Monday, April 1, 2013

How Green is Your Vacation?

The Climate Crusader is about to fly off for a family vacation, and she's experiencing eco-guilt.

It's Spring Break right now in the Vancouver area, and my family is taking advantage of it by planning a trip to Disneyland. My eight-year-old and four-year-old are beyond excited. As for me, my feelings change by the minute, ranging from excitement to terror and everywhere in between. And somewhere in the mix there, I'm also feeling a healthy helping of enviro-guilt.

Carbon Emissions

I entered my flight details into an emissions calculator, and it told me that I'm producing some 0.27 tonnes of carbon dioxide - or 0.54 tonnes round-trip. This is about the same amount as I produce in six months of driving my car around town. And I haven't even calculated the cost of the convenience food I will likely consume, the souvenirs we'll buy the kids, and the general overhead that I'm sure it takes to run a place like Disneyland. When it comes to getting away from it all, a family trip on an airplane to a large amusement park isn't exactly the greenest choice.

I'm not trying to beat myself up. This is a rare treat for my family. This is the first plane trip for my son, and only the second for my daughter. Most of our vacations are close to home, within easy driving distance of our home. We're also big fans of the staycation. I'm determined to enjoy this trip. But I'm also hoping to reduce the environmental impact a little.

Baby Steps for a Greener Vacation

Here are a few steps I'm taking for a greener vacation:
  1. We'll all be carrying reusable water bottles, which we'll refill from the tap. By doing this, we can avoid the environmental impact that comes with buying water in plastic bottles.
  2. I will re-use towels in the hotel. You know how they usually have that card that says a towel on the floor or in the tub will be washed, while a towel on the rack will be left for reuse? I hang my towels.
  3. Our hotel is within walking distance of Disneyland, and we won't be going anywhere else. Once we get to our destination, we won't be doing any more driving.
  4. We'll be looking for snack and meal options with minimal packaging. I'm not going to promise that there won't be plastic wrapping and the like - that would be unrealistic. But I will do my best to minimize it.
They're small steps, but if every little bit counts, then I'm trying to do my part. I could use some more tips, though.  How do you green your vacation?


Christy said...

Great minds think alike! This is exactly the green guilt I experienced while I was away this spring break. We brought all our stainless steel water bottles but I'm sad to report that we hated the taste of the tap water and bought bottled water. I'm not proud of that.

Theresa said...

If we rent a place with a washing machine/kitchen, we'll bring cloth diapers with us and cook meals at the house. I also try to bring a homemade freezer meal to lessen my prep time so I can spend more time with the fam. We also travel with a few reusable bags for grocery shopping. As far as souvenirs, I've purchased fewer of the more junky things over the years and looked for edible treats that are unique to the vacation spot to share with friends and family when we return. Enjoy your vacay, and continue the fight when you come home :)


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