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Money-saving Travel Tips!

Updated on October 12, 2016
Marcy Goodfleisch profile image

Marcy loves to share her wandering adventures, including her home state of Texas, and the many places she's traveled.

Eco-Vacations are Fun, Affordable and Earth-Friendly

Take your Green Awareness with you on your next trip
Take your Green Awareness with you on your next trip | Source

Save money by going Green when you travel

If you care about the planet, you don't have to leave those cares at home when you travel. With just a bit of research and planning, you can be as eco-friendly on vacation as you are at home.

Many airline carriers, resorts, hotels and various destinations now pride themselves on being environmentally conscious and leaving a smaller carbon footprint than in the past. The days of wasteful use of resources by big-name travel industries have faded, which is good news for the environment.

Eco-travel makes good sense for Earth-conscious travelers, and it's a sound business decision as well for airlines, hotels and businesses.

Showing concern for the environment allows a business to promote itself as Green.

Here are some tips for planning a Green vacation or business trip:

Avoid Peak Travel Times

Peak travel times cost more money, but also create more harm to the environment due to the increase of pollutants from travel delays.
Peak travel times cost more money, but also create more harm to the environment due to the increase of pollutants from travel delays. | Source

How to Plan the Timing of Your Vacation

One way to save money as well as the environment when you travel is to avoid peak travel times.

It's no secret that ticket prices are higher during peak times, such as popular holidays, certain days of the week or trips to destinations during the high season or special events. The reasons rates are high are multiple. Yes, airlines and other carriers know the demand is high and they can hike the rates. But staffing needs go up during those times, and often fuel costs increase as well.

How do you help the environment by avoiding peak times? There are far more delays during peak travel periods, and those delays cause additional idling time on roadways, runways and other places when engines run in place. You can avoid adding to that waste by timing your trips to avoid those traffic jams.

Does Your Airline Conserve Fuel and Protect the Environment?

Improved aerodynamic engineering helps reduce fuel consumption
Improved aerodynamic engineering helps reduce fuel consumption | Source

Green Air Travel

Yes, even ginormous jets can be engineered and managed to fly Greener in the wide blue yonder. Several airlines have taken steps in recent years to reduce fuel consumption (which also lowers harmful emissions).

Continental Airlines' staff of environmentalists have helped the company Go Greener in everything from its terminals to its fleet of aircraft. The financial investment is huge (greater than $16 billion) but when you buy fuel in mega-quantities and transport millions of passengers a year, the investment can lower the bottom line as well as the impact on the environment.

Among Continental's innovations to its fleet are the installation of winglets (small air baffles on the tips of wings) to help aircraft fly more efficiently. The company also works to avoid polluting landfills by recycling what would otherwise be toxic waste. The company merged with United Airlines (becoming United Continental Holdings) a few years ago, creating an even broader opportunity to support the environment through eco-efforts.

Southwest Airlines, known for its early adaption of ticketless flying, has had a Green approach for years and now enjoys a Blue Skyways partnership with the Environmental Protection Agency. The airline saves nearly 300 pounds of CO2 emissions for each million of flights through efforts such as its advanced avionics engineering, installing winglets and recycling oil products.

Even non-travelers are benefit from Southwest's environmentally aware programs; the company works to reduce noise pollution, which greatly enhances the quality of life for people as well as wildlife living near flight paths.

Other airlines are also becoming more environmentally friendly; Virgin Atlantic and Jet Blue are among those that have reduced CO2 emissions in their fleets. Other steps, such as reducing the size of paper tickets and the time a jet spends idling on tarmacs (Jet Blue initiatives) and helping to offset carbon in Third-World countries such as India (a Virgin Atlantic program) are making a difference as well.

These are just a few of the things carriers are doing to make your vacation a Green experience.

Planes can be engineered to save more fuel

Various adaptions on wings help conserve energy and improve efficiency
Various adaptions on wings help conserve energy and improve efficiency | Source

More Tips for Going Green When Making Airline Reservations

Did you know you can even make a Greener choice when you book your flight reservation?

Pay attention to the type and age of the aircraft you'll be flying on; older models have fewer of the modern features that save fuel and reduce pollution (such as the use of lighter-weight metals, engineering features that save fuel, and more efficient emission systems).

Some airlines are so new that they boast an entire fleet of state-of-the-art aircraft. These airlines may not fly the routes you plan to take for various excursions, but if you can book seats on those flights that are going your direction, you'll be comforted to know you're traveling about as Green as you can get.

Most ticketing sites list the type of aircraft used on routes, so it's fairly easy to cross-reference a model and learn how it's designed.

Pack the minimum, and pack lighter-weight items rather than heavy ones

Streamline your packing to avoid extra weight, which increases fuel consumption
Streamline your packing to avoid extra weight, which increases fuel consumption | Source

Packing a Light Suitcase Saves the Environment When You Travel

Do you really need that amazingly heavy load of bath lotions and shampoos? What about the three extra pairs of shoes you are absolutely sure you can't live without?

Unless you're a fashion model going on a major shoot, or you're going to need a 12-month wardrobe, you probably don't need half the things you've set aside to pack.

Every extra pound of luggage adds to the weight the aircraft has to lift and transport. Multiply even 10 pounds of luggage by several hundred passengers during a 1,000-mile flight and you can see the impact on fuel consumption.

Worse yet, if you buy even one souvenir mug or figurine, your luggage will be even heavier on the return trip (not to mention the extra pounds you might be carrying from all that good food you ate - but we won't talk about that here). Here are some tips for packing:

  • Plan to offset the weight of souvenirs and other purchases you might make by not bringing back everything you took with you. Are you bringing a few paperbacks to read? Consider recycling them at the hotel or resort for others to enjoy.
  • Are you going to muck about in a remote area? Maybe you can pack older shoes and clothes that you can leave behind when you depart. Often, especially in areas with depressed economies, left-behind clothing and shoes are greatly valued by those who find them in your room or on the recycle shelves some Green resorts provide.
  • Carry small containers of consumables rather than entire, full-size bottles. If you save hotel shampoo bottles, they're perfect for trips and can be left behind with less guilt (although they might be considered a waste product). You can also refill the bottles for several uses.
  • Most hotels now have blow-dryers, so resist the temptation to pack that heavy and bulky device. And, hotels often provide courtesy computers; do you really need your laptop this week?

What do you think?

Do you try to Go Green when you travel?

See results

How to Pick a Green Travel Destination

Check to make certain your hotel or resort protects the environment through smoke-free policies, recycling and water-wise landscaping.

Some destinations are completely Green in every way - Maho Bay Campgrounds on St. John in the U.S. Virgin Islands was built to be environmentally sound and to have little impact on the fragile environment that hosts the resort. Visitors can stay in tent cabins (served by external bathhouses) or in condo-like units that have their own amenities. Either way, you can enjoy a stay in a tropical paradise with full knowledge that you haven't harmed the eco-system.

Several other Eco-resorts are available in exotic places such as Kenya, Honduras, Bali and Jamaica, to name a few. All are known for placing a priority on the environment while at the same time offering an amazing travel adventure.

The Marriott chain was one of the first to enact no-smoking rules across all its properties. The chain also offers Green choices for conventions and business meetings by including recycle bins in conference areas and offering recycled paper pads and pens. Many other hotel chains have similarly created Eco-friendly options for guests or business travelers.

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