Green Tip 10 - An Eco-friendly Vacation

Hocking Hills, OH –

This week we are going on our family vacation, so I thought it fitting to share what we will do to tread as lightly on the earth as possible while we are away.

My business happens to be a Green Lodging business, so before going into detail, I will share with you some of my very basic expectations for a truly environmentally friendly lodging experience. First and foremost, the facility must recycle this is just very basic. Secondly, I expect recycled toilet paper, all natural/bio-degradable toiletry items and cleaning/laundry products and some CFLs. Having durable and reusable, environmentally friendly, materials such as glass and stainless steel instead of plastic for kitchenware is important. Having low-flow water fixtures (most newer facilities do) is another and not having the sheets changed every day is a must. Throw in the absence of chemicals used for pesticides and pest control and we're doing pretty well. Now, of course, there is so much more that I do in my business and, in the back of my mind, expect from a lodging facility, but realistically I know that green lodging is really just on the upswing. It will take some time for even my basic expectations to be met. With this in mind, my family will do everything possible to maintain our eco-friendly and healthy lifestyle while we are away.

For our 9 or so hour car trip we will have the following items:

1. 25 year old thermos for our coffee the entire trip
2. 2 Santa Cruz 32 ounce glass jugs filled with filtered water and ice cubes
3. 4 reusable water bottles that will be filled with water and used on each outing
4. picnic lunch stored in reusable containers (these containers will hold our snacks for our daily outings as well)

Some of the items we will bring along for use the entire stay are:

1. Brita Pitcher for filtered water for drinking, cooking and to fill up our reusable water bottles daily
2. An all-natural (non DEET) insect repellant made with oils of Citronella, Peppermint, Cedar, Lemongrass and Geranium
3. Organic, hypoallergenic sunscreens. Two of the brands that we use are Aubrey Organic and Alba. They smell great and work wonderfully.
4. Arniflora (Arnica Gel), an all natural gel for pain, swelling and stiffness (perfect for overtired/overused muscles, bumps and bruises)

The lodging facility where we are booked to stay happens to recycle, but if it didn't, we would recycle while there, compact the items and cart them home. One thing we always request in our unit is a full kitchen so that we can continue to prepare most of our healthy meals. Yes, when traveling by car, we actually grocery shop before our trip and bring most food with us for a few reasons. First, we have wheat and dairly intollerances. Bringing our own food guarantees healthy eating. Additonally, not only do you have more of your vacation time relaxing since you don't have to run to the store, but you are guaranteed having organic food at the price you expect. For example, one time we went skiing in a remote area. Thank goodness we brought our own groceries, as there was no grocery store within 50 or more miles. This mountaintop only offered a tiny market with super elevated prices and eating out (costly and not always the healthiest option).

Above I mention some of the things to expect and bring for green travel. One of the most important things for a truly earth friendly vacation is to immerse yourself in the natural areas of the region as much as possible. We plan on climbing dunes, swimming the lakes, canoeing rivers, and hiking Nature Preserves. For these adventures we are bringing our binoculars, telescope and bird/tree/constellation identification guides. Exposure to and immersion in nature is truly the best way to understand natural systems and the environment, to appreciate, value and to ultimately care for and treasure it.

Byline Bio: Gwen Corbett, Owner of Bear's Den Cottages, Green Lodging
Helping Individuals and Businesses to Go Green