Eco-Friendly Vacation Options: How Rental Cars, Hotels and Airlines are Going Green


Green living is becoming more popular, and the notion of an eco-friendly lifestyle is starting to extend outside the home. Travelers want to reduce their carbon footprint, too, and the good news is that the idea of a green vacation isn’t a far-fetched concept any more. For example, airplanes are now designed to include fuel-efficient engines, and they aren’t as bulky as they used to be, which helps cut back on the amount of fuel they use. In addition, green hotels are popping up across the country, and hybrid and electric vehicles are more readily available to rent than they used to be.

Why the change?

Hotels, airlines and rental companies are embracing the green movement because it makes sense financially. For example, hotels receive a lot of business from associations that hold conferences and other events on their grounds. A number of these groups will not meet at a hotel if it doesn’t engage in eco-friendly practices. A recent survey indicated that these associations are not alone, either; more than 55 percent of respondents stated that they travel with the environment in mind.

Driving green

If you need to rent a car while on vacation, inquire about hybrid or electric options. More companies are offering these vehicles to their customers, including Enterprise and Avis Budget, both of which have around 5,000 eco-friendly cars in their line-up. Hertz is getting in the game as well, planning to update their fleet with green cars and offering a car-sharing service. Depending on what area you are traveling in, you may also be able to locate a company that only rents out electric and hybrid vehicles.

Flying green

In addition to making their customers happy, airlines are choosing a greener path because it cuts down on their costs, often by as much as 30 percent. In the past 12 years, better fuel efficiency has allowed airlines to save more than 30 billion dollars in fuel and dramatically cut back on the amount of greenhouse gases their planes release. Many airlines are also investigating fuel alternatives like biodiesel, which isn’t as harsh on the engines and is “cleaner” than traditional fuel options.

Sleeping green

Only five years ago, the number of LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certified hotels added up to less than twenty facilities. In a short period of time, that number has risen to nearly 200. Hotels are putting in low-flow toilets and shower heads to save money, as well as using fluorescent bulbs and motion sensors to help cut back on their energy usage. Some even have key cards that interact with the lighting system. While LEED hotels aren’t available everywhere yet, it is worth the extra effort to see if you can find one at your destination.

More people are becoming comfortable with green living, doing everything from eating local produce to seeking out the best eco-friendly pest control Sacramento has to offer. The concept of taking a green vacation, however, is a little more unfamiliar. Still, with a bit of effort, you can fly, drive and sleep green at many popular tourist destinations.

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