I don’t usually take a big vacation in the summer. Sure, I’ll fly up north to visit my family for a long weekend and I may take a girls trip to a nearby town, but I save my big annual trip for the fall when most of the tourists, and the often unbearable heat, are gone.
But here in the US, we spend a lot of time, money and energy on vacation. Domestic and international travelers spent $650 billion last year in this country alone, and that’s just on leisure trips, not business ones.
So, if you’re taking your vacation at the end of summer or, like me, in the fall, here are three ways that you can reduce the toll your big trip takes on the planet you’re spending so much money (and time) to see:
Ditch the Car
This might be the most commonly shared tip but, really, that’s because it can make a big impact! If you’re visiting a city, try staying close to the part of town you’d most like to see. Take public transportation, walk, or rent a bike to get around without spending so much on gas.
Eat and Sleep Local
I know the familiarity of chain hotels and well-known restaurants can be tempting but you didn’t go to a new city to eat the same food, sleep in the same room you’ve seen so many times before. Support the local economy by choosing a locally owned hotel or B&B. Use apps like foursquare to see where the locals eat.
Buy Locally Made Souvenirs
When you buy those souvenirs – avoid the mass-market shops. They contain the same merchandise in every city and while those products might remind you of that city, they weren’t made there. Go to a craft shop featuring local artists or visit a locally owned boutique.