Save Green in More Ways than One with Eco-Friendly Travel

We had a pretty massive Earth Day this year, and I don’t think it needs mentioning why. Thankfully, companies around the world are seeing green as the way to go. And we’re not talking about money here. Businesses are seeing eco-friendly practices as not only a way to a healthier environment, but also a way to attract more tourists and gain more respect from customers and guests. In fact, eco-friendly travel is becoming increasingly popular.

A lot of hotels everywhere are making conscious efforts to at the very least, create an appearance of being “green”. Many consumers are concerned about climate change and global warming. Travelers want to do their part, and the hospitality industry feels the same way.

Take the Hilton in Patagonia, Argentina for example. The hotel (which is due to open in 2011) will provide an efficient use of energy and water, plans to provide the largest private plant of liquid waste water treatment available in the area, and with it’s green roof, even blends into the mountain!

Eco-Friendly Hilton in Bariloche (Patagonia), Argentina

So how do you travel green while not wasting a lot of your own green? Here are some tips to follow for helping the planet (on a budget!), so you can enjoy more of what our beautiful earth has to offer:

LEED certified hotels are a good place to start.

In order to possess LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification, the hotel must be verified from the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) that the building project meets the highest green building & performance measures.

Rocky Mountain LodgeEstes Park, CO  $109/night

What better way to enjoy the great outdoors than to lodge at a LEED certified hotel in the rockies?! Members of YMCA can enjoy a $15/nt discount.

HI Point Reyes Hostel Point Reyes National Seashore, CA $35/nt

This is the first hostel to open in an LEED-certified building in the U.S. and is nestled in a secluded valley in Point Reyes National Seashore. The hostel also has a shore location that used to be a ranch.

Mellow Barcelona – Barcelona, Spain   $65/night

Tucked in a quiet neighborhood in Barcelona, this hostel boasts about their use of renewable energy and sustainable amenities. (Their shower water is heated by solar panels!) 

For more deals on eco-friendly travel, hostels and LEED certified hotels, check out: TravelZoo.com/green

Here are some more eco-friendly travel tips:

  • Refill water bottles –  It’s difficult to find recycle bins everywhere you go, and you’ll save a lot of ones (or fives depending where you are buying your water bottle!)
  • Buy souvenirs –  I know this may not sound like it’s in the spirit of saving cash, but buying local goods helps support local economies! So buy a trinket or two!
  • Take public transportation – Not only are you saving money you would have otherwise spend on a rental car, but you are supporting local economies, and rubbing elbows with the locals!

What are your tips for cheap green travel? Feel free to include any sustainable ideas or eco-friendly products you may have seen in the comments below!