32 green travel tips for next mountain vacation

green travel tips, eco-friendly travel tips, conscious traveling to the mountains

Going green (and by extension traveling green). It's the big thing these days and with good reason too. If we don't take care of the planet then where are we going to spend our vacations? Where are we going to go mountain biking, kayaking, running, camping, hiking, and skiing? Here at Vacation Roost not only are we big fans of recycling, but we are also big fans of green travel. To aid in our quest to not only give you the best vacation rentals around, but to make sure the earth is around to enjoy them, we have compiled a huge list of green travel tips. We hope you will enjoy our green travel tips, and if you have some of your own you'd like to share PLEASE put them in the comments below.

Be a conscious mountain traveler with these tips

  1. Avoid the peak – Just because you're visiting doesn't mean everyone else is too. Locals work, play, and live there and as such they have rush hour just like you do. Avoid sitting in traffic and plan activities around the local traffic patterns. Leave the 5 mph freeway commute to the people who need to suffer through it.
  2. Plan ahead – Before you head out on your next adventure, do some planning. Spend an hour or two looking up shuttles, buses, mass transit systems, bike rentals, walking routes, etc. The more you can plan ahead the more you'll save in time, money, and waste.
  3. Stock up on farmer approved travel snacks – Instead of stocking up on mass-produced travel snacks packaged in lots of plastic, head to the local farmers market (if they have one) and grab some locally grown snacks for your stay. The food travels shorter distances so there's less pollution involved, and the snacks you'll get there are healthier too.
  4. Terminal waste – Ever notice that most food and beverages in airports come in "to go" containers with disposable plates, cups, and cutlery? Well if you can avoid eating in places that use those types of items then do so. It's the same thing as number one but easily forgotten because often convenience takes over in these kinds of places.
  5. Try use a glass water bottle – Plastic water bottles can not only contain BPA, but the manufacturing process for plastic water bottles creates a lot of pollution and waste.
  6. Use rechargeable batteries – Some hiking trails that are known for their vast beauty are now also being known for their trail of discarded batteries. Going someplace without outlets? Get a solar charger. Many fold down to incredibly small sizes and are light weight.
  7. Don't fly, if you can help it – Pound for pound planes put out more pollution than the biggest baddest (and even ugliest) SUVs around. Now it's true that you can't always avoid flying and unless it's a road trip, who really wants to spend 95% of their trip in a car? All we're saying is, if flying can be avoided...avoid it.
  8. If you fly, fly nonstop – Not only does it save you some time, but if you're able to fly nonstop you're leaving less of a carbon foot print for your travels. It's not always possible, but when it is, do yourself and the environment a favor and fly nonstop. It's worth the extra $30.
  9. Patronize airlines with agendas – Many airlines are starting to get in line with green ideals as much as they can. For example, Southwest recycles all cabin waste and British Airways have an incredibly strong and ever growing environmental agenda. Airlines such as these are starting to do everything they can to lessen the impact they have on the environment, but they can't do it without your help.
  10. Go electric – Avoid as much waste as possible by using electronic ticketing. Printing at home creates more waste than using the electric systems in place at most airports.
  11. Try to avoid renting a car or at least get a hybrid – Not only does passing on the car rental save you some green, but it helps you be a little more green. Rent bikes and see the natural beauty of your destination while getting some exercise instead, or get to know the locals on their public transportation. Again, it's not always possible to avoid, but if you have to rent a car, keep in mind that most rental agencies now have hybrids for rent.
  12. Check out conservation vacations – Instead of just going somewhere to see the sights you can now volunteer to help keep them beautiful. While there are some "official" conservation vacation groups all you really need to plan your own is look up conservation groups in your destination of choice and set a date to volunteer.
  13. Pack lightly – It doesn't matter if you're flying or driving. The lighter you pack, the smaller amount of fuel will be used to reach your destination. So pack smart, pack light, and only take what's necessary.
  14. Keep your accommodations at room temperature – Either turn up the temp on the air conditioner or turn down the thermostat in your room. Just because you're on vacation and it's not your electric/gas bill doesn't mean you should be wasteful. Put the room at a comfortable temperature and always adjust the thermostat up or down a little more when leaving your room for the day.
  15. Unplug your home – When leaving on a vacation unplug everything in your house that absolutely doesn't need to be plugged in. You won't be using it and even when turned off, plugged in appliances draw current. Also, set your thermostat at the highest or lowest safe setting so you're not using any more energy than absolutely necessary when you're gone.
  16. Eat and shop locally – Before arriving at your destination do some research and find stores and restaurants that take advantage of locally grown and manufactured products. When something is locally produced it takes less energy and less fuel to get it to the stores and into your hands, so be a good guest and help the locals keep their home nice and put some green in their pockets while you're at it.
  17. Refuse cleaning service – Unless it's absolutely necessary, don't get new towels and sheets everyday. Hang up your towels to dry, and make your own bed. Doing this will save both energy and water.
  18. Use the proper bins – If your lodging has recycling bins, use them. Even if they're in the lobby, take an extra minute on your way out to put your waste into the proper places. It only takes a few extra seconds, but makes a big difference in the long run.
  19. Don't use more than you need – If you don't use the soap, shampoo, lotion, etc. that the lodging provides then don't take them when you go. Leave them for the next guest who might use them. Also, don't get more ice than you actually need from the ice machine. Get enough to satisfy your needs and call it a night.
  20. Bring a night-light – Night lights are very inexpensive and utilize very little power. This is a much better option for nocturnal illumination.
  21. Encourage eco-friendly lodging practices – Did you choose your lodging because of their ecological policies? If so, then let them know that their efforts paid off. Even if you didn't know about the policies till you got there, if you were impressed, let them know. Knowing it makes a difference to their clientele will encourage the company to continue making strides in making their lodging more green.
  22. Offset your carbon – Before or after your trip you can purchase carbon credits to offset what you put out by flying. The money you spend here goes to help with initiatives that are changing the planet for the better.
  23. Pass on the newspaper – If your lodging has a complimentary daily paper and you're not the newspaper kind of person then pass on it. Let the front desk know you don't need a copy of the paper.
  24. Take only what you need – If you're looking at the resource of maps, travel guides and tourist brochures that are available in booths around a city only take the ones you will absolutely need. Even better, if you have a smart phone you can bookmark the website associated with your desired location so you can reference it at will and not walk around looking like a tourist with a back pocket full of travel guides.
  25. Stay on the trail – When you're on a hiking or walking trail stay on it. Don't go playing Louis and Clark and start blazing your own trail off into the wilderness. Stay on the designated trails and remember to pack out what you pack in.
  26. Tour with a conscience – If you're taking a guided tour when at your destination look for tour groups that are environmentally conscious. Look to see if they have an environmental plan on their website. You can also look for tour groups that only allow small groups at a time (small groups = less impact), employ locals only, or gives back to their community in some way.
  27. Go paper free – Many travel guides, travel books, etc. are available online and can be viewed on your laptop or eReader of choice. This makes it much easier to take multiple guides with you and not waste any paper on printing books.
  28. Buy gently used – Do you really need to buy a brand new backpack for your next trip? Check out your local second-hand stores/gently used sporting goods stores first to see if they have what you need. Even better, do some pre-trip research and see if your mountain destination has second-hand stores. If they do, then you've gone a bit more green while saving a bit of green.
  29. Sustainable souvenirs – Look for things that are locally produced and not made in China (unless you're visiting China). Buy them from shops that are locally owned, and not part of some kind of chain. Keep it small, and get something that the region or country you're in is known for.
  30. Bring your own re-usable grocery bag – If you don't have any reusable cloth shopping bags then go get some and take them with you. Use them to store dirty laundry in, take them souvenir shopping, take them with you to replace anytime you would use a plastic bag.
  31. Say no to take out – This also applies to delivery and most types of room service. You are visiting a new location so why spend your time in your room? Go out and enjoy a local restaurant and stay there. Take out, delivery, and sometimes room service comes to you wrapped in all kinds of disposable containers. These containers are waste and the more you avoid them the better off we all are. Some people are extra hardcore and bring their own containers to take leftovers home in, and that's always a viable, low-impact option. Additionally, if you're taking home leftovers don't take any more condiments than you will need to enjoy your meal.
  32. Don't feed local wildlife – Seriously... don't do it... don't. When you feed animals it changes their natural feeding habits and thus changes their natural behavior—not to mention that what you see as a snack, could be poison to the animals. Just look at chocolate and dogs for that example.