We Get Greener Kit Cassingham & her Bigger Half

Green Travel Delights

Some of you may have figured out I travel a bit. I love to travel, and I love staying home, making for an interesting quandary. Regardless of my location, though, I strive to be as green a possible. Traveling green can be challenging, even for the most determined of us.

The past several trips have provided some delightful surprises, treats you deserve to hear about. The travel delights include car rentals, food, water conservation, and recycling.

Renting A Car
Over the past few years I have rented a Prius when possible. Not all airports have them available, and some airports charge a higher fee for them than others their size. When visiting the LA area last year I considered a Hertz Prius, for a moment. It was more than I could justify, even with the saved gas costs. But I noticed they offered a Nissan Altima hybrid for only a bit more than standard cars, so I gave it a try. What a delight! It had pick-up-and-go, even with three adults and their luggage, or five adults without luggage. We didn't burn much gas, despite our many miles -- a great plus. The car was comfortable, conserving, and classy. What more could you want from a car?

Food, Glorious Food
Generally, when I travel I strive to do the best I can to select healthy food options when dining out. Can you imagine how my heart sings when I find local and organic food options? Let me tell you..... The Hallelujah Chorus has nothing on me in those moments. Eating at the Hyatt's Olive 8 in Seattle got not only a Hallelujah Chorus, but an encore as well. Carpaccio from grass fed beef and panna cotta of organic ingredients still have me swooning, and drooling from the memories.

And in Denver we chanced across Ted's Montana Grill. The very first thing I noticed was paper straws. Yep, paper straws! Then I noticed buffalo and grass fed beef, and free range chickens on the menu. My second visit had me vocalize to My Bigger Half that this must be one of Ted Turner's restaurants. Sure enough. The food was delicious, and I so appreciated having healthy options for at least one meal a day!

I've been in only four different airports in the past two months, but I've seen all of those airports recently enough to know that recycling habits are changing. More airports have more recycling bins than they did even a couple of years ago. I'm seeing everything from a simple recycling bin to a three-bin recycling center -- plus trash. Be still my heart! As the concept spreads so will the education on how to use them, encouraging the idea to take root at home. And as the concept spreads it's a touch easier for me to travel green.

Six hotel stays into the month have shown me a wide variety of green experiences. From basic to upscale, I have found more hotels taking more green actions. In fact, it's gotten so prevalent that my attitude about how a hotel gets onto my directory of green hotels, Environmentally Friendly Hotels, is that you have to be serious about your green initiatives to get listed. I've cut my list in half with that change of attitude (but I think the directory is more meaningful to those who want to find truly green hotels).

The point is that any little action deserved celebration six years ago, and now it takes more to excite me to celebration. So when I see hotels with recycling bins, unlined waste baskets, bulk soap dispensers, natural fiber sheets and towels, sheet and towel reuse programs, low-water-consuming appliances, cloth shower curtains, CFL bulbs, etc, I feel gratified that the green, or sustainable, movement is getting traction in the hotel industry. And all of the hotels I have stayed in this year have shown some level of green action, and that action isn't dependant on the class of the hotel.

One of my favorite treats was staying in a Pure Room. I slept like a baby, which isn't common my first night in a hotel. No perfumed cleaning or laundry products and an air purifier made for a healthful night for me. That's the room type I'll be seeking out in the future, based on that one night's experience.

I've stayed in a DoubleTree, Renaissance, Econo Lodge, Hyatt Place, Hyatt Regency, and Fairmont hotels, and been pleased with the fact they are all doing something. Of course I'm happiest at the best of the green hotels, but that doesn't always work out in my travels.

Greener Hospitals
A hospital isn't a location you'd expect me to talk about green travel delights, is it? Me neither. But, I attended a great EMT conference at The Children's Hospital in Denver and was quite impressed to see recycling bins spread throughout the facility. I was amused that many people didn't use them correctly, but that will change as people are exposed to, and reminded of, recycling resources.

Furthermore, paper handouts were discouraged. Speakers offered to send you digital bits of information, and the conference organizers collated all of the presentations and sent disks to attendees. The only thing I'll be working with them on, as soon as I get the right contact, is the use of bagasse plates over styrofoam plates. Given the green start I've seen I anticipate swaying them to a better serving option.

Travel is getting greener, making me happier. Sustainability is becoming a bit more mainstream too. I don't feel like such a lonely green road warrior these days. Yes, there's more progress that needs to be made before I can lighten my travel load of green options, but I'm happy to see the progress that's been made since I turned my radar onto the green movement.

I'm still learning how to be green on the road, and enjoying the challenge. Whether I'm looking for a car rental, food, water conservation, or recycling, I'm more likely to find it greener today than even five years ago.

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