3 Key Tips for Green and Energy Efficient Holiday Travel

By John Rose, December 18, 2014, Events & Fun, Green

shutterstock_162282152One of the fun questions circulating around Facebook asks which “super power” you would choose. With friends and family spread out across 5 continents, the ability to teleport is certainly an appealing option for my family. In reality, visiting friends and family takes time, money, and resources, all of which have their respective costs. Assuming an abundance of the first two, and a green-minded worldview, how can we make the most of travel while keeping an eye toward all things eco-friendly? Without teleportation, it may seem a bit daunting to pair environmentalism with a visit to Aunt Sally on the other side of the country, but it can be easier than you think with these 3 tips.

1) Reduce Your Emissions

How you get to where you’re going plays a huge part in how eco-friendly you are when you travel. Whether it’s a plane, a train, or an automobile, there are ways to minimize your impact while maximizing your fun. When possible, choose vehicle options that run on natural gas, as they produce fewer emissions. You could also decide to carpool with friends headed in a similar direction. Additionally, if you’re all piling into the family car, make sure your tires are properly inflated and that your car is in good working order to gain that extra edge when it comes to maximizing your miles-per-gallon.

shutterstock_94194850Finally, when mulling over your plans, consider taking a train. While a train takes a little longer than most road trips, it’s a great and carefree way to travel that is far more efficient than automobiles – and you get to see all that lovely countryside.

2) Reduce Your Food Costs

Consider how and where you eat when traveling. When you’re at home, it’s easy to abide by green ideals when it comes to your favorite grub, but when you’re away, an eco-friendly food mindset typically goes out the window. When possible, bring along those foods and snacks that you know will feed your conscience, and when you arrive, try to buy the same. By shopping at establishments that support farm to fork, not only will you maintain your green card, you’ll also experience what a new locale has to offer (unlike a chain restaurant where the menu remains stagnant from Portland, Oregon to Portland, Maine). While you’re away, don’t forget to recycle!

Honeywell EconoSwitch 7-Day Programmable Timer image courtesy of Home Depot.

Honeywell EconoSwitch 7-Day Programmable Timer image courtesy of Home Depot.

3) Reduce Your Usage

Lastly, what about your abode while you’re gone? I’m one for safety and security, so long ago in my wasteful youth I’d leave some lights on 24/7 for a week at a time while I was gallivanting across our great nation. Not only was this a poor decision from a financial standpoint, I really owe Mother Nature some penance for my wasteful carbon emissions. In order to feel great about the safety and comfort of your home while you’re away, let a little technology take the place of an always-on light bulb.

On the low-tech end, you can use some old fashioned timers, some of which now provide a variety of options to help with home security. For a high-tech solution, employ smart home features that let you manage your lighting, check in on your castle via web enabled cameras, monitor your security, and adjust your thermostat to ensure maximum energy efficiency while not missing a beat when it comes to protecting your home.

Traveling can be a hoot, especially when it involves visiting loved ones over the holidays, and with a little extra planning, it can be as green as it is fun!

Happy Holidays!

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