Saturday, August 25, 2007

Green Travel- On the Cheap

Just having gotten back from vacation, I found a lot of ways to travel on the cheap and environmentally friendly! We took a road trip on the old highways of Texas.
For lodging we have stayed in KOA "Camping Cabins" where you bring your own bedding and share a central restroom, supplying your own toiletries. We have also stayed in restored motels, and in State park cabins. Surpisingly, there are quite a few of these around, if you book in advance. Some of the ones we stayed in were built by the Civilian Conservation Corps and we also stayed in yurt. Of course, camping is always "least impact," but we mostly opted for A/C in the desert heat!
We brought a lot of our own food and snacks and looked for rooms with kitchenettes or camp sites where we could cook our meals. We were able to save quite a few meals out with strategy and our ice chest. We tried to eat at local places that would have vegetables and avoid fast food. I really noticed a plethera of picnic areas all along the highways. I also noticed large trees planted every 10 miles or so along the old highways; you can tell many people pull up there to cool off and eat lunch. It is easy to have a quick picnic and move on down the road.
One of the challenges of vacationing out of the City is access to fresh fruits and vegetables (not to mention organics, which were completely out of the picture for the most part). Many small towns barely have a grocery store; we unsuccessfully tried to keep an eye out for farmers' markets. I won't even begin to mention the lack of recycling options (which I gave up on). I was shocked at the fact that many people who live in these areas are forced to drive hours away to get dry goods and groceries. While I was happy to be 2 days away from the last Wal-mart I saw (and believe me- the towns' cultural difference without a Wal-mart are like night and day!), I was left wondering about the millions of rural folks that do not have access to organic foods or basic recycling. This could lead many people to eating a lot of Convenience store foods, leading to poor health and obesity.
Sight seeing:
We are very interested in Vernacular Architecture and history; so we visited a lot of State parks, Missions, and Forts. These places are surprisingly affordable. We noticed that if you pay to get into a State Park for the day, you can have access to any other State park as well. Well, of course, we stopped at every state park on our route almost!
What do you do to consider the environment a save $$$ on your travels?

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