‘Luxe to No Frills: Green Travel on Any Budget

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Travel Pig, travel green

It’s possible to keep the green in your wallet (or piggy bank) when you travel green.

Listen to my Travelin’ Green Divas (and dudes, too!) segment for some green-travel-on-a-budget tips.

Like buying organic, there’s this nagging perception that traveling green—staying in eco-friendly hotels, eating at restaurants that feature local, organic food and so on—has to be more expensive.

Well, we’re here to tell you it ain’t necessarily so.

What is true: You can find green on your travels at any price point. So don’t be lulled into thinking you can’t afford to travel green. You can!

Still skeptical?

Then check this out. Earlier this year, TripAdvisor (which claims to be the world’s biggest travel website) issued a list of what it calls the 10 best green hotels in the U.S. Their choices were hotels and B&Bs that ranked highest according to the eco-criteria of TripAdvisor’s own GreenLeaders program and also in guest rankings. And guess what? Top-ranked was Bardessono, a very posh, LEED Platinum-certified hotel in the Napa Valley, California. LEED stands for Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design and is a very detailed, very strict set of standards set by the U.S. Green Building Council. But on that same list was also a Holiday Inn Express in Florida and properties at every level in between.

green travel, traveling dogHeck, one of the greenest ways to stay is good ol’ camping out. A nice step up from there would what’s been termed “glamping,” for glamorous camping, usually in luxury safari-style tents. A great example where that’s available is a resort called El Capitan Canyon near Santa Barbara, California.

So, to recap, from budget to 5-star, there are eco-friendly lodging options waiting for you. But why stop there?

You can also dine green on virtually any budget.

No matter what floats your boat, drop anchor at the local farmer’s market. Find an organic farmer or baker or jam maker whose stuff looks yummy. Cheapest way is to stock up right there and picnic to your heart’s content, or whip up healthy meals at your lodging if you have kitchen facilities. If not, ask these farmers and organic vendors for tips. Which restaurants buy from them and other organic producers? Which are their personal favs? What else shouldn’t you miss during your visit?

Organized tours to local eco-friendly attractions are becoming more common in some areas. In the San Francisco area, for instance, check out Bay Area Green Tours, a non-profit that leads groups to organic farms, on moveable feasts at green restaurants and more. But, again, you can save money by touring on your own—and it’s easy with directions from your smartphone or car GPS and an itinerary from the local tourism bureau or your hotel.

So when you go, go green—and spend only as many greenbacks as you want.


For more green travel tips, listen to this Travelin’ Green Divas episode with Healthy Voyager, Carolyn Scott-Hamilton talking about ways to keep healthy when you’re traveling.

Conscious Consumer, Earth News, Eco-Travel, GD Ticker, Green Divas Radio Show, sustainability, Travelin' Green Divas

About the author / 

Green Dude Gary

Gary Diedrichs is publisher/editorial director of greentravelerguides.com, which sleuths out and reviews the world’s best green travel experiences. He’s authored guides to Hawaii and Jamaica for Fodor’s and Bantam Books, and is a novelist and former magazine editor. His fondest childhood memories are of waking up to morning chores on his grandparents’ “organic” (before we knew what that meant) farm in Ohio. Gary lives on a houseboat in Sausalito, California.

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