Friday, May 17, 2013

5 Ways to be Green on Vacation

By Susan Wilson, MBA

Lucky us, we’re back from our vacation to Anaheim and Los Angeles for a late spring break.  We invested in a time share (bought it years ago, lesson learned), so we exchanged to a suite in Anaheim for a $150 fee.  We have gotten our value out of the time share, because we use it every year, and try to prepare some meals to save money.  Here’s what we did to make it a green vacation:

1.       Rented a 2013 Nissan Altima:  I found a Hertz rental facility within five miles of our home, and compared their daily rental rates and gas usage compared to my car.  I had already researched that my car costs .46 per mile.  The Nissan was estimated to cost .38  per mile.  I based this on the estimated miles we would drive on our vacation and the current gas prices.  Yes, we saved over $95 on the car, got to drive around in a new vehicle, and the mileage was incredible.  We filled up the day before we left LA while out doing some sightseeing.  The next day we drove all the way home without filling up, and returned it to the rental store empty and they refilled it at a guaranteed low price.  We only had to put gas in that car two times the entire trip!  Almost 1,500 miles – that was a green decision.

2.       I brought reusable grocery bags from home.  We packed some snacks in them to eat on the way, and we used them for souvenir shopping as well as for groceries.  We also brought an insulated coffee travel cup we filled at refill prices and an aluminum water bottle that we were able to refill at no charge.
3.       Even with staying in a hotel room, we recycled our bottles and cans; the hotel  had a recycle bin for the complimentary newspapers and other paper products we used. Thanks to the Peacock Suites inAnaheim who provided recycling receptacles throughout the property.

4.       Use public transportation when possible – we took the local transit bus to visit local attractions.  We saved on parking fees, the hassle of locating our car, and we had to travel light with only what we could carry.  Always better for long days with lots of walking.  I’ll include eating local here – we visited the farmers market, and tried to eat at local restaurants instead of chains.

5.       We visited three parks during our stay, and planned our itinerary via Google maps before we started each day of adventuring to take the most economical route.  Local parks keep us active, and are fun for people watching without using any fuel.  We packed food we prepared at the hotel, and brought cold drinks and hats to protect us from the sun. 

Knowing how to be green and saving money made the vacation even more fun.  Of course, paying for everything in cash helped, too.  How can you make your next vacation greener?