Shades of Green Travel: Money and Time

If you already make efforts to be a “green” traveler, what does it take to be even greener? This Shades of Green Series explores various ways to step up your green travel efforts using our shades of green travel spectrum. If you’re not familiar with the spectrum, it ranges from “pea green” travelers who are least likely to make extreme efforts to travel green; to “Kelly Green” travelers who make moderate efforts to be eco-conscious while traveling; to “forest green” travelers who will go to almost any length to leave no impact while traveling. See the full list of articles in the Shades of Green Travel Series here.

Money and Time

You might be asking yourself, “What does money have to do with traveling green? I thought by ‘green’ they meant environmental, sustainable, conscious – not dollar bills.”

Well, money and time (and time and money) have to do with traveling green because ultimately traveling takes time and costs money. And to become the greenest of travelers we have to consider what we will have to give up (and not give up) in terms of money/time vs. environmental friendliness.

This is not an easy set of issues to grapple with, but it is one that is well worth considering. The question to ask yourself is, “What’s more important to me? Time and money or the environment?”

Green or Pea Green: Choosing Money and Time over Green Travel

A green traveler will favor the environmentally-friendly activities when they are cheaper (e.g. camping over a hotel) or when they are simple (like turning off the lights in her hotel room). But, if something green is too expensive or too complicated, the green traveler will take the cheaper and simpler option even if the cost to the environment is greater.

Greener or Kelly Green: Choosing Green Travel over Money or Time

A kelly green traveler is willing to make some trade offs when weighing time/money against environmental impact. For instance, the greener traveler will pay more money for a non-stop flight because it is less harsh on the environment than the cheaper flight with a layover; but she won’t take the train or bus because she is not willing to sacrifice the extra time it would take (this was our philosophy on a recent trip to Florida).

photo credit: pfala

Greenest or Forest Green: Choosing Green Travel over Time and Money

The greenest traveler will nearly always choose the more sustainable and responsible travel option over the one that is cheaper and less time-consuming. For instance, in one of the most powerful pieces I’ve ever read, Tim Patterson writes about selling his stock in multinational corporations. Or Mark Smith, aka The Man in Seat 61, chooses only to travel by land. These choices are the greenest of choices – where individuals are choosing to place their value of environmental and social responsibility above time and money.

I know where I would like to fall on this spectrum, but I’m not there yet. I hope someday I will be.

This post is part of our Shades of Green Travel series. Check out the last post on eating green.