Green your summertime getaways

Plan ahead to lessen your vacation’s carbon footprint

So you’ve worked hard all year long and are ready to take a well-deserved summer vacay. But before skipping off to some far-away locale, consider the ways to get a little rest and relaxation without taxing the environment.

Whether you’re sticking close to home or you’re headed halfway around the world, planning ahead will help you be kind to the Earth.

Here are some tips:

Back home: Before heading out, save energy by adjusting the thermostat on your water heater and air conditioning unit, and unplugging appliances such as the television and computer.

On the road: If you have to rent a car, save gas and money by choosing a hybrid or a compact model. And drive the speed limit or slower to save additional gas.

Conscious chow: When eating outdoors, use real dishware or choose eco-friendly products such as biodegradable plates, utensils and cups. If barbecuing, purchase sustainable charcoal, including petroleum-free brands made from invasive species.

Sleep sustainably: When booking a hotel, motel or other lodging, go with the places whose missions include conservation. To find eco-friendly accommodations, check in with the Green Hotels Association ( or Environmentally Friendly Hotels (

Reduce refuse: While traveling, avoid waste by carrying a refillable container for drinking water and packing your own toiletries rather then using a hotel’s mini-bottles of shampoo, conditioner, etc.