Eco-friendly travel

According to research from the Green Hotel Association, a Texas organization that promotes ecological awareness in the hospitality industry, 43 million American travelers say they are concerned about the environment. As a result, the travel industry is making efforts to promote green initiatives. In today's travel environment, it is not difficult for consumers to be more environmentally friendly.

Car rental companies Hertz, Budget and Avis add more fuel efficient cars to their fleet, and many limousine companies use hybrid cars. Hertz promotes almost 35,000 in its Green Collection fleet. While 100% of Budget car hire in economy, compact and intermediate categories and 98% of standard and full size car classes have met strict US EPA guidelines and are SmartWay certified. Each vehicle receives an air pollution score and a greenhouse gas score on a scale of 1-10. For the SmartWay designation, a vehicle must have 6 or better on both scores and have a total score of at least 13. At Avis, about half of the fleet has a fuel efficiency rating of 28 miles per gallon or better (freeway). A quarter of the fleet is rated at 30 miles per gallon (freeway) or better.

The Fairmont hotel chain offers in-room information, recycling boxes, bed linen and towel replacements in select locations, energy-efficient lighting and water-saving shower heads, toilets and tap air conditioners. Their eco-kitchen menus feature local, seasonal and organically grown food where possible. Special menus for Eco-Meet may also include a 50 percent reduction in animal proteins, supplemented with vegetable proteins by meal functions. Select Fairmont hotels and resorts have their own herb garden or the opportunity to customize the kitchen to use spices locally grown with dishes using these ingredients. Emphasis is placed on healthy, environmentally friendly and delicious food.

Aloft Hotels, a member of the Starwood Hotel collection, opened its first location in Canada in 2008 and now has 38 locations around the world offering a unique hotel experience. Aloft is really about the self-sufficient traveler who has a lot of energy, a positive mood and absolutely technically smart design focused.

The experience at their location in Lexington, Massachusetts begins on arrival, with park-like landscape architecture providing the chance for a breath of fresh air. Premium parking spaces are allocated hybrid cars to reward the most environmentally friendly guests. Guest rooms feature natural materials such as cork and sustainable wood tiles that are integrated into the hotel's design. Their pools even use a cleaner, greener saline solution.

Australia's award-winning resort just 45 minutes north of Cairns and just south of Port Douglas, Thala Beach Lodge is located on the only private beach in the area. It provides the perfect place to explore the Great Barrier Reef, private coastal beaches and tropical rainforest, with individual private bungalows overlooking the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park, World Heritage listed rainforest and lush tropical beaches.

At a time of great concern for fragile environments, Thala Beach Lodge prides itself on having achieved the highest environmental certification accreditation through its sustainable practices and environmental sensitivity.

Hotel Eco Paraiso is located on one of the most fascinating Mexican biological reserves, located on a 3-mile-long virgin beach. The hotel has bungalows overlooking the emerald green Gulf of Mexico.

Celestun, Yucatan, Mexico is a main feeding area for Pink Flamingo and countless species of waterfowl and terrestrial birds. A special biosphere reserve was adopted in 1989. By definition, this is a zone with one or more ecosystems that have not been changed by humans.

At the Buck Island Reef National Monument, the reef that surrounds was named America's first ever underwater national monument in 1961, which naturally has resulted in an ecosystem so thriving and well-preserved that 30,000 visitors a year flock to see it, making it the single most popular attraction on St. Croix in the US Virgin Islands.

Eco-friendly vacations are numerous, and if you are willing to adjust your travel dates for your vacation, you are among the 61 percent of Americans who, in order to save money, are willing to travel during "off peak" periods where prices may be more favorable. This trend seems to exceed all age categories. Although the weather conditions may not be perfect, the savings money travelers can realize by traveling in low season represent a valuable sum.