By Amy Cariol Featured on Halogen TV Being eco-friendly is relatively easy at home, but when we travel, maintaining these practices becomes a bit trickier. Caylin Sanders, founder of EscapeMaker.com, offers her green travel expertise with eight easy ways to keep environmentally sound practices in tact, no matter where your trips may take you. 1.Take advantage of lodgings that offer bike rentals or will pick you up from the local train or bus station if you use public transportation. This sends a message that you’re willing to give your business to hotels and B&B’s that support mass transit. 2.When planning activities for your trip, check out websites for natural and scenic parks first. Many offer free and low-carbon events and festivals around which you can structure your entire vacation, if you’d like. 3.If traveling by car, download a free GPS app from sites like MapQuest or Google Maps to guide you along the way. You’ll use less gas by not getting lost, and you’ll reduce your paper use by not printing out directions. 4.Opt for restaurants that offer locally grown or organic food. When planning your meals, ask your innkeepers for recommendations when you check in, or research online ahead of time so you have more options. Better yet, plot out farms along your route so that you can bring some freshly picked produce back with you. 5.Some hotels leave a preference card out for you to choose whether or not you want your sheets and towels changed. But if they don’t offer the option, make sure to leave your “do not disturb” sign outside your door. You’ll use less water and get bonus points with the cleaning staff. 6.As tempting as it is to pick flowers in a park or collect shells at the beach, leave the natural environment in tact, and carry out what you carry in. Remember, the goal is to keep your footprints to a minimum – unless they are in the sand. 7.If spending time outdoors, use chemical-free sunscreen and natural bug repellent rather than products that pollute the air and water with harsh chemicals. 8.Lead by example. Pick up discarded trash or plastic bottles on beaches or in natural areas when you can, and dispose of or recycle them. Set an example for your family, friends and passersby, and you might inspire them to follow suit. Check out Halogen TV for more on green living and socially conscious ideas and check out our Green Getaways section for more info on green packages. SAVE THE DATE! April 14, 2012 for our 2nd Annual Green Getaways, Local Food & Travel Expo!