- May 24th 2012
Who’d have thought it? It’s now cool to be green. Not green like the colour green, but green in a metaphorical sense regarding your daily activities when it comes to being environmentally-friendly. If you revealed a concern for saving water and remaining ‘carbon neutral’ twenty years ago, chances are you’ll have been laughed at. But, now, with continued pressure from environmentalists and governments, being green and Earth-friendly has become the norm.
And that brings us to holidays. Everyone loves a good trip away, but if you want to be green then that does pose quite a big stumbling block. After all, taking a plane to Spain is going to leave a huge carbon-footprint, as is driving to Newquay in your petrol or diesel-powered car. So what can you do to be environmentally-friendly but still have a holiday to remember?
First off, you need to be realistic about your green-credentials. Yes, you want to be as responsible as possible, but it’s almost impossible to do have a holiday were you won’t leave at least a small carbon footprint, so bear that in mind. So, without further ado, here are five suggestions for a fun yet earth-friendly vacation.
A Local Vacation
Now, we know this doesn’t sound the most appealing of vacations. After all, the whole point is supposed to be that you get away from the daily grind, right, so who wants to stay in their country of origin? Well, fair enough, it might not be particularly exotic but, wherever you live, there’s a lot of fun stuff to do, especially if you’re willing to go off the beaten track. Buy or hire a nice efficient car (electric would be best!) and go exploring!
Ethiopia Highway Tour
Operating since 2006, Highway Tours in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia has been catering to the eco-conscious to a big fan-fare. While Ethiopia may not seem like the most obvious of choices for all holiday, it is one of the most beautiful and intriguing destinations for those who enjoy activities such as bird-watching and viewing historical monuments.
Couple that with the diverse culture and you’ve got yourself one hell of an interesting holiday that won’t put a big dent in your carbon conscience.
Hiking vacations have one particular green benefit: you can take them anywhere! The only limit is your imagination, so grab a pair of sturdy boots and head for the hills. Wherever you are, you can be guaranteed that there are some beautiful spots for a good hike, whether it’s hills, mountains, deserts or forests. Just be sure to clean up after yourself!
The UK’s Lake District
There’s plenty of places to explore and fun to be had in the Lake District. You don’t need to hit Lake Windermere to enjoy everything that this beautiful part of the country has to offer. Places like Grasmere have stunning views, fantastic pubs and, most importantly, lakes to have fun in. Carbon-free fun like kayaking and boating can be found all over the Lakes!
It’s just another option for those searching for a low-cost, low-emission holiday away.
One of the most famous hotels in the world is the Ice Hotel in Jukkasjärvi, Finland. Made entirely from ice, as its name might suggest, the Ice Hotel is probably the most environmentally-friendly hotel in the world thanks purely to its materials it is made from.
You can’t get any more natural than ice, so if you like your nipples to be tough enough to puncture through a diamond-glazed window then the Ice Hotel is the perfect place to rest your head at night.
If you’re thinking of vacationing in the UK, check out car hire in London, Manchester, Birmingham and more from Vroomvroomvroom.co.uk
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- October 12th 2011
The Caribbean is often a place of extremes and that was never more apparent to me than on my last trip to Jamaica. As we were driving out of Port Royal and heading for the hills, we passed through a bustling town with the usual Saturday morning market sounds and smells. It was busy and colorful – like what many tourists expect from a foreign market. At the same time, there were dozens of people dressed up to the nines as they went to church or did other business that called for a little more formality. Shops were crammed along the streets cheek by jowl, while vendors showed off their wares to every passer by. But once we’d left that area behind, the landscape changed.
The next part of our journey took us past one of the island’s top educational institutions on one side and Jamaica’s Beverly Hills on the other. Don’t scoff at the thought of Beverly Hills on a Caribbean island. These mountain top mansions were pretty impressive, sprawling over several acres, covering a few floors and looking as though they’d been recently painted. And let’s not forget the equally impressive satellite dishes to keep the occupants in touch with the world. I thought that they must have had a fabulous view of most of the island, though not all of it. Jamaica is so big that you can’t always see the sea, a rarity in the Caribbean.
In the Mountains
Climbing higher took us to the end of our journey and another quintessentially Jamaican experience. As we pulled into the John Crow Blue Mountains Holywell National Park, I felt a sense of coming home. I’ve always loved the mountains and now I was surrounded by them. Climbing more than 4,000 feet, the mountains are pretty impressive, and the park is a testament to how you can enjoy nature without defacing it. Wooden cottages and gazebos were set into different areas, accessible by short trails, so you could have privacy while enjoying nature. These were only partly accessible by car.
Once we reached our hut, I was able to sit on a mound and look out towards Kingston or back towards more mountains. it was a peaceful location, largely untroubled by the sound of transport, and with a refreshing breeze. The highlight for me was to be able to look across and see the clouds move past at eye level, seemingly close enough to touch. That’s something you just don’t see every day – and it’s why I’m sure I’ll be visiting Jamaica and the Blue Mountains again.
Flying to Jamaica? You can travel from JFK on United, JetBlue, American Airlines and others, including Air Jamaica. There are also direct flights from Miami and other US cities. Don’t forget you can park and fly with Park Ride Fly USA – check us out on Twitter and Facebook for coupons.
- July 14th 2011
Have you entered Recyclebank’s Green Your Vacation contest yet? The company offers rewards for going green in everyday life. There are a couple of weeks left to enter the contest to win some great prizes. Prizes include a 10 night cruise, a 5 day, 4 night stay at a luxury resort (Four Seasons Costa Rica), 10 grab bags of travel goodies (really good stuff!) and some gift cards and Recyclebank points. Read the rules and find out the details here and check out this video:
Recyclebank has provided some tips on greener vacations:
- Leave the extra pair of shoes at home: When packing your bags, consider scaling back and only packing the essentials. That extra pair of shoes will make the plane just a bit heavier, increase fuel consumption, and lead to increased greenhouse gas emissions. Multiply that pair of shoes by one thousand summer travelers, and we’ve just made a huge impact. Alaska Airlines actually found that they could save $10,000 per year in fuel costs just by removing five magazines per plane. Packing a lighter bag is better for your back, and for the fuel usage.
- Take the scenic route by train or bus: Sit back, relax and enjoy the view from a train or bus this summer vacation. Train and bus travel leads to fewer emissions per passenger than traveling alone in a car or by plane, and it is often cheaper! Per passenger mile carbon emissions by plane: 0.48 kg. By train: 0.21 kg. By bus: 0.056 kg. Reducing your environmental impact while on vacation: priceless. (Data on carbon emissions sourced from Amtrak and American Bus Association.)
- Bring a reusable water bottle: Did you know 86 percent of plastic water bottles in the U.S. are still NOT recycled? This year, instead of buying a case for your road trip, take a stainless steel, aluminum or bio-plastic reusable bottle; you never know when you will have easy access to a recycle bin on the road. Also, there is no need to toss your bottle before going through airport security—just empty it out and refill it inside!
- Rent your gear: Americans spend $289 billion on outdoor gear activities every year. Packaging, shipping and transporting the gear to your vacation destination all add up to a significant impact on the environment. Consider renting your surfboards and snorkeling gear instead of buying it this year. Rentals can be cheaper and better for the environment!
- Give your appliances a vacation: By turning off your hardworking, energy-sucking devices while you are gone, you will be helping your energy bill and the environment. Electronics with digital displays, instant-on features or remote controls consume energy even while not in use, so give them a rest! Remember to unplug TVs, cable boxes, DVD players, computers, printers, digital clocks, etc. when you leave home.
- March 16th 2011
A recent report on green airlines from carbon offset company Atmosfair shows that many airlines in the US get a C or worse when it comes to energy efficiency. The survey of 116 carriers revealed some unfamiliar names at the top of the list. On short haul flights, Delta Airlines came in at No. 40, closely followed by Continental (47) and United (57), giving them all a D. American Airlines was in 85th place, an E grade.
For medium haul flights, US Airways got a D, coming in 25th place, followed by Delta (29), United (43) and American (62, another E). For long haul, Alaska Airlines gets a C in third place and Delta a D (25).