Jen van der Meer

5 Tips for a Green Staycation

Published: (Updated: ) in Open Forum, by .

First attempt at a “five” themed article at Open Forum for Inhabitat:

Are you one of 48% of Americans looking to vacation closer to home this year? According to a Harris Interactive Poll, almost half of the country is planning on staying put for their vacation. The good news for those choosing to vacation locally is that you are about to embark on your greenest vacation yet. Here are 5 tips to make your staycation even greener.
1.     Stay. Get a Green Star.
First tip – you’re already greener. Airline travel, long road trips, and gas-guzzling caravans account for a significant chunk of a family’s environmental footprint each year. The most eco-friendly exotic resort in far away island still requires you to burn significant air miles or cruise ship miles just to get there. Even though you might be choosing a staycation for money reasons, you should also get a giant green gold star for your wise choice.

2. Rediscover Local Nature.
Time spent outside improves the health of kids and adults. Studies show that more time in nature improves our weight, improves our vision, lowers our stress levels, and even increases our social skills, and confidence levels. Fight nature deficit disorder by giving your family eco-literacy the fun way by finding local parks and reserves to explore. Nature Rocks, an organization founded btheChildren & Nature Network and ecoAmerica, will help you find a local destination.

3. Eat Locally
If you’re going to splurge on food during your staycation, take the time to get to know your local farmer’s market, community supported agriculture, or farm-to-table restaurant. You might even want to visit the farm where you food comes from. For example, August is blueberry-picking season in the Northeast.

4. Go By Foot.
We spend so much time in planes, trains, and cars, we forget to truly notice our local surroundings when we travel by foot. Time to get out your local map and your best walking shoes, or better yet, Walking directions from Google Maps makes foot travel easier, no matter the difference, and avoids areas typically restricted to foot traffic such as interstates and other highways. How far can you go in a day?

5. Turn off Technology.
The most controversial tip of all (I can’t get my family to agree to this one). Try turning off your email, smart phone, and even Twitter and Facebook feeds(!). This will help you set boundaries with work colleagues, who may view your staycation as a work-from-home week. It’s proven that truly relaxing vacations are good for your heart. Whether you’re planning a staycation or vacation, are you considering a tech-free vacation?