Best Travel Dresses on the Planet Guide ~ Top 6 Picks

Best Travel Dresses on the Planet Guide

Updated:

One of the most difficult parts of planning for a trip is figuring out what clothing to pack. You have limited space so you have to pack light. I wanted to find the best travel dresses that would be versatile enough to wear traveling and at home.

Dresses are great and easier to wear than skirts. With a dress, you won’t have to worry about finding a matching shirt.

It’s often easier to change up the look with different accessories as well.

What to look for in a travel dress?

  • Comfortable, fits well and has some “give”
  • Washable
  • Easy-to-pack and roll without wrinkling
  • Easy to dress up or down
  • Breathable material
  • Still fits if you gain or lose 5 – 10 pounds

Best Travel Dresses

Zalalus Women’s Summer Sleeveless Casual Swing Dress

For the price, you really can’t beat this. This travel dress flatters most body types because it’s loose fitting and “flowy” in an A-line cut.
best travel dresses
The t-shirt material (it’s not thin) lends itself to all sorts of activities. It has a little bit of stretch and a nice loose fit. You can wear it as a cover-up to the beach, walk around town or through museums in the day, and add a scarf or a statement necklace for dinner. This is the perfect cruise dress.

We also like that it looks good with sandals, flip flops, boots, and even heels. (It’s really cute with tights, boots and a sweater or cute jacket in the winter.)

You can truly change up this dress to make it work for you. Depending on the colors you choose, it’s available in sizes small to XX large. We found it true to size. We love the pockets. This is a sleeveless dress but it’s very easy to drape a wrap or sweater over your shoulders.

Also, if you gain or lose 5 – 15 pounds, this dress will fit. 

The Zalalus is a great dress for travel, and it will be your summer staple. It packs easily. You can roll it up, and shake it out and won’t have to worry about wrinkles. It comes in solid, neutral, flattering colors — black, wine red, navy, darker green, and more.

This is an easy, go-to dress you will want to wear on vacations and when you return home. It’s comfortable, flattering, has a nice drape, and is stylish.

Karen Kane 3/4 Sleeve A-Line Dress

Karen Kane 3/4 Sleeve A-Line Dress is machine washable and is available in sizes XS – XL. It’s available in black only. Because of the cut and the scoop neck, it will most likely fit all bust sizes and will be easy to fit.
Karen Kane Sleeve A-Line Dress
Made of a rayon and Spandex blend, it is wrinkle resistant and has a bit of a stretch to it, making it very comfortable. It’s great for cooler climates and air-conditioned restaurants because of its longer sleeves. This is one of the best travel dresses to dress up or down and also perfect for a cruise.

I bought this dress for traveling but it has become my go-to for work as it’s easy to change necklaces or add a scarf to change the look. It looks good with sandals, flats, heels or black boots. It’s made in America too.

Toad and Co Rosalinda Jersey Knit Dress

This Toad&Co Rosalinda Dress has three quarter length sleeves. There are so many colors and patterns, it will be difficult to choose which one to get. It’s machine washable and made with organic cotton, Tencel and Spandex.

It has a very flattering fit and is cut really well to flatter many body types. In addition, Tencel wicks moisture so it’s great for outdoor activities too. We like this brand’s commitment to considering the environment.

PrAna Amelie Dress

With a loose-fitting fabric, this is a dress that flatters most body types, from size small to extra large. It’s a modest cut.

It’s not form-fitting in the waist but offers you a little bit of shape, more so than A-line styles.
travel dresses
The material is very soft. It is easy to dress up or down. You can easily wear this dress when traveling.

We love pretty much all dresses from PrAna. They are quality items and cut well. Because they come in standard sizes, it’s easy to get a great fit when ordering online. PrAna is known for making some of the best travel dresses.

ExOfficio Sol Cool Dress

This dress from ExOfficio is a cute, versatile, sleeveless dress. You could wear it on the beach or put heels on, and go to a fancy restaurant. It comes in many different colors and patterns available which make it fun for traveling.

Plus, it wicks away moisture and has UPF protection of 50+. There’s even a small zippered security pocket on the right side. This dress is made from a blend of polyester and Spandex so it is easy to pack without wrinkling.

We have several pieces from ExOfficio, and they are all our go-to travel pieces. 

Best dress for traveling to hot climate: Toad&Co Sunkissed Swing Dress

This is one of the best travel dresses for hot climates. Had I realized how cute this dress would be, I would have ordered it in one of their brighter colors, like Deep Navy Bird Print and the Spiced Coral Bird Print.

Now that I see the dress in person and understand the fabric the upper portion is made of, I would have went for the bold color. Even the Spiced Coral, while not dark, is still a statement shade.

Even still, I do like my gray dress, officially called Smoke. This color is nice and neutral but for a one-piece outfit — a dress — I don’t need it to match anything so I should have went for bold.

So please order one of the Sunkissed Swing dresses with color.

I walk and hike in this dress. Once, I even swam in it. It doesn’t stretch like other fabrics. It’s a very versatile travel dress.

Like this brand’s travel skirts, you could order this same style dress in multiple colors and it wouldn’t look like you were wearing the same dress.

Great dress for traveling

It looks good with flip flops and sandals. It’s a very casual dress but has a very flattering cut. I tend toward dresses that aren’t form fitting. These are the travel dresses I wear much more often than form-fitting ones, which is why it’s one of my new favorites.

It has a flattering cut. I’ve gained and lost 10 – 12 pounds, and this dress still flatters me. The material is made with a quick-dry nylon (84% nylon and 16% Spandex). It’s super-easy to wear. It works for errands, restaurants, hikes, and other excursions.

This travel dress has two pockets — one on either side of the hip section. They are practical and not bulky in any way. The only downside to this dress is you can’t really dress it up or down. It wouldn’t look good with boots or heels. It’s strictly to keep you comfortable and cool in the heat.

I live in the very hot and dry southwest and this swing dress has been a lifesaver. I only wear skirts and dresses from May – October because it’s so hot. This Sunkissed Swing Dress works well across the seasons.

At first, I was surprised this travel dress wrinkled. It arrived folded, and it took a few hours on the hanger before the wrinkles disappeared. However, when I rolled it and put it in my suitcase and unpacked it, it didn’t have any wrinkles. So as long as you don’t fold it, it is great.

I asked Toad & Co. for this dress to review. They are a very eco friendly company, and I appreciate the efforts they make in sustainability.

Where to find the best travel dresses

We encourage thrift store shopping both before you go and while you’re there. One of my favorite sweaters is from thrift store in Ireland. However, we know that takes time and patience. When you are in the market for a particular piece of travel clothing it may be time-consuming to find just the right thing.

Maximize the time you spend in second-hand stores by always looking for travel clothing. Versatile travel pieces will

Check out the following: Best Travel Pants

Finding the best travel dresses

No matter your size, style or destination, there’s an amazing travel dress out there for you.

When you need to pack light and want your clothing to be appropriate in many situations, a dress designed for travel could fast become a staple in your travel wardrobe.

All of these travel dresses are made with great fabrics for traveling too.

Sometimes, before embarking on a trip, it’s nice to have a few new pieces to wear. This is especially true because we often get very tired of wearing the same things on a vacation. Yet, when I have a new dress or other clothing item, I’m excited to wear it again. We hope some of these will become your favorite travel dresses.

Best Travel Skirts for Women
Best Travel Dresses
Women’s Travel Shoe
Best Travel Pants for Women
Best Travel Jackets for Women
Best Travel Shorts for Women
Best Travel Accessories for Women

Tips for Buying Green Luggage for the Ultimate Eco-friendly Trip

Tips for Buying Green Luggage for the Ultimate Eco-friendly Trip

Updated:

Tips for buying green luggage – Depending on your travel habits, you may only bring out your luggage only a few times a year.

But when you do use it, it takes a beating.

We were gifted a set of luggage a few years ago, and it’s already falling apart.

We will do our best to repair it, but if we do need to buy a new bag we will be considering more environmentally friendly options.

Here are tips for buying green luggage so that you can conserve our planet while toting your belongings.

Luggage for kids

Luckily more companies are producing what they label as “eco luggage.”

For example, Patagonia has several bags made from recycled materials.

Heys luggage has a new set out, Eco Case, that’s made from 100% Recycled Plastic.

It even comes in the color green.

Kids carry-on luggage

Sierra Club has put their brand on luggage that is “eco friendly on several fronts.”

And finally, Eco Traveler sells a 2-piece carry on luggage set – made from hemp that’s PVC free.

While it’s great that companies are moving in this direction, there still aren’t a lot of green options available.

Because you will likely buy luggage that isn’t labeled as eco luggage, here are the features to look for in conventional luggage that will help ensure your bag is a little greener.

If you’re looking for lightweight luggage, check out our lightest luggage article.

Samsonite Winfield vs Samsonite Omni Carry On Luggage – Which Should You Choose?

tips for buying green luggage

Tips for buying green luggage

Weight of Bag

It’s surprising how much luggage weighs.

When we recently went to New Zealand my rolling carry-on didn’t meet the weight limits for carry on.

This wasn’t only because of what it contained, but because it was just a heavy bag, even empty.

When everyone’s empty bag weighs a few pounds, the result is too much energy being used just to transport the luggage.

When searching for green luggage, try to the bag that weighs less.

Size of Bag

The first rule of luggage size is to buy a bag that’s the right size for your purpose.

While we prefer that everyone pack light, we’d rather you buy a bigger bag that you’ll actually use.

Otherwise you’ll have to buy another bag.

The second rule of luggage size is to buy a smaller bag.

Why? Because the more space you have the more likely you’ll be to fill it with stuff you don’t need.

I prefer carry on sized luggage because it saves the environment because I’m transporting less, and it save me the bag checking fee.

I honestly don’t know time I packed my stuff in a non carry-on size bag.

Even when we went to Argentina for three months (or New Zealand for 10 days) I still just brought a carry on.

Expandable/Multipurpose Bag

Buying an expandable bag may seem to contradict my last recommended feature.

But, I have found that an expandable carry-on bag means that you actually have to own fewer pieces of luggage.

When you end up buying too many souvenirs or get an extra large holiday gift, expandable luggage comes in handy.

You can carry-on one way and check the bag on your return trip.

Bag Material

If you can, buy a bag that’s PVC free and/or made from recyclable materials.

Hemp or organic cotton are also great choices.

Durability

As I alluded to in my intro, cheap luggage often falls apart.

Buy a bag with good reviews, a good warranty, or a well known brand.

Make sure it feels sturdy.

You might pay a little bit more now, but you will save the earth and some money down the road by not having to buy new luggage every few years.

Luggage Repair

Last but not least, if you are in the market for some new green luggage, first ask yourself whether or not you can repair your current luggage.

If it’s just a broken zipper or wheel you can likely get your luggage repaired.

Luggage and bags are wonderful.

One of my favorite places to browse in a department store is the luggage section.

There are always new styles with fun compartments and nifty pockets.

But, I know the best tips for buying green luggage isn’t a tip at all.

It’s to continue to reuse by old luggage.

Best Stainless Steel Cookware Set Showdown: Best Cookware Sets

Best Stainless Steel Cookware

Updated:

Given the popularity of our Stainless Steel Water Bottle: Smackdown and our recent commitment to covering green home issues, I wanted to write about a surprising and scary issue in the home: nonstick pans – so this post is about the best stainless steel cookware.

I used to be an avid lover of nonstick pans.

I adore eggs and nonstick coated cookware made my kitchen pans incredibly easy to clean.

But, nonstick coatings are unbelievably bad for you and the environment.

How bad?

So bad that the fumes can kill birds.

Check out this article and the references in it if you want to learn the specifics.

For instance, according to the article, “although an accurate national accounting of deaths is not available, in a single year [a]Chicago veterinarian documented 296 bird deaths in 105 cases involving non-stick cookware.

The problem with nonstick pans is something called polytetrafluoroethylene or PTFE.

The most well known brand is Teflon®.

The Best Stainless Steel Cookware Sets

Now, I’m not one to be an alarmist, but I take my personal health very seriously.

At first, when Kimberly tried to convince me to throw out our nonstick Teflon pans I insisted that they were fine.

But I did a lot of research and eventually realized that nonstick is terrible.

The fact that the fumes can kill birds makes me think that nonstick may be even worse for you than BPA (the bad stuff in plastics and the reason to use stainless steel water bottles).

So, when we decided to purchase a new cookware set we researched different types of cookware.

Most professional chefs use copper or stainless steel cookware sets.

If they use these materials, why not us too?

But, our first stainless steel cookware set quickly broke.

The handles came loose and food didn’t cook easily.

The worst part about them was that the pans heated unevenly and were difficult to clean.

Luckily, for a wedding present we received an extremely nice stainless steel cookware set – All-Clad.

They pans have held up exceptionally well.

But more on that later.

Stainless Steel Cookware Set Comparison

To conduct our Stainless Steel Cookware comparison we have several different contenders.

We’ll discuss each one and the importance of their features

Contenders: Basic Stainless Steel Cookware Set, Cuisinart Stainless Steel Cookware Set, KitchenAid Stainless Steel Cookware Set, Celphalon stainless steel cookware set, All-Clad Stainless Steel Cookware Set.
Best Stainless Steel Cookware Set

Stainless Steel Cookware Set Features

You are probably asking yourself – isn’t all cookware created the same?

What’s the difference between these different brands of pans?

Critical differences in the pans’ features: Overall Construction

How sturdy are the pans?

Do they hold up well?

You want to buy pans that last.

Number of Layers

How many layers are there?

And what type of metal are they?

Generally you want 3 layers as this creates a more even distribution of heat which means the food cooks evenly.

Type of Lid

What type of lid is it – glass or stainless steel?

I prefer stainless steel as it’s unlikely to break if I accidentally drop it.

Other people prefer glass.

Made in USA

Is the pan made in the US or in China (or elsewhere)?

Many people have concerns about metal contaminants of non- American made products.

Induction

If you have an induction stove (you’ll know if you do) you need a pan that will allow for induction.

The reality is that the more you pay the better pan you will get.

How the Stainless Steel Cookware Stacks Up

The Intro Set (aka the Cheap Stuff)

The Excelsteel 7 piece Stainless Steel Cookware set with glass lids is a good intro kit.

It’s would be great for a college student or someone just starting out.

It doesn’t have some of the features that the more expensive pans have, but if you’re looking for a good cheap stainless steel cookware set – this is it.

The Middle of the Road

A middle of the road stainless steel cookware set that is good, but not excellent is the Kitchenaid 10-piece set.

However, these are not entirely stainless as they have silicone grips.

The 10 piece Cuisinart Classic Stainless Steel Cookware set.

It has 350 plus reviews and given that you get more pots and pans than Kitchenaid for the price, this is probably the best of the middle of the line.

It comes with stainless steel pan covers plus: 8- and 10-inch skillets; 1-1/2- and 3-quart covered saucepans, 3-1/2-quart sauté pan; and 8-quart covered stockpot.

Top of the Line

The following sets are the really high end stainless steel pans.

All of the following sets are tri-layered which means they will be sturdier and last longer.

I am providing more information about them because while they are more expensive, they will last longer.

Because they’ll last longer they are more sustainable and better for the environment.

All-Clad

We were lucky enough to get our All-Clad Stainless Steel Cookware for a wedding present.

We’ve had the set for two years and it works amazingly well.

We have had no problems with the pans.

Save some discoloration that is common to all stainless steel.

While the most expensive of stainless steel cookware, All-Clad really does last a lifetime and in doing so reduces waste.

My aunt and uncle have had their same All-Clad set since they got married 30 years ago.

We also got an additional 8″ fry pan (great for eggs) and 12″ fry pan (perfect for larger meals).

All-Clad is made in the USA — mostly.

It seems that their lids as well as some appliances are made in China (and subject to thorough inspections and testing).

Their pots and pans are made from US supplied metal manufactures and bonded together at the Pennsylvania manufacturing facility.

Cuisinart MultiClad Pro

The Cuisinart MultiClad Pro 7 piece set.

But given that there is only 1 fry pan in the set you’ll likely want to buy a separate skillet.

Overall the Cuisinart gets better reviews than the Calphalon; but people who also owned All-Clad were mixed on whether or not they would buy the Cuisinart again.

Many said they noticed no difference.

A few people mentioned the pans felt lighter.

And they are made in China.

So if the price is more important to you and you are ok with a Chinese manufactured pan you will want to buy the Cuisinart MultiClad Pro.

Calphalon

Reviewers of the Calphalon seem to love it.

There are some complaints about customer service, the handles getting hot, and the fact that this cookware is made in China.

But overall people really like it.

A difference between this and All-Clad (other than the cost).

Is that All-Clad tops are Stainless steel and Calphalon are glass.

How to Clean Stainless Steel Cookware

Cleaning stainless steel pots and pans is a little more difficult than cleaning nonstick pans.

But, in two years since we’ve owned our All-Clad we haven’t had too many problems.

We recently learned about a product called “Bar Keeper’s Friend” (found at any retailer like Target or your local market.)

While not a green product, it is free of phosphates and does wonders for cleaning stubborn stainless steel stains.

We use it maybe once a month on our most frequently used pans to keep them sparkling.

Well, stainless steel does get discolored and stained.

But it doesn’t affect the use of the pans at all.

How to Make Stainless Steel Cookware Not Stick

I’ll be honest — ensuring that food doesn’t stick to stainless steel plans is an art.

It takes patience.

But, here’s the trick — make sure that the pan is hot x 2.

First, get the pan hot.

Second, get the oil/butter hot.

This doesn’t mean to turn the heat on high (for boiling water — sure, but not for sauces, eggs, etc).

Turn the heat on medium to medium low and let the pan get hot throughout.

Then add a little oil. Let the oil heat until it’s almost smoking.

If you tilt the pan the oil will spread and run like water.

Only once the pan is hot should you add the food you are cooking to it.

What about “Green” nonstick cookware?

You can buy nonstick cookware that is supposedly fine for you and doesn’t contain the same chemicals as the bird-killing nonstick pans do.

But honestly, I don’t fully trust these products.

I will stick to stainless steel because I know it’s safe.

Best Stainless Steel Cookware Sets

I would buy the All-Clad cookware again in a heartbeat.

For made in America cookware that has a long track record and proven reputation you just can’t beat it.

However, given the high price of it, my second choice would be Cusinart multiclad.

What features do you look for in cookware?

Do you currently use nonstick pans?

Filtered Water Bottle Review

filtered water bottle review

Updated:

Filtered water bottle review – We get a lot of questions about stainless steel water bottles with filters, but until recently I hadn’t used a filtered water bottle review.

The folks at Eco Vessel were kind enough to send us a filtration water bottle to try out.

According to Eco Vessel, the blue water filtration bottle “removes up to 99.99% of pollutants.”

It’s also BPA-free, which I appreciate.

filtered water bottle review
filtered water bottle review

When to Use this Filtered Water Bottle Review

I would recommend using this bottle when you know you won’t have access to your own Brita or reverse osmosis filtered water which is why it is our top recommendation on this filtered water bottle review.

Hiking and Camping

This bottle would be great to use on extended hiking or camping trips where the water in streams is safe enough to drink, but might contain some pollutants.

I wish I’d had it when I was hiking in Patagonia.

The water there was fine, but even just removing the debris would have been a huge help.

Travel – Extended Travel

For extended trips where you’ll be traveling to places where the water is safe to drink, but potentially not tasty or totally clean, this filtration water bottle would be an excellent option.

At the Office

If your workplace doesn’t offer filtered water, this filtered water bottle would be a good choice for the office.

That way you can drink tap water and rest assured that the bulk of the pollutants are removed.

Working Out at the Gym

If you work out at a gym and are used to drinking out of the water fountain, this bottle is for you.

Fill the bottle up at the water fountain and drink it through the filter.

When to Choose A Filter-Free Bottle

For times you have access to filtered water, you won’t need to use this bottle.

And the filter inside makes it a little clunkier (and takes up space where water could be) so it’s not ideal for sports.

Everyday Use

If you’re at home or can fill up your bottle before you leave the house, you’re probably just as well off sticking with a traditional (filter-free) stainless steel water bottle.

Bike Ride

This bottle could work well for a bike ride, but I would prefer something a little less clunky with more room for water.

Travel – Short Trips

For shorter trips, especially those where you’ll likely have access to filtered water, you’ll probably want to bring a larger, filter-free bottle that you can refill.

How Does It Work?

According to the website, the Eco Vessel water filtration bottle uses an “Ionic-Adsorption Micro-Filtration system.”

I’m no expert on filtration systems, so I’m trusting that Eco Vessel’s system really does remove up to 99.99% of pollutants, as they claim.

Pros

Design

I like the contoured shape, which makes it easy and comfortable to hole in your hand.

It also comes with a cloth handle and caribeener, which I suppose could come in handy.

Filtered Water Without Hassle

For people on the go, this bottle is ideal.

Not everywhere you go will have filtered water, but if you have your filtered water bottle, you can create your own low-pollutant water.

Stainless Steel (and BPA-free)

If you’re a regular Go Green Travel Green reader, you know we’re big fans of stainless steel water bottles because they’re lightweight and don’t contain the nasty chemical BPA.

One of our favorites is the Klean Kanteen, but their water filter isn’t quite as compact and integrated as Eco Vessel’s.

Cons

Not Made in the USA

Although the filter is made in the USA, the bottle isn’t.

That’s not surprising, though, considering we have yet to find a stainless steel water bottle made in the US.

Clunky

Because of the filter inside, this bottle is a bit clunky, which might make it awkward for some athletic activities.

Summary

I would definitely recommend the Eco Vessel Blue Water Filtration Bottle to someone looking for an easy-to-use, compact filter water bottle.

The built-in filter makes it very portable and the contoured design makes it comfortable to carry.

I hope you find this filtered water bottle review helpful

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Klean Kanteen Stainless Steel Water Bottle Review

Women’s Shoes: KEEN Mary Jane Review

Keen Verona Mary Janes

Updated:

In my quest to find the best travel shoes, KEEN was kind enough to send me a pair of Verona Mary Jane women’s shoes to review.

Kuru Shoes Review – Women’s Travel Shoe Review Kuru Halcyon Shoes

They’re cute, comfortable, and make excellent travel shoes.

Learn more by reading our KEEN Mary Jane Review.

KEEN Mary Jane Review – the pros

Here’s what I like about these women’s KEENs.

Keen Comfort and Arch Support

The Verona’s are extremely comfortable.

They flex well and the arch support is better than average for a pair of Mary Janes, but not outstanding.

Strap

The top strap will keep your foot from slipping.

My feet tend to slip out of a lot of shoes.

An awesome feature is that the strap is padded!

That’s right, there is padding on the strap to keep you from getting blisters.

Toe Protector

The scuff protector on the front of the toe means that you can take on all your regular travel activities.

From hiking to running after a bus to climbing super steep stairs.

Without having to worry about ruining the front of your shoes.
Women's Shoes: KEEN Mary Jane Review

The Keen Company

KEEN as a company is very green.

They have a number of shoes that are made from recycled materials.

Though the Verona Mary Jane’s are not.

Room for Improvement – the cons

There are only two things that keep me from naming these the best travel shoe of all time.

I have yet to find those shoes.

For rain, snow or slush, I never like wearing leather shoes as I worry about ruining them.

For my feet I could have used a little more arch support.

Though, as I said before these shoes had better arch support than many other Mary Janes I’ve tried.

More about Keen Women’s Shoes and the Verona Mary Jane

I normally wear an 8.5 or 9 in nice shoes and a 9.5 in running shoes.

I received a pair of 9’s and they fit perfectly with winter socks on, but I might have gone for the 8.5 if I was looking for a summer shoe.

(Remember on there is free shipping, so, if you must you can always order 2 pairs and send 1 back.)

The Verona Mary Jane features:

  • Adjustable strap over instep
  • Full-grain leather upper
  • KEEN toe protection
  • Leather lining
  • Metatomical footbed

Keen classifies some of their shoe features as “Hybrid.Ologies” which means that the these features “eliminate anything that comes between you and your hybrid life.”

There is an internal support mechanism that is engineered to provide anatomically correct arch support.

There is also KEEN’s toe protection system in which the shoes’ outsoles wrap up and over the toes for ultimate protection.

Sydney versus the Verona

The Sydney is another extremely popular Keen Women’s shoe.

It’s nearly identical to Verona except the Sydney has microfiber lining.

The Sydney has moisture-wicking textile linings while the Verona mary jane has a Metatomical footbed Finally, the Verona Mary Jane looks a little nicer in terms of leather quality and colors.

Honestly, I’ve been looking for a pair of shoes like this for a long time.

They are shoes I will definitely pack whenever I travel.

They are nice enough looking to wear into even a fancy restaurant (given a nice pair of pants or cute dress).

But they are comfortable and casual enough for spending an entire day on my feet walking through the street of Florence.

Mary janes are timeless and classic.

We hope this KEEN Mary Jane review helped you see what we like about them.

Note: We will only recommend products or services that we believe, based on our experience, are worthy of endorsement.

We link through affiliate links when they are available.

We are not compensated to provide opinion on products, services, websites, or other topics.

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Any product claim, statistic, quote, or other representation about a product or service should be verified with the manufacturer or provider.

Stainless Steel Travel Mug Contigo Travel Mug Review

Contigo Stainless Steel Travel Mug

Updated:

Contigo Stainless Steel Travel Mug – We’ve written a ton about stainless steel water bottles; but as the school year approached I began to consider how I was going to transport tea to school.

We had previously gotten rid of all of our BPA-infused travel mugs…we are now BPA-Free!

So, I explored my options and settled on a Contigo Travel Mug.

Contigo was kind enough to send a few of their Contigo travel mugs (see them here) for review.

Here are my thoughts.

Contigo Stainless Steel Travel Mug
Contigo Stainless Steel Travel Mug

The Best Stainless Steel Travel Mug?

I would venture to say that the Contigo travel mug is the best stainless steel travel mug there is.

It has honestly revolutionized my life.

Why?

It’s leak proof.

Totally 100% leak proof.

So leak proof that I put it in my laptop bag (next to my laptop) filled with hot tea.

I’m not much of a risk-taker, and honestly it took me awhile to trust my Contigo Stainless Steel Travel Mug enough to be able trust it, but it really can be tossed in a bag and it won’t leak.

I do usually turn it up and down just to be sure it’s sealed.

Spill-Proof Stainless Steel Travel Mug

Not only does the mug not leak when I travel with it, it also is spill proof when I knock it over.

BPA-Free

Besides the BPA-free stainless steel travel mug, Contigo also sells BPA-free plastic.

I use this to heat up water in the microwave at school to make my tea.

Probably not the best idea to put plastic in the microwave, but it works.

Stainless steel travel mug, Contigo  Insulated 

Did I mention it’s double walled and vacuum sealed?

During October, when we had unseasonable cold weather and snow, I filled my Contigo travel mug with tea heading off to school.

Two hours later (after waiting for the bus outside for a good while) the tea was still warm.

I love using my Contigo for tea, but if you’re looking for a tea-specific travel mug, you might want to check out Teas Etc.’s travel mug set.

For more tea travel mugs (tea-specific travel mug ideas).

It wasn’t piping hot, but warm enough to comfortably drink.

Kids Sippy Cups

Contigo also makes their autoseal cups for kids!

Downsides to the Stainless Steel Travel Mug

My only negative thought about this mug is that it does retain smell or taste.

If you don’t wash it out right away it can really smell; we had to use a vinegar soak in it one after leaving coffee in it for a few days.

Also, since Kimberly drinks coffee and I drink tea, we’ve found that even with a good washing it still maintains the smell taste just slightly.

So, I would recommend that if you drink multiple hot beverages you get two.

Use one only for coffee and the other only for tea.

Alternatively, you could remember to wash it out every night and not leave it in the car for a week.

Would I Recommend It?

I would highly recommend Contigo’s Stainless Steel Mug for any traveler, student, or commuter.

It really will change your life.

Here’s what Contigo’s website says about their mugs:

AUTOSEAL® Stainless Steel Travel Mug (Vacuum Insulated) – Never spill another drop!

100% spill- and leak-proof travel mug uses exclusive AUTOSEAL® technology to prevent accidental spills.

Press the AUTOSEAL® button to sip, and release the button to automatically seal.

This self-sealing lid technology is combined with a double-wall, vacuum-insulated, stainless steel mug, providing exceptional temperature retention.

Beverages stay hot for 4 hours or cold for 12 hours.

Benefits of the AutoSeal:

Patented AUTOSEAL® lid is 100% leak-proof and 100% spill-proof.

Drinking made easy!

Press to sip.

Release to seal.

The AUTOSEAL® Stainless Steel Mug automatically seals between sips to ensure no spills.

Vacuum-insulated technology keeps beverages hot for 4 hours, and cold for 12 hours.

Contoured body makes this travel mug easy to hold and easy on the eyes.

The AUTOSEAL® Stainless Steel Mug will hold up to 16 oz. of your favorite beverage and fits most standard car cup holders.

Constructed with a double wall and stainless steel inside and out for maximum travel mug performance.

BPA free.

AutoSeal Specs

Volume: 16 oz.

Weight: 0.8 lbs.

Dimensions: 3.6”L x 7.9”H x 3.3”W

With go-anywhere style and convenience, this thermal mug features AUTOSEAL® technology for 100% spill- and leak-proof performance.

Double wall construction helps retain beverage temperature and prevents external condensation.

Other Stainless Steel Travel Mugs

If you’re not interested in a Contigo, we’ve heard good things about these Stainless Steel Travel mugs (though we haven’t tried any of them):

Thermos Nissan Tea Tumbler with Infuser has free same day shipping.

Yeti Tumblers review and the review of the Walmart’s Ozark Trail Tumbler.

No matter what you use it for, the Contigo Stainless Steel Travel Mug is a truly fantastic product.

It’s BPA-free, safe, and convenient.

I would highly recommend it for coffee, tea, or anything else you like to drink warm.

Best Travel Shoes, Travel Sandals, Walking Shoes and Hiking Boots

Best Travel Shoes

Updated:

Best Travel Shoes, Travel Sandals, Walking Shoes and Hiking Boots – If there’s one thing you can’t leave for your next vacation without — it’s travel shoes.

And given that, when traveling, you probably walk a good deal more than usual, it’s critical to have the best travel shoes and travel sandals.

So, we’ve compiled a list of what to look for in the best travel shoes so you know which traveling shoes to pack.
Best Travel Shoes

Best Travel Shoes – Travel Sandals, Walking Shoes, and Hiking Boots

Best Travel Sandals: Best Walking Sandals

There are three reasons you might need travel sandals when traveling (and they might overlap):

You’re hosteling and want shower shoes

You’re heading to a beach

You’re headed someplace warm

For 1) and 2), you may be fine with a pair of flip flops.

Flip flops are easy to transport and relatively inexpensive making for great shower and beach shoes.

I usually get mine for less than $5 at Target or Old Navy, but I have friends who really like:

  • Reef
  • Rainbow
  • Teva (have arch support) for Women and Men
  • Havianas for Women and Men

For 2) (beach, if lots of walking) and 3) (someplace warm), you’ll want a comfy pair of walking sandals.

Walking sandals with wrap around straps (forcing your foot to press against your foot, unlike a flip flop) are a better choice.

Depending on your dress style you may want something fancy in travel sandals.

Best sandals for walking that we’ve found:

In terms of brands, I used to recommend Birkenstocks but have had some terrible quality and customer service issues.

I had the strap fail and separate from the sandal after just 6 months of light wear.

I do not recommend anymore; and Kimberly prefers Tevas and Chaco sandals, which are known for their durability and comfort.

If I were going to buy a pair of walking sandals today it would be either Chacos or one of the following brands: Keen, Uggs, Clarks, Born, Mephisto, Hush Puppies all have good comfortable dress sandals that will also be good for walking.

Best Travel Walking Shoes

If your destination isn’t 90 degrees and hot, you’d probably prefer a pair of close toed extra comfortable travel walking shoes (like the Propet Women’s Travelwalker II).

Depending on your travel plans and amount of luggage, you may want walking shoes that double as hiking boots or travel walking shoes that double as dress shoes.

That said, your best best might be to invest in a good pair of hiking boots (like the Keen Targhee II or the Moab Ventilator) and a small cute pair of flats (like the Bloch London) Arabian Ballet Flats that don’t take up much room in your suitcase.

Best Travel Shoes: Hiking and Walking Shoes for Traveling

If you’re looking for walking shoes that double as hiking boots, look for a pair of low cut hiking boots.

For Argentina I purchased these Merrills (the Moab Ventilator) and love them.

Kimberly bought some Keens and loved those.

We wore these shoes regularly for both hiking and city walking.

There are a number of great brands of hiking/walking shoes, the trick is to find a pair that fit well.

Best Travel Shoes: Walking and Dress Shoes

If you want travel walking shoes that can double as dress shoes, there are a few brands that turn up comfortable walking shoes that look nice enough for a fancy restaurant.

Check out: Ecco, Mephisto, New Balance, Rockport (men) as they all get good reviews for fancy, yet comfortable, walking shoes.

I’ve been wearing my Keen Women’s Shoes (Mary Janes) and they are perfect for this.

Travel Hiking Boots

How much hiking you’ll be doing should influence what kind of hiking boots you’ll need.

If you’re doing day trips or low-intensity overnight trips you might be able to get away with a pair of low cut hiking boots that can double as your walking shoes.

This is what we did in Argentina and it worked out very well.

Plus, it saved a lot of space in our luggage.

If you’re planning on a lot of hiking, you’ll want the best hiking boots money can buy – with plenty of ankle support.

These boots will be taller and bulkier, but the last thing you want is a twisted ankle, 3 days trekking into the Alaskan wilderness.

Try on many pairs of tall hiking boots to find a pair that fits well.

Potomac Appalachian Trail Club has a great resource about finding hiking boots that fit.

Buying Travel Shoes Online: Zappos Review

Shoes are difficult to buy online because you can’t try them on.

But, you can get better prices.

There are a lot of reasons to buy shoes online and a lot of reasons not to.

Here’s an experience I had trying to buy hiking shoes just a week before we left for Argentina.

A previously written but unpublished post.

I knew I had a pair of hiking boots. Somewhere. They served me well during a 3-week backpacking trip in Poland years ago. After digging around for them, I found my trusty Merrells tucked away in my parents’ garage. A few seeds in them. And what else… chewed up padding. Apparently a mouse had found the hiking boots before me.

With only 3 weeks until my departure (and 1.5 until my move) and 45 minutes from the nearest REI, I knew I had to act fast. After pouring through hiking boot reviews online I still couldn’t decide which pair to buy.

I knew I wanted Merrells. Mostly because I knew what size I wore in them.

But there are probably 50+ Merrell hiking boot options. So I slowly but surely narrowed the choices down.

To three.

While this takes its toll on the environment because of shipping, the stress it saves me (plus the long drive to REI) certainly pays off. But then there’s the problem of costs. Shipping costs a lot of money.

Thank goodness for Zappos. I ordered all three pairs of shoes on Tuesday. Free 4-6 day shipping was included. Lucky for me they upgraded me to free overnight shipping. Woo-hoo!

Wednesday I received all three pairs. I tried them on.

The $90 pair slipped off my feet. They were sort of elasticy.

The $115 pair was really heavy. Plus, they are made of Gore-Tex which, for environmental reasons, I’m on the fence about.

The $80 were very comfortable. They were soft to the step. Plus I think they are the best color.

I’d heard good things about Zappos (like this story about Zappos sending someone flowers which I still am so impressed by).

But now I’ve experienced it for myself. I will definitely shop there again since it makes my life so much easier.

So there you have it.

Everything you needed to know (and more) about the best travel shoes, travel sandals, walking shoes, and hiking boots, plus where to buy them online.

Update: I have also heard good things about Endless, which also offers free shipping.

Best Travel Dresses on the Planet Guide
Travel hiking shoes
Best backpack
Best travel skirts
Best Travel Pants

Simple Satire ecoSNEAKS Environmentally Friendly Travel Shoes

I stumbled upon Simple Satire ecoSNEAKS two years ago during my search for an environmentally-friendly alternative to my beloved Vans tennis shoes.

I wanted shoes that were more durable than the Vans, but as attractive.

I was even willing to sacrifice the awesome velcro, but only for the right eco-friendly shoe.

Then I saw it: the Simple Satire, a member of Simple’s ecoSNEAKs line.

These are also recommended for Unique Valentine’s Day Gifts for Your Favorite Green Traveler

Features of Simple Satire ecoSNEAKS

  • Certified organic cotton uppers with recycled PET laces
  • Vegan shoe! No animal byproducts or even regular animal products
  • Certified organic cotton linings
  • The “pedbed” (the cushiony and supportive stuff at the bottom of the shoe) is made of super soft and squishy polyurethane and recycled car tire
  • Partially recycled shoe – the bottom of this shoe is made from a recycled car tire
  • The foot form inserts are made of post consumer recycled paper
  • Even the boxes are environmentally friendly – made of post-consumer recycled paper, soy based printing ink, natural latex and starch based glue

I quickly ordered the black hemp version (they also come in leather, silk, and suede) and eagerly awaited their arrival.

I ordered black because, of course, I wanted something I could wear with almost anything.

If I bought another pair, I would look at other varieties as well.

I was happy when I opened the box: the shoes were cute and looked durable.

I slipped them on and promptly wore them as I walked the monuments in Washington, DC.

The 5+ mile walk was quite the initial test, but I wasn’t as excited as I wanted to be.

I wanted to love them.

I wanted them to be my go-everywhere, perfect travel shoe.

But I found them less comfortable than I hoped; specifically, the sole didn’t have enough cushion.

It almost felt like I was wearing flip flops.

The ball of my foot had virtually no support.

And my arches were completely unsupported.

I hope Simple has improved the “pedbed” in newer editions of the shoes.

Pros and Cons of Simple ecoSNEAKS

ecoSNEAKS Pros:

  • Very eco-friendly — where else can you get a shoe made with recycled tires
  • Cute
  • Can dress them up or down
  • Comfortable except for the sole
  • Durable
  •  

The cons of ecoSNEAKS:

  • Lacking arch support – my Vans lacked arched support so I was expecting this and also okay with it.
  • Not enough padding in pedbed
  • Since they’re made with old tires, they’re a bit heavy for travel

Would I recommend the Simple Women’s Satire?

Yes, I would — for everyday wear. If you’re walking more than a couple miles, I’d stick with traditional tennis shoes.

I also wouldn’t recommend them as being your sole (no pun intended) travel shoe, since they’re a bit heavy and not as comfortable as other travel shoes I’ve tried.

For that, I’d recommend a more supportive hiking boot.

Check out Best Travel Shoes: Travel Sandals, Walking Shoes, and Hiking Boots plus Zappos Review for more travel recommendations.

Best Walking Shoes for Walking and Traveling

Best Lightweight Slip On Shoes: Patagonia Women’s Advocate

But these are cute and while I’m not one to follow the trends, they are trendy.

The Simple Satire ecoSNEAKS are a fun addition to any wardrobe.

ecoSNEAKS sustainable sneakers by Simple Shoes

Quality footwear is essential when you’re hiking around new cities for six hours every day.

ecoSNEAKS are made of organic cotton, recycled paper pulp, and old car tire, which makes for a pretty sweet pair of sneakers.

Change Your Name on an Airline Ticket Lessons Learned

Change Name on Airline Ticket

Updated:

Change Your Name on an Airline Ticket – Last fall, I posted about my failed attempts to change my name on my American Airlines plane ticket.

In the end, I was able to travel on that ticket without paying a fee — but it wasn’t easy.

Read on to learn how to fly with your current ticket, without paying any fees, plus 5 tips for tips for flying without changing your ticket.

Change Your Name on an Airline Ticket

I bought an international plane ticket in March, got married in June, and changed my name in August.

My plane ticket was for December.

I called American Airlines three times to change my name, and they told me it would cost either $100 or $200 (depending on who I talked to) to change my name.

Because it was an international flight, the stakes were considerably higher.

Getting stuck in Miami is one thing.

Getting stuck in Belize is another altogether.

Plus, the ticket was multi-destination so that we could see family for the holidays before heading to Central America, which meant there were more tickets to be issued and more security lines to go through.

Suffice it to say, I was nervous.

The Twist

Then, fate was suddenly on my side. I found a way to sign up to get fast-tracked to get the elite Gold Status on American Airlines.

After I signed up, I called the Gold hotline — instead of the general customer service number — and was told I would probably be fine flying with my new passport, as long as I brought legal documentation (official name change document or marriage certificate) with me.

The representative still wouldn’t change my name on my ticket, but she did add a note to my file so that when I checked in for my flight, they would already know what to expect.

The fee wasn’t even mentioned.

The Decision

Bolstered by that conversation, I decided not to change my name on my ticket.

Worst case scenario, I would have some problems getting out of Belize.

It was a tough decision since I was flying internationally, but I figured there are far worse places to get stranded than a tropical destination surrounded by clear blue ocean.

I was able to print the boarding passes with no problem, but that wasn’t the part I was concerned about.

I was worried about security.

Armed with my new passport and driver’s license, a copy of my old passport, and my name change documentation, I held my breath as I approached the TSA security officer at the first airport.

Part of me was sure he wasn’t going to let me through.

He asked to see my legal documentation, carefully check it against my passport and ticket, asked me if I’d gotten married, then let me through.

And he was even friendly!

It went almost as smoothly at airport number two, though there was more hassle at the ticket issuing stage, then no hassle at airport number three on the way back.

I’d made it — without having to pay any fee!

The Disclaimer

I couldn’t put this post up without a disclaimer.

There’s no way I can know if my situation is unique, or if that’s the way it generally goes.

There are a number of factors that might have been different for me, that you should consider when making your decision about whether or not to pay the fee to change your name before you fly:

The airline you’re flying and its policies.

Do your research.

Elite status. My frequent flier status probably didn’t matter for security line purposes, but it definitely made the airline treat me differently.

Legal name change (including getting married).

I’m sure this would have been completely different if I had just put the wrong name, or misspelled my name, when buying my ticket.

Since I’d legally changed my name due to marriage, it was easier.

Maiden name on passport.

I took my maiden name as my middle name (and my entire name is on my passport), so my former first and last names, plus my new last name, were all on my passport.

Documentation.

I had an original copy of my name change document with me, which is what I showed the TSA officers.

Definitely carry yours with you.

5 Tips for Flying Without Changing Your Name on Your Airline Ticket

Call the airline and ask what their policy is.

Ask if they can change your name (it’s worth a shot) and when they say no, ask if they can add a note to your file so that check-in is easy.

Call back and see if you get a different result with a different agent (it didn’t work for me, but you might as well try).

Get there early.

Give yourself plenty of time to try to go through security with the ticket in your old name.

If it doesn’t work for some reason, go back to the airline counter and see if you can pay to change your name.

Bring all of the documentation you have.

Bring copies of old IDs (passport, driver’s license, other), as well as new IDs and your name change document or marriage certificate.

These are important documents so be sure to keep them safe.

Don’t update your name on either your driver’s license or your passport.

Keep one with your old name (preferably your passport) and use it to fly if you’ve already bought a ticket in your maiden name.

This wasn’t the case for me, but it would have made things easier!

Be nice.

I’ve found that being nice to people in the transportation industry gets you much further — literally.

Remember they have people yelling at them for things that usually aren’t their fault.

Sometimes if you’re nice, people are more willing to help you out.

I hope this helps people in a situation like mine!

Above all, keep your paperwork and IDs safely with you at all times.

How to Not Pay Airline Baggage Fees

In a desperate attempt to cover their costs, airlines across the US are charging for something that was once included in your ticket price: checked luggage.

Whether you’re flying overseas or regionally within the United States, airline baggage fees can add up quickly.

These days, it’s common to pay $25 each way for just one checked bag.

For a family of four, that’s $200 for a round-trip flight!

Thankfully, there are a few simple ways you learn how to not pay airline baggage fees.

Book with an Airline that Doesn’t Charge Baggage Fees

This may sound obvious, but when you’re comparing flights it’s tempting to go for what appears to be the cheapest option.

But with airline tickets, things aren’t always what they seem, and there can be hidden fees.

Before you book your flight, check the airline’s policy on checked luggage.

When you factor in the luggage fees, sometimes you’ll pay less by opting to fly with an airline that offers free checked luggage, even if the ticket is more expensive.

Learn how to find cheap airline tickets.

Thankfully, there are still a few airlines that don’t charge baggage fees.

Southwest Airlines seems to be the holdout, and we love them for it!

They still doesn’t charge for your first or second bag.

Even though the fare was a little bit higher, my husband and I used them earlier this year when we knew we couldn’t get around having two pieces of checked luggage each.

We saved over $100 each way by not paying fees for checking luggage.

While passengers flying on JetBlue and WestJet used to be able to check one piece of luggage for free.

Even when all the other airlines began charging — that is no longer the case.

They are both charging now.

It’s a good idea to pack light!

Fly Internationally

Thankfully, most airlines will still give you at least one free checked bag when flying internationally.

Delta, for example, offers one free piece of luggage when flying between the United States and most international destinations.

The only exception is the United States to Canada though it is free going to Mexico.

If you are in First Class or Business Class, it will be free to check one bag then too.

Not all airlines offer free checked baggage on international flights, so be sure to check before you get to the airport.

There are ways to travel green internationally and save money too.

Get a Frequent Flier Miles Credit Card

Under normal circumstances, I wouldn’t encourage anyone to get a credit card just for the card member perks.

But when you start to add up how much checked luggage fees can cost for frequent travelers, it makes sense for many people to do what they can to avoid the extra fees.

With Delta’s SkyMiles credit cards, you get one checked bag per person for each flight.

I really like that you don’t even have to use your card to book your ticket to get the free first checked bag.

Additionally, you can use the benefit for up to 9 people when they’re traveling under the eligible card member’s reservation.

United offers a similar program with the United MilagePlus Explorer card.

Most of these cards do have annual fees attached, so you’ll want to make sure that you’re using your card enough to actually save money.

If so, frequent flier miles cards are a great way to avoid airline baggage fees, especially if you frequently fly the same airline.

Go First Class or Business Class

If you’re really trying to get out of airline baggage fees (or if someone else is footing the bill!), fly first class.

Many airlines offer up to three free pieces of checked luggage for first class passengers.

Plus, you get the perks of the first class cabin — free cocktails, extra legroom, and attentive service.

You work so hard to get the best deals while traveling, make sure you take some time to learn how to save money on your car rental too.

There’s ways to save money when you travel so be sure to research before you buy.

A decade ago, even the most seasoned travelers wouldn’t have dreamed that they’d be paying extra for checked luggage.

Back then, when we purchased an airline ticket, we knew that it would cover the entire cost of our flight.

Times have changed, but there are still ways to avoid airline fees.

As more airlines start charging for what once was free, use these tips to get around airline baggage fees.

Find Cheap Airline Tickets: Cheat Sheet

Find Cheap Airline Tickets cheat sheet

Updated:

Find Cheap Airline Tickets – People often ask me “What’s the best search engine to find cheap airline ticket?”

The simple answer is that there is no one best search engine, rather, it depends on where you’re going and when you can go and your flexibility in both of these.

In short, you’ll find the cheapest airline ticket when you’re flexible about your dates and about your destination. Why non-stop flights are better
Find Cheap Airline Tickets cheat sheet

Find Cheap Airline Tickets

So, what I’ve done here is compile all the best search engines for finding cheap plane tickets.

They are categorized depending on what type of travel resource you’re looking for.

Ultimate List of Cheap Airline Ticket Search Engines.

Below I’ve listed the category of travel search engines/websites — for instance, International Travel Search Engines or Domestic Discount Airlines — then I’ve given a brief description of when to use those sites, and then I’ve listed the best sites within that category.

For people who frequently search for cheap airline tickets, there are a few sites and tools that may even be new to you — like those in the Market Comparison section.

Without further ado, I bring you the:

Find Cheap Airline Tickets Cheat Sheet

Can Americans Travel to Saudi Arabia

Can Americans travel to Saudi Arabia
Can Americans travel to Saudi Arabia

Market Comparisons/Buy or Wait

Before you buy a ticket, check out these sites to see average fares, price history, and if prices are rising or falling.

Again, check these sites out before you start looking into airfares to get an idea of what you should expect to pay.

Farewatch (Shows average fares)
Kayak (after searching click on ‘show chart of fare history’ in left hand corner)
Farecast (for tickets in the next 30 days shows if prices are rising/falling)

Aggregators

The best search engines for searching for airline tickets.

You don’t book through them, rather they redirect you to the airline’s homepage.

This is what makes them different from online travel agencies.

Kayak or Sidestep (same company now)
TripAdvisor
Farecast
FareCompare

International Searches

When you’re searching for an international ticket, I have found these search engines to be best for finding a cheap airline ticket.

Vayama
Mobissimo
Skyscanner
Momondo
Trabber
Trax
And Wotflight.com is a great place to look for cheap flights in Australia.

Non-Aggregators/Online Travel Agencies

These sites allow you to search for cheap tickets and buy through them.

This means that you deal with that company and not the airline if something goes wrong.

I generally advocate booking directly with the airline.

The online travel agencies may charge ticketing and booking fees for booking through them.

Orbitz and Farecast (30 day window)

Flexible Dates Flying on Weekends

If you’re looking for a flight on an upcoming weekend, these sites are best.

Kayak
CheapTickets
Orbitz

Flexible Destinations (including last minute travel)

If you don’t care where you’re going, you just want to go somewhere cheap, these sites list destinations with cheap airline ticket prices.

Last Minute (formerly Site59)
GoToday

Kayak Buzz
Farecast
Mobissimo Activity Search
Airfare Watchdog

Airport Parking

Finding parking at airports is critical to success in finding a cheap plane ticket.

Here are some sites that allow you to do that:

Holiday Extras offers low prices and great choice of Luton airport parking – both on-airport and off-airport locations.

Airport Transfers

Suntransfers offers airport transfers between airports and your destination – worldwide.

I hope you find this Cheat Sheet useful.

Please consider bookmarking it with your favorite bookmarking site, so that everyone can learn how to find a cheap airline ticket.

What are your favorite travel search engines?

I’m a bit of an airfare search engine geek.

I love searching websites and flight aggregators to try to find the cheapest plane ticket possible.

As I’ve become more conscious of my environmental impact, this also means searching for nonstop flights.

Unfortunately, I’ve found that many websites don’t make this easy.

As a green traveler you too should search for nonstop flights, since much of the fuel burned on airplanes occurs during take-off and landing.

So, to assist you in your efforts to search for nonstop flights I’ve put together this list of websites that offer 1-click non-top preference buttons on the front page of the sites.

On all of these websites you can check a box to indicate that you prefer nonstop flights.

Top Green Hotels For Honeymoon

Nonstop Flight Travel Search Engines: 1-Click

Kayak Cheap Flights
Sidestep
CheapTickets Flights
Booking Buddy
Orbitz Flights

For comparison, here are the websites that don’t offer front page no-stop preference buttons.

Most of these sites offer nonstop once you’ve done your initial search, but not before.

Airfares Flights
Farecast
Fare Compare
InsideTrip
Fare Chase
Mobissimo
Dohop
Sky Scanner
Vayama
Cheapo Air
Expedia
Travelocity
Momondo

I hope this list saves you time and energy searching for nonstop flights.

More importantly, I hope it saves the environment as more people choose to pass up multi-leg flights.

Best Search Engines for Flexible Travel: Search for Airfare 330 Days Out

When searching for plane tickets, you can save a ton of money by searching with flexible travel dates.

As part of our cheap travel tips series, I’m going to reveal my three favorite search engines for when you have very flexible travel dates.

All three of these search engines allow you to search with more than the standard flexible search of 1-3 days around your travel dates.

Instead, they allow you to search for flexible travel within the next 330 days.

Searching for flexible travel dates can save you literally hundreds of dollars on a flight.

For example, if looking at airfare from Washington, DC to San Francisco, if you have flexible travel dates for when to visit you could pay $219 to for a flight in June.

But, if your dates aren’t flexible — forcing you to leave a few days earlier or later — you would pay $319 for the cheapest flight.

This is how flexibility saves you money.

Again, very few travel search engines allow you great flexibility when searching for flights.

Usually the “flexible search” option is 1-3 days around your given date, but these search engines allow you the maximum flexibility — 330 days from today.

The three best are FareCompare, Kayak, and Travelocity.

Kayak for Flexible Travel

Kayak’s search function also shows a popup window when you type in your to/from cities.

Cons: Kayak’s flexible travel search is based on other’s recent searches– so the results they show aren’t necessarily fares that are still available for you to purchase.

This can be frustrating if you find a great fare, but then it’s no longer available.
Kayak Flexible Travel

FareCompare for Flexible Travel

I like FareCompare the best for flexible travel because it shows you the cheapest dates earliest in the searching process.

As soon as you type in your travel to/from airports, the cheapest and most expensive months to travel appear on the right hand side.

Then as soon as you click on the departure date, a calendar pops up. It’s fast and easy to follow.

Travelocity for Flexible Travel

Travelocity also has a great flexible travel search option that searches 330 days out.

It lists the very cheapest ticket price first (no matter what month it’s in), but I don’t like it as much for three reasons.

Travelocity Cons

First, it isn’t laid out in a format that works well for me.

I like the calendars that appear on both Kayak and FareCompare.

Why?

Because if it’s only $3 more to fly on a Friday versus a Thursday, I’m going to pay the extra $3.

With Travelocity it’s much harder to see the flexible travel dates that work well with a certain schedule.

Second, it takes 4 or 5 times as many clicks to choose your actual flight options — this gets cumbersome.

Third, Travelocity don’t include taxes/fees in their results.

Giving you an artificially reduced price (until the final screen).

Searching for airfare with flexible travel dates will save you tons of money on your next airline ticket.

Save Thousands with Flight, Hotel, and Rental Car Preferences

I almost always use Kayak search engine during some part of a trip planning process because I love Kayak’s search preferences.

So I’ve put together my favorite travel hacks that you can use on on Kayak flight, hotel, and rental car searches.

Kayak’s customization search bar is awesome, through TripAdvisor recently launched an aggregator that has pretty nifty search preferences as well (it may even top it).

The following tips show you how adjusting search preferences (on any travel search engine) will save you thousands of dollars.

Cheap Flights Search Tips

Adjust Leaving Time To Save on Transportation

Ensure that your flight departure/return times allow you to take public transportation (or is at an hour where a friend/family member can pick you up).

If your flight is leaving at 7 am out of Washington-Reagan Airport, the Metro won’t be open early enough for you to take it — resulting in a hefty cab fare.
flight times

Take Overnight Flights to Save on Accommodation

Check the “Red Eye/Overnight Flights” box to search for overnight flights.

While red eye flights aren’t the most enjoyable for sleeping, that $75-$200 you’ll save in hotel costs will be nice.

Choose Nearby Airports to Find Lower Cost Alternatives

Frequently nearby airports turn up cheaper fares.

Make sure you include them by checking the appropriate box when you search for your flight.

For example, in a recent search I would save $103 by flying into LaGuardia instead of JFK in New York.

Newark was $20 cheaper than JFK.

nearby airports

Include Taxes and Fees

Taxes and fees add up — even though Orbitz, Expedia, et al recently suspended some fees.

Kayak automatically includes these, so there should be no surprises when you click through to buy.

Review Airline Fees (e.g. Checked Bag Fees)

TripAdvisor includes these in their search results.

Kayak has a nice summary that’s frequently updated.

You can save anywhere from $15-$200 depending on number of checked bags, snacks and drinks, and pet fees by carefully comparing airlines’ fees.

Cheap Hotels Search Tips – Choose a Hotel Nearby

If you’re in town for a convention, wedding, to visit relatives, or any other event where you’ll be frequenting one place more than most, choose a hotel near that location.

Kayak allows you to enter an address, or choose from a landmark, to search for a hotel nearby.

Look for an Airport Shuttle

Choosing a hotel with a free airport shuttle can easily save $10-$50, and you’ll avoid the hassle of a cab or rental car.

Find Hotels with Fitness

Search for a hotel with a free fitness center to avoid shelling out extra cash to use the treadmill. Savings: $10-$15/day.

Search for Hotels with Internet

Find hotels with internet, then narrow it down to find free internet to save $5-$15/day.

Check Parking (if you’re renting a car)

If you’re renting a car or driving, you’ll save up to $40/day (depending on the city) by finding a hotel with free or reasonably priced parking.

Bonus: In this economy, give the hotel a call and negotiate for free parking if they don’t already offer it.

Cheap Rental Car Search Tips

Adjust Miles per Gallon

Save money and the environment when you choose a car with better gas mileage.

Check the Unlimited Miles Box

If you’re driving a really long way (like Minneapolis to Chicago), check the unlimited miles box to save a ton (up to $0.89/mile).

Types of travel coupons and codes

Here’s some information that’s good to know about using travel coupons and codes and discounts on traveling.

Travel Coupons and Codes that Set Dollar Discount

Some online travel sites offer coupon codes for a certain dollar amount off.

For instance, there are numerous online travel booking sites that will give you a $10 or $15 discount with a coupon code.

It doesn’t matter if you spend $100 or $10,000 the discount will still be the same set price.

Travel Coupons and Codes that are Percent Discount

Most car rental coupon codes come with a percent discount.

Occasionally you may find cruise coupons with a percent discount, but the majority of the time only car rental companies offer a percent discount.

Travel Coupons and Codes that are Package Deal Discount

Many of the “travel coupons” you’ll find will actually be a package deal discount.

Though they are frequently referred to as percentage discounts.

This means that by renting a car, booking airfare, and hotel all with the same agency you are saving money.

It’s not quite the same thing as a coupon, since it’s usually offered to everyone visiting that site, but these can still sometimes be a good deal.

More frequently, however, you’ll find a travel coupon offered on a package deal – then you really may be looking at a bargain.

Travel Coupons and Codes that do not have Booking Fees

Again, this isn’t technically a discount, but look for sites that offer no booking fees as you’ll save money.

travel coupons and codes

Rip Offs and Scams with Travel Coupons and Codes

Before we start posting travel coupons, I want to make it perfectly clear that sometimes coupons don’t mean a good deal.

Some companies and online travel agencies have a higher base price to start with, or add extra fees – so even with a coupon code the bottom line isn’t all that great.

It would be like using a coupon for an item at a gourmet grocery store – you might have been better off shopping without a coupon at the discount supermarket.

Please beware when using travel coupons and continue to be a contentious consumer.

Best Travel Coupons and Codes

The best travel coupons are the ones that you can use.

If you aren’t taking a discount international flight with Vayama, then there’s no point using a coupon with them.

If you know where you’re going or what company you’re booking with, click here for coupons and travel discounts that specifically match your needs.

But, if you’re flexible with where to travel, then you may get an amazing deal with any variety of coupons.

Where to Find Travel Coupons and Codes

Another great place to find discount travel codes is by subscribing to the newsletters of online travel agencies you frequently use.

Lastly, one of my favorite places to get coupon codes (Travel and otherwise) is on RetailMeNot.

Consumers submit codes and then vote on whether or not certain codes worked for them.

Secrets Hotels Don’t Want You to Know in Finding a Cheap Hotel Room

There is one thing that hotels don’t want you to remember when you book a room with them:

You can (almost) always cancel your hotel 24-48 hours before you are scheduled to stay there.

This means that if the hotel room price drops or you find a cheaper room at a different hotel, you can cancel and rebook for the cheaper price.

When planning a trip where you’ll be staying at a hotel here are the steps you should take:

Search Aggregators

As soon as you know your trip dates, search an aggregator like Kayak (you can click on Kayak to also search Orbitz, Expedia, and Travelocity at the same time).

Sort through the results to find a hotel that meets your needs for dates, location, and price.

Check the Hotel’s Website for Additional Specials

Sometimes hotel websites will list additional specials or codes (like AAA discount codes) that you can’t always find on the aggregators.

Ensure a Fully Refundable Cancellation Policy

Read the fine print to be sure that you can cancel your room and note when you must cancel.
travel coupons and codes
photo credit: The Consumerist

Book the Hotel Room

Book the hotel room directly with the hotel, assuming they give you the best price.

Set up Price Tracking

With an online travel tool, you can track the price of a hotel.

Once you’ve chosen your hotel, sign-in to Yapta and start tracking the hotel price.

Yapta will then alert you if the price drops.

If it drops, call the hotel to see if they’ll lower your specific room price (this is easiest).

If not, book with the cheaper priced room and then cancel your original room booking.

Generally hotel rates don’t fluctuate as much or as often as airline ticket prices do.

But when they do drop, it’s easy to cancel and get the better deal.

Travel coupons and codes aren’t always the easiest to find, especially ones that aren’t expired.

But it’s worth it as travel is expensive.

Even a small percentage off is worth using.

Here’s great 7 Tips for Finding Last Minute Travel Deals.

Learn How to Find Cheap Airline Tickets

Note: We only recommend products we’ve tried out and liked.

We do link through affiliate links when they are available.

We are not compensated to provide opinion on products, services, websites, or other topics.

We will only recommend products or services that we believe, based on our experience, are worthy of endorsement.

Any product claim, statistic, quote or other representation about a product or service should be verified with the manufacturer or provider.

Read our full policies page.

Why Use a Travel Agent? Learn Why You Might Need One

In recent decades, the only way to research flights and airline prices was through a travel agency.

Now, the Internet enables anyone to prepare their own itinerary, so why use a travel agent?

There are lots of reasons to use a travel agency.

I definitely consider myself a do-it-yourself traveler, especially international travel.

I’m on track to visit 30 countries by my 30th birthday.

So people are surprised when I tell them that I sometimes use a travel agent.

Of course, there are times when I opt to book my own travel.

For example, we’re visiting friends in Orlando soon, and I bought the tickets online directly through the airline.

If you’re taking a trip within the United States, I suggest using a website like Expedia or Priceline to buy the tickets instead of going through a travel agent.

Taking a cruise?

By all means, book away.

Why Use a Travel Agent

So why use a travel agent?

If you are going on a more complicated trip — maybe long-term travel or a luxury eco-friendly vacation — a travel agent can be a great resource.

Advantages of using a travel agent

Travel Agents Know More Than You Do

An experienced travel agent will have the knowledge and connections that are helpful when planning expensive or long-term travel.

They will know what airports to avoid and how much time you need between flights.

Planning a trip to an unfamiliar destination?

A travel agent can give you advice on what tour guide to hire, how much to pay, and what area of town you’ll want to stay in.

Travel agents stay up-to-date on latest hotel openings, new nonstop flights routes, and travel deals.

Travel Agents Have Access

In addition to having more information than the rest of us, travel agents also have more access to people and resources that will make your trip go smoothly.

We had some luggage issues on our honeymoon in Greece.

On the last day of our honeymoon, rather than lounging on the beach, I was camped out the lobby of the hotel trying to talk to the airline.

Then it dawned on me that I could call our travel agent for help.

One quick call later, he was talking the airline and resolving our luggage problem.

Travel agents also have access to locals and maintain relationships with them.

If you’re going to a foreign country where English is not the first language, an English-speaking guide will be very much appreciated.

A travel agent will be able to suggest guides that not only speak English, but will be a match for your needs and interests.

It sure beats scrambling to find someone once you get to your destination.

Travel Agent Can Save You Money

There is a common misconception that a travel agent is a luxury that most of us can’t afford.

But the truth is, a good travel agent can actually save you money.

Often, for international flights, our travel agent comes in with prices lower than we’d get booking directly through the airline — this is especially true when we’re doing a flexible flight search.

Sometimes the financial savings comes in when we’re able to avoid cancellation or change ticket fees.

When my husband and I got married, we were living in South Africa.

I was hoping to get my new passport from the South African Embassy in Cape Town, but I ended up having to renew it on a short trip back to America.

I was planning on just carrying all of the documentation (old passport, new passport, and marriage license) on my flight home.

However, when I went to the passport agency to get my new passport in my married name, they informed me that the airline probably would not let me board the flight since it was booked in my maiden name.

Since our travel agent booked the flight for us, I was able to call her immediately.

While we waited at the passport agency, she made a few phone calls to sort out the situation.

She called me back in 30 minutes to tell me that she had worked with the airline to change the name on my plane ticket, and even convinced the airline to waive any fees.

It was great to know that she was on our side, advocating for us and saving us money.

Travel Agents Protect Your Investment

There are definitely trips that are all about the adventure — the mishaps and hiccups along the way are part of the fun.

But then are the trips where you want to do everything you can to make sure your vacation goes as planned.

Maybe it’s a trip you’ve been saving for or a vacation to celebrate an anniversary.

That’s where a travel agent comes in.

For a lot of us, a trip to Australia or an African safari are once-in-a-lifetime experiences.

An experienced travel agent will make sure that your trip goes smoothly, and that your travel investment is protected.

Why Use a Travel Agent

There are so many advantages to using a travel agent that you might only realize when a problem arises.

You will be glad you have one on your side.

How to Find Cheap Airline Tickets

How to Find Cheap Airline Tickets, the ultimate guide to saving money on plane travel.

Will help you save time and your hard-earned money every time you buy a plane ticket.

If you’ve traveled lately, you know that plane ticket prices are all over the place.

One day an airline will promote a huge sale, but then the next day ticket prices are even lower.

Then the day after that ticket prices jump to three times the price they were two days ago.

Confusing, right?

Add to this is the enormous number of airfare search engines on the web today.

  • Should you use Kayak or CheapTickets or Expedia or NewestGreatestAirfareSearch?
  • How do you know if you’re getting the best ticket price?
  • Should you search all of them or just one?
  • What if you buy a ticket and the price drops the next day?
  • What if you buy a ticket and the price drops by half a week later?
  • How do you know what a good price is?

All of these issues make searching for airfare complicated.

It’s incredibly easy to get so tangled up in the process of finding a cheap plane ticket that you just give up, shut your eyes, and press buy — hoping you didn’t get a bad deal. Why non-stop flights are better

But what if there was a way to stay organized and save money?

Note: For a free Cheat Sheet of the best search engines to use for nonstop flights, check out Find Cheap Airline Tickets Cheat Sheet, which I highly recommend and the Flexible Travel: Best Airlines Search.

How to Find Cheap Airline Tickets

Create a personalized, automated system for searching for plane tickets

We know you’re busy and don’t have time to waste scouring countless search engines trying to keep track of the cheapest airline ticket that meets your time table.

We’ve been there: backtracking and hunting. It’s time-consuming and frustrating.

“Didn’t I just see this fare for cheaper on Orbritz?” or “What happened to the flight option that left at 2:30pm?”

Master airfare search engines

Master airfare search engines
There are a lot of websites and informational products out there that tell you that XYZ Travel Search is the absolute best travel search engine.

Guess what?

In reality, there are dozens of great travel sites.

And many are the “best” at something, depending on your needs.

Are you looking for a flight that leaves tomorrow, or any time next month?

To a particular destination, or just somewhere with a beach?

Depending on what you’re looking for, different tools will help you find the cheapest ticket.

How to Find Cheap Airline Tickets may not be for you:

If You Buy First Class Tickets

If you like buying first class tickets, won’t be able to help you.

We can help to find the cheapest tickets every time, which are usually in the main cabin.

If You Have Hundreds of Thousands of Frequent Flyer Miles

If you are a frequent business traveler, and buy all of your airline tickets with miles, you aren’t going to benefit from this guide.

4 Reasons Why you need to Find Cheap Airline Tickets

More than just about anything else in the world, I love exploring new countries, tasting new foods, and experiencing new cultures.

But I do nonprofit work and am getting ready to go to law school in the fall, so I don’t have a lot of money to waste.

For me, a top priority is affordable travel, and I want all travelers to feel like they can take the trips they love.

I’m Committed to Green Travel

While flying isn’t the greenest way to get around, we advocate simple steps you can take to travel greener (learn more about our mission) — even when you’re flying.

But eco travel isn’t just about transportation; a big part of green travel is exploring other cultures, foods, and economies.

And most people choose to explore these other cultures while on a vacation that includes a plane ride.

I think a big reason people don’t travel and learn about other cultures is because they think it’s more expensive than it is.

I wrote this ebook because I want to help others experience new cultures and foods, and because I want travel to be financially feasible for everyone.

I Like Systems That Keep Me Organized

A large piece to Find Cheap Airline Tickets is showing you a system — not just throwing a bunch of links at you.

Too often I have lost money and time because I have spent hours searching for cheap tickets.

I would search one day, then decide not to buy; then I search the next day, and maybe a week later, and then would miss a good deal because I waited too long or didn’t stay organized.

Then one day I realized finding cheap tickets doesn’t have to be arduous.

So I created this process for myself, in order to save myself time, money, and honestly a ton of hassle.

I Hate Seeing Others Pay Too Much

Honestly, it drives me crazy when people pay booking fees when they could have booked for free.

I want you to have more money to spend on food, souvenirs, and activities when you’re actually in a place.

Save money on your ticket, and you’ll have more funds once you’re there.
Save money on your travel
Just to summarize: I don’t want you to waste your time and money.

Waste of any kind is not good for our environment.

I’m sure someone somewhere can prove that when you save dollars and when you save time you’re really saving the Earth.

We’ve provided free content here at Go Green Travel Green since 2008 and will continue to do so.

Photo credit:  Kossy@FINEDAYS and Widerbergs

Green Business Travel for Frequent Business Travelers

Green business travel Hacks

Updated:

Green business travel – When you travel for work or pleasure, it’s important to consider your impact.

Here are simple tips for green business travel.

Before I left my job to travel to Argentina, I traveled several times a month for work.

While I enjoyed seeing new places, meeting new people, and sampling local foods, I felt guilty about the impact my frequent business travel had on the planet.

green business travel

photo credit: vipeido

Thus, I did everything I could to be a greener business traveler.

Here are some of my Green business travel Hacks

Teleconference

Before you decide a business trip is absolutely necessary, check first to see if a teleconference could happen in place of meeting in person.

Sometimes the people you are working with are just as happy to have a tele- or video- conference and it saves you time and expense while having less environmental impact.

Take the Train or Bus

If you can, take a bus or train, instead of an airplane, to your destination.

I took the Acela fast train from Washington, D.C. to New York several times.

It was less of a hassle (no security lines, easier to get to, fewer delays) and a fun way to see the East Coast.

Fly Nonstop

When a train isn’t an option, fly nonstop.

You reduce your emissions by up to 50% with nonstop travel.

Schedule Trips Back-to-Back

If you have several different cities to travel to, schedule the trips back to back.

While this can get tiring, you will save time and resources by not flying home in between.

Take Public Transportation to Get Around

Once your at your destination, take public transportation to get around.

In many cities taking the subway or metro can be faster than a cab inching through traffic.

Public transportation has come a long way, and it’s a great way to travel.

Hop in an EcoCab

Most major cities now have hybrid taxis and eco cabs.

If you must take a taxi, see if this is an option.

Share Transportation

If you’re traveling with co-workers, schedule your travel at the same time so that you can share taxi rides or rental cars.

Hybrid Rental Car

If renting a car is the only option that makes sense, get a hybrid rental car.

The prices usually fall within a company’s per diem and you can justify it with gas savings.

Green Hotel

Green hotels are a great option for business travel.

I personally like the Kimpton Hotel chain. Learn about LEED and green hotels for the best options.

Green your Stay

How Online Learning Helps Green Travelers Stay Green

When staying at a hotel, do everything you can to use fewer resources.

This includes hanging your towel, adjusting the thermostat, and turning off the lights.

Bring a Water Bottle

You know how much I love my Klean Kanteen stainless steel water bottle and insulated stainless steel water bottles.

They are sleek enough for professional settings.

Another option is to reuse your disposable water bottle several times over the course of a short business trip.

Carry One Bag

If you’re a frequent business traveler you probably having packing in one bag down to a science, but if not, check out our tips for packing light.

How to Travel Green in 4 Easy Steps

Understand Why You Should Travel Green.

You’re probably not going to want to learn how to travel green if you don’t know why you should.

We believe that you should travel responsibly because it’s good for the environment, it’s good for local economies, and it’s good for you.

Sustainable Adventures: How I’ve Decided to Travel and Protect the Planet!

Check out these posts for more about why you should travel green:

31 Reasons to Travel Green: In Pictures

15 Reasons to Travel Green

Recall the basic principle: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle.

In it’s simplest form, the answer to “How do I travel green?”

Can be summed up with the phrase: “reduce, reuse, recycle.”

When it comes to being a green traveler you will generally focus on reducing your impact where ever you go.

But, it’s just as important to reuse and recycle whenever you can.

photo credit: e-magic

Know the Categories Where You Can Reduce.

Generally, you can reduce your impact in Transportation, Lodgings, Food and Restaurants, and Activities.

By being aware of these categories, you can systematically go through your travel plans and green them.

While Traveling, Commit to Minimizing Your Impact in These Areas.

Check out some of our favorite posts about minimizing your impact.

It’s really quite easy to travel responsibly. And frankly, it’s fun.

You meet lots of new people and see plenty of new sights that you wouldn’t otherwise.

As we continue on with this series we’ll go into more details about how to travel green, like how to make a green travel plan or about green vacation planning.

Not sure where to start?

Favorite Things About Green Travel

Eco-conscious travel is great because it benefits the environment, but there’s also a more selfish advantage to it.

Whether you’re journeying across the world or to a neighboring region in your own country, traveling green can enhance your overall experience.

5 favorite things about environmentally-friendly travel.

Food.

I struggle to be a vegetarian (and often fail) when I travel because I believe that to fully experience a culture or destination, you should try local foods — even foods you might not ever eat at home.

Sampling cuisines that people in the area you’re visiting have been eating for hundreds, even thousands, of years will give you insight into the culture and enhance your travel experience.

Plus, you’ll support local business and eat locally grown and raised food, which is better for the economy and the environment.

Drink.

I love trying locally produced beverages for the same reasons I enjoy indulging in local foods.

With alcohol, it’s fun to see where the locals drink and what the vibe is like.

And it helps that I always feel more comfortable striking up conversation with strangers after I’ve had a drink or two.

Goods.

Perusing the local market is always fun, even if I don’t buy anything.

I enjoy seeing crafts the locals create, and have been creating for generations.

Plus, you can interact with the people — farmers and craftsmen alike — whose goods you’re buying, which is an interaction that can be harder to come by in the U.S.

Remember, wherever in the world you are, to only buy sustainable souvenirs.

People.

By staying in hostels and locally owned lodging, taking public transportation, and dining in non-chain restaurants, you get to know other travelers and locals.

Being an environmentally-conscious traveler gives you almost limitless opportunities to strike up conversations with people you may never have met staying in a huge hotel, or traveling by car.

Nature.

There’s no experience quite like hiking through the mountains and looking down over electric blue Moraine Lake in Canada, or swimming under a waterfall at the top of a mountain in Belize.

I think one of the best ways to experience any destination is on foot or bike — you’re close to the land, where you can observe details, rather than whizzing by them in a bus or car.
green business travel

Green business travel is easy

Business travel can take you anywhere.

It’s your responsibility to be as green as you can be getting there, getting back and during your stay.

Hopefully you will find green business travel is easy to continue while you are back at home.

Green Transportation ~ 4 Principles to Help You Choose

How do you go about choosing green transportation when thousands of websites have launched carbon emissions calculators?

Often these sites only lead to more questions, like.

How do you choose the most eco-friendly route?

Does a bus, plane, train, boat/ship, or car emit less carbon?

And why do some sites say that flying produces fewer carbon emissions than driving?

Basically, how can you be more green on the road?

These are all valid questions.

When I started researching carbon footprints, I was astounded by the widely varying results I got from different carbon footprint calculators.

Therefore, to help you choose the most environmentally-friendly form of transport, I’ve put together 4 principles for choosing green transportation.

Ways to Choose Green Transportation

These principles rest on the basic assumption that you cannot realistically walk or bike to your destination.

Test an Emissions / Carbon Footprint Calculator

The first step to choosing an option for green transportation to reduce your carbon footprint is to do some basic research.

There are numerous carbon calculators available online and Climate Outreach and Information Network has put together a list of the best carbon calculators.

In the transportation/travel category they rank the following as top air and land travel calculators.

Top 5 Air Travel Calculators

Resurgence.org
Chooseclimate.org
MSN.com
Coinet.org.uk (author note: I can’t find the actual calculator on this website)
Nef.org.uk

Top 5 Land Travel Calculators

Resurgence.org
Co2balance.com
Carbonfootprint.com
Carbonbalanced.org
Clevel.co.uk

I personally like Choose Climate because it allows you to enter the type of ticket and plane, but it’s not the prettiest of the calculators.

Or if you like visuals you might like this calculator by the UK’s Transport Direct.

However, when considering this calculator read the next three principles.

green transportation photo credit: Redvers

Be a Skeptic

Let’s face it, there’s money to be made in the world of “green.”

And many of the organizations that offer carbon calculators offer them for just that purpose – $$$.

Moreover, while calculating carbon emissions should be an exact science, no one seems to have perfected it yet.

One of the reasons this variation occurs is because calculators differ in their assumptions of size of plane, number of passengers, coach/first class, number of stops, and one-way or return flight.

Because of the possible ulterior motives and the lack of precision in calculators, don’t immediately make your transportation decision on the results of a single calculator.

Consider the Impact of Flying High

Another piece of the puzzle when considering green transportation is the difference in carbon emissions on the ground versus in the air.

Planes fly higher in the atmosphere, thus their emissions are much harsher on the environment.

Oxford University estimates that “the full climate impact of aviation is deemed to be between 2 and 4 times greater than CO2 alone.”

Use Common Sense

The bottom line is, use your best judgment.

Trying to consider ways for green transportation is a great first step.

A train is going to be better than a bus which will be better than a car which will be better than a plane.

And the more people that fit into these vehicles the better.

You also need to think about what makes sense for your location.

Going from Washington, D.C. to New York City via Amtrak is reasonable for most people (in terms of the time the trip takes), but going from Washington, D.C. to San Francisco on a train isn’t realistic for many folks.

In the end, you have to weigh your personal wants and needs against your impact on the environment.

Traveling Green to Your Favorite Gaming Conventions

Many people who enjoy gaming want to take their passion to the road and visit as many gaming conventions as possible, or at least those that interest them the most.

But gaming conventions take place all around the world and travelling extensively or even a little can involve leaving a significant carbon footprint impact upon the environment, so how can green gamer’s travel to their favorite gaming conventions?

Getting around gaming conventions

If you are relatively local to a gaming convention, then travelling to the venue in an ecologically-friendly manner should not cause too much of a problem.

You could take a bicycle ride to the event if you feel you are fit enough and have confidence to travel on busy roads.

You could also work out alternative routes that take you through back roads and countryside which may make your journey one of discovery as well as of fun.

Not only will you be exercising by cycling to your local gaming convention, but you will leave virtually no carbon footprint on the world.

If you do not feel comfortable in working out your own route, then see if there are any bike tour companies who can guide you.

But what if your favorite gaming convention is a way away?

Perhaps you really want to go to Blizzcon in Anaheim, CA, the convention created by Bobby Kotick and his company Activision Blizzard, who have created some of the most diverse and engaging video games on the planet and who founded the charity Call of Duty Endowment, but you do not live anywhere near there?

By the way, it is a big year for BlizzCon as it is the convention’s tenth anniversary and the twenty-fifth anniversary for Blizzard.

But anyway, cycling to the convention is probably asking a bit much, but if you do have to drive, perhaps you could rent or invest in a low carbon vehicle, such as an electric car.

If you become the owner of an electric car, it is highly likely you will be entitled to some incentives during the purchase process, and will have far lower running costs in terms of fuel.

The key to getting the most economically out of an electric car is to maintain a fairly constant speed and it also reduces your carbon footprint.

If, on the other hand, the gaming convention you want to attend is abroad, then you have two main options: either to fly or to go by sea.

Air travel is notorious for being a huge polluter, but there are some ways you can make a contribution to lowering the carbon footprint.

For example, you can fly economy class, and this lowers your carbon footprint because more people are able to travel in the one airplane, so the damage is spread.

You could also work out if you need to travel the whole distance to the gaming convention by plane.

Could you, for example, take a short flight to an area that has good road connections and perhaps cycle the rest of the way?

Going by sea to a gaming convention is perhaps something of a luxury choice, as it will undoubtedly take longer to travel and you may well ask how that is good for lowering carbon footprints.

The only way this is so is if you consider travelling on smaller boats rather than the usual floating palaces that are cruise ships.

If time and money is not a consideration for you when travelling to a gaming convention abroad, perhaps in Europe, you could take the opportunity to work in a vacation and see something of the countries you pass by, as well as getting up close and personal with wildlife.

If you are planning on attending a number of gaming conventions in Europe, you could ditch the car and the plane and travel by train or even bus.

Both trains and buses are considered to be much more energy efficient than other motorized forms of travel, and can have the added advantage of having quicker journey times because you do not have to factor in the time spent at airports getting through security and waiting at the dreaded baggage carousel.

If you care about the impact we humans have on our planet, but do not want to give up attending gaming conventions wherever they may be in the world, then you can find ways to travel to them that are environmentally friendly, and which may even be better for your finances.