If you haven’t ventured out this summer on a well needed vaca, there’s still time. Officially, you have until September 23rd, the last day of summer. But, unofficially speaking, warm weather continues all across the globe and is calling your sweet name. Before you stuff that wheeled Samsonite full of bikinis and maxi dresses, you’ll want to take note of a few tips than can save you a boatload of cash while reducing your open-toed carbon footprint.
For example, a typical medium-sized family car generates around 24 tons of carbon dioxide over its entire lifetime, according to a report by the UK’s Low Carbon Vehicle Partnership. Meanwhile, an electric vehicle produces only around 18 tons. Switching to an environmentally-friendly vehicle will help reduce your carbon footprint, but your emissions can still add up when hitting the open road for your next vacation. While it’s virtually impossible to completely eliminate your carbon emissions, there are ways to drastically reduce them while traveling this summer. Here’s how to get started:
1.) Offset Your Carbon Emissions
Travel booking engine, Expedia, reports that a typical round trip flight produces about 2,000 pounds of carbon dioxide per passenger. Driving will reduce your footprint over flying, but it still negatively impacts the environment. You can purchase carbon offsets from a reputable company like CarbonFund.org, which supports technologies for cleaner air including planting trees and contributing to windmill farms. When you can’t reduce your own emissions, the allows you to eliminate the same amount of emissions somewhere else in the world by funding various environmentally-friendly projects.
2.) Find a Pedestrian-Friendly Destination
Plan your trip to a pedestrian-friendly destination so you can park the car while you’re vacationing. New York City, San Francisco, Washington D.C. and Chicago all offer alternative transportation like the metro, subway and streetcar services, which burn cleaner fuels and transport more people than a single vehicle can. Public transportation can also be significantly cheaper by avoiding parking fees, gas and toll roads.
Or, if you want to get back in touch with nature, pick a destination to go hiking and pitch a tent or stay in a cabin to further reduce your carbon footprint.
3.) Get New Tires
The type of tires you use can make a big impact on the environment. Switch to Continental Tires’ ProContact ECOPlus to help boost your car’s efficiency and reduce its carbon footprint. You can order these from TireBuyer.com for easy shipping and installation. The tires are designed with durable treads and responsive handling to maneuver in inclement weather. Better handling can also help reduce your need to brake and accelerate heavily, which helps with your gas consumption, emission production and potential car accidents.
Once you choose the perfect tires, remember to keep them well maintained and in good shape. Simply keeping your tires well inflated can save you $50 per year on fuel costs, according to Environment America. And CarbonFund.org claims that you can save up to 700 pounds of CO2 emissions with well-inflated tires. Regular maintenance is a good rule of thumb for your entire car to help keep everything running efficiently and reduce the amount of fuel you burn.
4.) Take a Staycation
A staycation is a period of time off when an individual or family relaxes and enjoys local area attractions from their own home base versus traveling to another city. It allows you to save money, reduce your carbon footprint and the opportunity to experience local life more than you would by staying in a motel or hotel. With a little inspiration from Nikola Tesla and some aliens, Ron and I ventured on a unique staycation to the Integratron located in the Mojave Desert (read more).
5.) Stay at an Airbnb
A home away from home…literally! By booking at Airbnb, you can rent an apartment for a night, a castle for a week, or a villa for a month. Alternatively, Airbnb allows you to make money renting out your place. This concept is gaining popularity in terms of affordable travel for budget-constrained, adventurous vacation seekers. You’ll save money from staying in an overpriced hotel, while enjoying unique destinations in over 190 countries.
6.) Team up With a Friend
Instead of driving solo across the country, ask a friend or family member to pick a joint-destination vacation. This way, you’ll reduce your carbon footprint and save money on everything from fuel to lodging. Rent a fuel efficient vehicle or hybrid car together to further reduce your emissions. Use a site like ChargePoint to find electric fueling stations across the country. Many cities and public parking lots also offer free charging stations for electric vehicles, saving you time and money to charge while you enjoy your vacation.