Savvy Travel Decisions

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To forget our economic woes, we, as a nation, have developed an obsession with a trend toward adopting a “green” lifestyle.

If one’s reference to green is to travel with greenbacks, the American citizens’ wallet has become painfully thin. Soon, the rest of the world will be demanding that we continue to dole out our continued generous U.S. foreign aid not in U.S. dollars but instead in Euros! It’s puzzling that we, the benevolent U.S.A, continue to accept massive Chinese monetary prop-ups of our own economy and simultaneously continue the generous pipeline outflow of foreign aid to other nations, including nations that burn our flag. Does this help reduce the national debt? 

The trendy “travel green” movement pleads for you to reduce your consumption of water: turn off the spigot when brushing your teeth, use energy efficient (according to whose definition?) this and that, change your light bulbs, shorten your shower time, agree to three days of dirty towels & linens in your $350 hotel room, re-cycle trash, turn off lights and reduce heat or air-conditioning when leaving your hotel room, etc., etc.

When traveling, do you part for the ecologically charged “Green” movement:  

  1. Immediately after checking into your hotel, call the front desk and plead with them not to provide you with clean sheets and fresh towels daily. Howard Hughes would be horrified! Some hotels encourage you to accept a room cleaning policy of every third day. Others, never clean, regardless. Some items seldom are cleaned: telephone, TV remote, wake up radio-clock: Germaphobics always run an antibacterial cleansing cloth over these potential germ carriers. Bedspreads and blankets are other offenders.
  2. As a matter of fact, decline clean towels and sheets for the duration of your stay and they’ll richly reward you with points. Clean towels every third day? Triple Yuk! Really into the cause? Volunteer to take a “dirty room” sheets and towels alike, or even more adventuresome, exchange with your neighbor!! Willing participants are probably the same travelers who change their underwear every fourth day. What is this, the Bed Bug Inn, the Itchy Twitchy Lodge, Stinkie’s Resort? Whatever happened to the “white glove test for cleanliness?” Nothing like paying top dollar for skin rashes! Bonus: There’s no extra room charge for bed bugs or spiders. The next predicted “green innovation” will be room meters registering your electric and water consumption, with the hotel billing you extra or rewarding you with points for abbreviated baths and showers, and non-use of heat and/or air-conditioning. Alas, with emphasis on cost containment (A hotel will claim compliance with energy conservation), it appears that Tom Bodett will no longer be “leaving the lights on for you!”


If you think that the Green Austerity No-clean/No change hotel movement is great, purchase lots of anti-itch skin lotion and spray disinfectant. Long live cleanliness! Think I’ll stay home.

Why is it that cruise ship cabin stewards manage to clean your cabin without inconveniencing you, but hotel maids begin pounding on your room door at 8:00 a.m., while you’re trying to sleep? Perhaps the “Do Not Disturb” signs need to be bilingual?


  1. Book only airlines that recycle the waste created when serving food and beverages.
  2. When you leave the room, turn off the air-conditioning or heat. Nothing like a steamy room to return to, especially when you can refresh yourself with dirty towels. This is a vacation? Think I’ll remain home.
  3. Flush the toilet only once a day!
  4. Take photos with a digital camera. Disposable cameras are very wasteful. Better yet, don’t take photos as worn-out digital cameras create waste.
  5. Turn off all appliances at home before departing on vacation. You can return to foul odors and food spoilage!
  6. Turn down the thermostat on your hot water heater before departing on vacation.
  7. Cease reading newspapers. The paper is a waste of perfectly good timber.

Man was not placed on earth to destroy it. Yes, we must be more vigilant that our excesses are minimized, and guard against complacency in our responsibilities for protecting the environment. Yes, un-reminded, man has demonstrated a propensity for irresponsibility in polluting our natural resources and destroying delicate mother nature’s balance that humans and wildlife alike are so dependent on for our very existence and quality of life.

If one looks back at old photographs of factories and the soot filled skies of major cities during the industrial revolution, however, considerable progress has evolved. We are capable of doing better. Act responsibly, but enjoy your travels.

Aren’t you proud that even on vacation you can obsess with being environmentally friendly and miserable?