Guest post by Nan Fischer
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Photo by Nan Fisher (source: desertverde.com)

On the road again! I’m getting ready to take my daughter back to school in Arizona. I’ll be gone from Saturday through Wednesday to scope out jobs and places to live just south of Flagstaff, where it is warmer than Taos. This in MY spring break! And here are a few of my eco-friendly travel tips:

> Bring your own coffee cup. I always carry a mug that I use for breakfast and the hotel’s 24 hour tea and coffee. Last weekend, I bought an insulated coffee cup with a lid, so I can drive and sip driving energy consciously. One of my green sins has been buying coffee along the way in disposable styrofoam cups. That is a thing of the past now!

For water, I fill two recycled one-gallon jugs at home, and bring a water bottle. I make tea or coffee with this if the hotel doesn’t offer it. I never know what the hotel water is like. I don’t want to drink unfiltered city water, and I know some hotels in the desert soften our hard water. At least I know what I’m drinking when it’s water from home.

> If you are staying for several days, do not have housekeeping make your beds and replace your towels every day. You don’t do this at home, so why do it when you are away? Some hotels I have been in recently have a sign in the bathroom telling you where to put towels you do need replaced (usually on the floor). Housekeeping does laundry ALL DAY! They are folding towels at 6 PM and beyond. Imagine the water use with that much laundry! Do your part to save water and energy, and reuse your towels and change your sheets once a week, just like at home.

I bring my own beach towels for the pool. They are bigger than a hotel towel, and the laundry is my responsibility when I get home.

> If you use the hotel’s plastic laundry bag, save it to bring next time. Or bring your own, preferably a fabric one, even an old pillow case, that you can wash when you get home.

> If you use the hotel soap, shampoo and lotion, bring it home. They will just throw it away. Imagine the trash from throwing away soap that got used once and half-empty shampoo bottles! These little bars and bottles have come in handy at home when we’ve run out. You can also save them for your next trip, or bring your own. I do.

> More eco-friendly than a hotel, go camping or stay with friends!

By Nan Fischer

Nan Fischer has been living green for 35 years and shares ideas on green building, organic gardening and eco-living here and on her blog, desert verde. She is a Certified EcoBroker, a Realtor® with extensive training in green homes, in Taos, New Mexico.

Nan is also on twitter: @nan_fischer