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Taking the Kids: It’s easy to travel more sustainably

Eileen Ogintz, Tribune Content Agency on

Who really needs clean towels and sheets every day on vacation? Ditto for super-long showers.

“The amount of energy and water that travelers use negatively impacts locals far more than they realize,” said Max Shak, founder of “Check with your hotel about how they conserve water and what you can do to minimize your impact.”

Better yet, consider hotels that are actively working to operate more sustainably like the Loews Regency New York (water reduction and temperature adjustments when guests are out of their rooms). The LEED-Certified Kimpton Hotel Palomar in Philadelphia and the Radisson Blu Mall of America in Minnesota are among those partnering with Clean the World. Their unused portions of bar soaps are recycled for kits sent to impoverished communities.

The YMCA of the Rockies in Colorado boasts a solar farm, new electrical vehicle chargers, and has begun to put a “Wrap on Plastic Wrap,” purchasing reusable options for towels and linens.

Cruise lines, including Holland America Line, are eliminating single-use plastic bottles and seeking more sustainable fuel options. Hurtigruten has debuted its second battery hybrid cruise ship while Royal Caribbean has announced a Destination Net Zero strategy to achieve net-zero emissions

“A large number of hotels are actually committing themselves to being more sustainable through efforts like reducing or eliminating plastic waste. Even with these efforts in place, their price typically doesn’t go up, making them a viable option for most travelers. By intentionally choosing to stay at these kinds of hotels, you are supporting sustainable efforts, being more sustainable yourself, and not going out of budget,” suggests Nick Mueller, director of Operations for


That seems especially true in Hawaii. Alohilani Resort Waikiki Beach on Oahu announced last month that it is on track to become the first carbon neutral hotel in the state of Hawaii. The resort is now powered by 100 percent renewable electricity, has pledged to plant 100,000 indigenous trees with the Hawaii Legacy Reforestation Initiative and has introduced a sustainable food and cocktail happy hour series centered on locally sourced products.

The newly renovated Turtle Bay Resort on Oahu’s North Shore has a 469-acre on-site Kulima Farm that provides local produce not only to the resort but surrounding communities. Guests are invited to visit and even pick their own ingredients.

On Kauai, Hanalei Colony Resort, where the suites have kitchens, is gifting guests new reusable shopping bags with a guide to the island's farmer's markets, farms and roadside stands. This is to encourage guests to buy local and make conscious commerce the part of their visit to Kauai.

Certainly, shopping and eating locally, using public transportation — or traveling by bike or on foot —can all support sustainability efforts and local economies.


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