Traveling Green

About the author:  Lina Younes has been working for EPA since 2002 and chairs EPA’s Multilingual Communications Task Force.  Prior to joining EPA, she was the Washington bureau chief for two Puerto Rican newspapers and she has worked for several government agencies.

As the first droves of tourists arrive in the Washington, DC area, some of us are starting to make family vacation plans for the year. Many people are interested in “going local,” not only to cut travel costs but to reduce their carbon footprint as well. The Washington area offers many nearby vacationing opportunities where you can get away from it all while protecting the environment.

Increasingly, there are more vacation spots that are going green. Whether these sites emphasize nature trails and the great outdoors, you can select hotels and destinations that are truly green. In fact, there are numerous websites that rate environmentally friendly hotels in the US and worldwide.

Watersense label - meets EPA criteriaWhen we’re talking about green vacations, green practices goes beyond just using your towels and sheets for two or three days in a row or even turning off the lights and TV while you’re not in the room. These are good tips that apply whenever you’re traveling either for business or pleasure. Notwithstanding, a green hotel, for example, will use environmentally friendly practices such as water efficient fixtures and practices, energy efficient lighting and equipment, integrated pest management practices, to name a few.

Furthermore, you can explore other ways to reduce your carbon footprint while on vacation such as using public transportation or walking to the different sites whenever possible. So, as you start discussing your vacation plans with your family, take a moment or two to factor in some green options. Have a safe journey. Bon voyage!