April 24th, 2012

Green Doesn’t Take a Vacation

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green vacation

In my everyday life I work hard to care for my little corner of the earth. I’m not perfect, but I try to make a difference. Whether it’s recycling, eating organic foods or supporting companies that share my views, I continue to plug along-taking baby steps towards making the world a better place.

Being green on vacation takes effort

I just landed from an incredible family vacation. Incredible in the sense that we just spent 10 days hanging out, eating well, watching the sun set and doing a whole lotta nothing-together.  What I noticed on this vacation is how easy it was to place most of my efforts to make the world a better place on hold.

Being green on vacation seems to be counter-intuitive. Vacation is for relaxing and letting go of all effort. So why does it take so much more of an effort to be green and make eco-friendly choices?

I think it comes down to being outside of our normal routine. Also, I’m relaxed and just plain lazy on vacation. Isn’t that a sign that the vacation is doing its job?

Now that I’m home I thought I would take a moment to reflect on my eco-errors and make a list of all the things I could have done to make this vacation, and all vacations, greener. I’m bringing this list with me next vacation!

How to have a green vacation

Bring reusable bags

There’s always enough room in the suitcase for a few reusable bags. We did a lot of grocery shopping this trip and it would have been nice to have my arsenal of reusable bags on hand.

Pack reusable water bottles

We all know that you can’t bring liquids through security. The solution is to pack a few empty reusable water bottles for the family. When you arrive at your destination fill them up and use them for the duration of the trip. Say goodbye to those plastic water bottles that are calling your name in every airport.

Conserve those towels and sheets

Many hotels have sheet and towel cards asking guests to consider not having sheets and towels changed every day. I don’t change my towels and sheets every day at home so why would I need that service on vacation? What a simple way to conserve water and energy.


Our room didn’t have any recycling options. It would have been simple to designate one of the garbage cans as a recycling bin to use throughout our stay. There were recycling bins on the grounds which could have been used to dump the recyclables from our room.

Bottom line: Vacation is a lot of fun, but we all have to work a little harder to keep it green.

Are you as green on vacation?

Photo courtesy of my groovy husband, Joel.


12 Responses to “Green Doesn’t Take a Vacation”

  1. I know exactly what you mean – it is SO hard to stay green on vacation – especially when you eat out. Hope you had a wonderful time!

  2. I’m off to Hawaii in less than two weeks. I don’t think anything I do there is going to offset the carbon from simply getting there and back, but we’ve rented a tiny cottage by the sea and plan to get all of our food from the Hilo farmers’ market, shower in rainwater, and in some ways live more simply than we do at home. Somehow, being on an island always makes me more conscious that there is no such thing as throwing something ‘away.’

  3. Here’s something interesting I saw at a Disney resort: paper straws instead of plastic, and a pleasantly effective paper cup for my coffee. But… plastic salad bowl dwarfing my cute paper straw. And grapes and carrot kiddie side dishes, wrapped in plastic! Ugh.

  4. I’ve been known to pack up recycling and bring it home with me from vacation. Crazy? Maybe. I just can’t bear to throw something away that could be recycled. I’m very particular about the water I drink, so when we go on vacation, I make sure to buy a huge jug of water to refill a reusable water bottle rather than buy a bunch of individual bottles. On a road trip it’s a little easier to bring along reusable items than when flying and your space is limited – this post has a few ideas for staying green/eliminate waste when taking a road trip with a baby: http://simplyparkers.blogspot.com/2011/08/hit-road.html

  5. It is hard to be green on vacation, but I agree the environment never gets a vacation. JP thinks I am a lithe “crazy” sometimes. I think it also depends where you go on vacation. If you vacation somewhere you drive it is so much easier to compost, recycle, and have all your containers, bags etc but if you was are flying it is much harder. I mean I couldn’t really bring my compost back with me on a plane, but I could find a large piece of grass and gorilla compost! I think this is where JP would draw the line! LOL 🙂

    Where did you go? I bet it was fun and so relaxing.

  6. Hi Stephanie, It really is hard to be green on vacation. Let me know if you gorilla compost on vacation. I think I would be sent home alone if I tried!

  7. Hi Elisabeth, I’m very impressed that you brought recycling home with you from vacation. I agree, traveling by car makes being green much simpler. Thanks for the link to your post. Some great tips in there!

  8. Hi Sarah, I don’t think I’ve ever seen a paper straw. Wouldn’t it disintegrate in the drink? Maybe it had a lining? Grapes and carrots are fantastic-why did they have to ruin it with plastic? Hope Disney was wonderful!

  9. Hi Jennifer, Hawaii! How exciting. I do think about Hawaii and how everything has to be brought in. I hope you blog about your shower in the rain 🙂 Have a fabulous trip.

  10. Thanks Micaela! It was a great trip even though it wasn’t so green.

  11. […] an entire week has gone by and vacation feels like it was months ago. Don’t you hate when that happens? At least the weekend is just […]

  12. […] HERE are a few ways to keep your travel green. […]

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About Lori

Hi! I’m Lori, a recovering attorney, writer, and mom to three boys. Join me as I uncover and share the latest info on healthy living. Learn more.

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