  — it can be the fastest way to get around in big cities like New York and London.
If you do need to rent a car, choose a fuel-thrifty compact or a hybrid, which are available in increasing numbers  through many major rental companies. You can also choose to offset your rental car’s CO2 output by opting to pay a small fee: For just $1.25 per rental, Alamo, Enterprise and National pay TerraPass  to offset the average rental’s carbon emissions.
More and more hotels  are cleaning up their eco-acts . It’s easy to find those that embrace environmentally conscious practices on a variety of websites. Look for LEED-certified properties (the U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design). LEED evaluates hotels for sustainable site development, water savings, energy efficiency, materials selection and indoor environmental quality to ensure a whole-building approach to sustainability.
Shouldn’t this be a no-brainer? You do it at home, so be just as conscious when you’re traveling. Even though you’re not paying the hotel’s electric bill, you’re still adding to your carbon footprint. Ditto for not leaving the heat or AC on when you go out, or wasting water when you shower.
It’s sometimes difficult to tell whether that memento for sale in a shop or market may have come from an endangered species : handbags made from reptile skins, jewelry from marine turtle shells or carvings from elephant ivory. The smartest approach is simply not to buy objects made from exotic wildlife. Many animals are threatened by illegal trade , according to the International Fund for Animal Welfare.
“Voluntourism” lets you take a vacation and serve the planet  at the same time. Drink in incredible scenery while you build and maintain trails  with The American Hiking Society. Band penguins in Antarctica or map water supplies in drought-stricken Kenya  with the Earthwatch Institute. Focus on helping people in need  through GlobeAware’s Adventures in Service. The opportunities are truly unlimited!
Article printed from Gaiam Blog: http://blog.gaiam.com
URL to article: http://blog.gaiam.com/10-earth-day-travel-tips/
URLs in this post:
 Image: http://blog.gaiam.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/04/EarthDayTravel.jpg
 Earth Day: http://blog.gaiam.com/blog/happy-birthday-earth-day/
 power: http://www.gaiam.com/product/smart+power+strip.do?SID=WG107SPRTAPEMACS
 “vampire” or “phantom” energy waste: http://life.gaiam.com/gaiam/p/Phantom-Energy-Wasters.html
 make sure your thermostat is turned down or off: http://life.gaiam.com/article/how-program-digital-thermostat-slash-utility-bills
 leave the extra outfits and sundries at home: http://blog.gaiam.com/blog/lighten-your-load-8-tips-to-pack-light-for-holiday-travel/
 reusable water bottle: http://www.gaiam.com/category/fitness-center/water-bottles.do?SID=WG117SPRTAPEMACS&extcmp=life_prod
 walk as much as possible: http://life.gaiam.com/gaiam/p/StepbyStep-Guide-to-Dynamic-Walking.html
 available in increasing numbers: http://blog.gaiam.com/blog/green-rental-cars-becoming-an-easier-choice/
 TerraPass: http://www.terrapass.com/
 More and more hotels: http://www.travelagentcentral.com/green-travel/greening-hotels
 cleaning up their eco-acts: http://blog.gaiam.com/blog/resolved-for-2009-stay-in-%E2%80%98green%E2%80%99-hotels/
 endangered species: http://blog.gaiam.com/blog/how-far-should-we-go-to-rescue-at-risk-species/
 threatened by illegal trade: http://www.ifaw.org/ifaw_international/join_campaigns/fight_illegal_wildlife_trade/index.php
 take a vacation and serve the planet: http://life.gaiam.com/gaiam/p/How-to-Give-Back-with-a-Volunteer-Vacation.html
 build and maintain trails: http://www.ajc.com/travel/take-a-vacation-and-381149.html
 Band penguins in Antarctica or map water supplies in drought-stricken Kenya: http://www.earthwatch.org/expedition/volunteering/
 helping people in need: http://www.globeaware.org/voluntourism-travel-purpose
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