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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Because of the filter inside, this bottle is a bit clunky, which might make it awkward for some athletic activities.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
Way back when, in order to book airline tickets, you almost always had to use a travel agent.
The internet has changed all that — cutting out the middleman. It enables consumers to compare prices, dates, etc. to get the most convenient and best pricing.
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.
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.
This guide 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 board.
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.
And then there is the luggage. How many carry-on items can you bring? What size? How much is it to check a bag? Do you want to pay in advance to check your bag?
There’s more! Where will you sit on the airplane. Will you pay for an upgraded seat?
Do you want to add on the insurance option?
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?
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.