Tag Archives | green travel

Road-Tripping in an Electric Vehicle: 4 Tips for Success

There are a lot of different cars on today’s roads — and with a PwC forecast estimating 107 million vehicles will be manufactured globally in 2020, there are going to be even more in the next few years. And while having a vehicle is often necessary, CO2 emissions are at an all-time high, partly due to vehicle use. This is one of the many reasons more and more people are choosing to purchase electric vehicles (EVs). But if you’re traveling this summer, you may be wondering how to plan your trip with your EV. Lucky for you, we have a few great tips in this article.

Drive Smart and Save Your Battery

EV drivers have to make the most of a charge — this is why it’s important to drive smart. When you’re trying to get the most out of your car’s battery, you should accelerate and brake carefully. If you slam on either the gas or brakes regularly, your charge is going to go down more quickly. Don’t forget to use your accessories wisely, too. Additionally, you should always charge your vehicle right before you leave so you can start off with a full charge. And remember to keep charge times in mind to ensure you stay on schedule. With U.S. manufacturing producing 18.2% of goods globally, EVs have improved drastically over the past few years, but you still need to treat your car with care.

Plan Your Stops Ahead of Time

When you’re on a road trip, you’re usually rushing to get to your final destination in excitement. But when you’re driving in an EV, you need to plan to stop frequently. So when you’re planning your route and travel time, make sure to account for multiple stops. Not only will EVs require more stops than regular cars, but the stops will probably take longer — it takes more time to charge an EV than to fill up a gas tank. But with the global specialty gases market expected to exceed $14 billion by 2026, EV drivers can enjoy saving money and going green compared to regular vehicle drivers.

Go Where Charging Stations Are

Unfortunately, much of the country is still not equipped with electric vehicle charging stations. This is especially true in less populated areas. So when you’re deciding where to travel to in your EV, be mindful of where charging stations are located. Cities and urban areas are a great choice because they’re more likely to have multiple charging stations you can utilize. While there are plans in place to get more EV charging stations in place in less populated areas, for now, you should stick to high-traffic areas. This way, you won’t have to worry about being stranded without a way to charge up.

Expect the Unexpected

When you’re driving a traditional vehicle, it can be fairly easy to simply hop in the car and take off with no plan in mind. But this isn’t a smart thing to do with an EV. Running out of battery juice far away from a charging station can be bad news. This is why you need to plan for the worst and expect the unexpected. You should always have a backup plan, like knowing about a charging station before your planned stop, just in case. With 5.5 million car accidents occurring every year and millions of cars breaking down on the roads, there’s no telling what may happen. So be prepared for anything that may come up along the way.

Driving an electric vehicle is a great way to do your part to help the environment. But because road trips in an EV can be a little more tricky, keep these tips in mind to ensure everything goes according to plan.

9 Tips for Keeping your Family Safe from Sharks this Summer

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As you already know, my family loves the ocean. We spend the majority of our free time paddleboarding, swimming, snorkeling, scuba diving, surfing, and free-diving. Our love for the ocean includes everything that lives in the ocean. There are many creatures that inhabit that ocean that humans may find dangerous – especially after all of the media coverage surrounding some recent shark attacks. While I understand that some people may find sharks to be terrifying, the ocean is their home and we are simply visitors. However, as a family, we have a realistic view of these animals and follow the rules of the ocean to help ensure no harm comes to the sharks or our family.

Eben learned how to swim before he could walk or talk, he was almost 6 months old. He is a natural in the water – it is the one place where he feels completely at ease. When it comes to the ocean, he has no fear – he has been stung by jellyfish, bitten by countless creatures, stepped on a sea urchin and even tore his leg open kneeling on the ocean floor. However, all of these incidents have not changed his view of the ocean, it is still his favorite place on Earth.

I am not as adventurous as Eben or the mister, I am the cautious one – the one always on the lookout for possible dangers. We have swum and snorkeled with sharks many times and we have never felt threatened by them. In fact, we have nothing but love and respect for these amazing creatures. Since I am so cautious and a natural planner, I have tips that I live by to keep my family safe in the ocean. I am not trying to scare you, you are more likely to be hurt by a toilet than a shark! However, if you are hitting the beach this summer, read on and take note, these tips can help to keep your family safe.

#1: What’s Going On?
The first thing to consider before even getting into the water is to stay on top of what is happening in the ocean in your area. A great place to start is at the lifeguard station – they will have a sign that will outline any dangers for the day. Check the news, have there been reports of whale migration, baitfish or seals in the area? If so, stay out of the water. Also, if sharks are migrating through the area, it is a good idea to steer clear of the water too.

#2: It’s All in the Sky
Waters tend to be cloudy at dusk and dawn – and if you can’t see well through the cloudy water, a shark won’t be able to either. Many causes of shark bites happen simply as a case of mistaken identity. Also, if it is overcast or stormy, going in the ocean isn’t recommended – again the water is usually cloudy and incoming storms can stir up bait fish, the last thing you want to do is get between a shark and its prey.

#3: Watch for Fishermen 
I don’t recommend being in the water anywhere near fishermen. Whether the fishermen are simply fishing, cleaning the fish in the water, dumping fish guts into the water, or chumming, it’s a good idea to steer clear of the area. Sharks have an amazing sense of smell and taste and fish guts in the water may attract them to the area. Some sharks have been known to hang around areas where fishermen fish, snatching the fish from their lines too. So as a rule, we do not swim near anywhere near a fishing pier.

#4: Stick Together
As with many things in life, there is safety in numbers when in the ocean too. I don’t recommend swimming far offshore or even hanging out in the water by yourself. Sharks come into all depths of water. We have seen them in knee-deep water and 30-foot waters – swimming or playing in the water as a group is a much better option. Stick together.

#5: Skip the Shiny
Shiny or metal objects can attract sharks – they are curious creatures, they may just want to check out your bling. When heading out to the sea, remove all of your jewelry – and skip swimsuits with any shiny metal embellishments.

#6 Keep Noise to a Minimum
Stick to playing Jaws at the swimming pool only! Splashing around, yelling and thrashing about may attract sharks to the area. They may think you are a struggling prey or may just be curious to see what all the ruckus is about.

#7: Keep a Safe Distance
Most of the times that we have encountered sharks have been on a reef. We always respect their space, put a lot of distance between us and them, stay close together, all the while remaining calm and still. They have always just swum past or under us – never giving us a second look. Again, I don’t recommend snorkeling or diving at a reef alone and when you do see a shark, don’t freak out and frantically try to swim back to the boat. Stay calm and still, and most likely the shark will just swim by.

#8: Pick a Guarded Beach
If you are on vacation, not familiar on how to read the ocean or just want a little more protection, hit the guarded beach. The lifeguards are not only there to keep us safe from drowning, but they will also alert you as soon as they see sharks, baitfish or other dangerous creatures or weather conditions. As soon as you hear that whistle blow, get out the water until the lifeguard says it is safe to go back in. Also, when you arrive at the beach make sure to read the signs at the lifeguard station if there is baitfish in the area or they have a red/no swimming flag – follow their recommendations.

#9: Don’t Feed the Fish
There have been documented cases of people being bitten by sharks after feeding them. Sharks are highly intelligent creatures if you feed them once they will remember it and come back to the area for more. What happens when someone else swims in that spot and doesn’t have a treat to offer them? They may bite someone on accident simply looking for food. As in all cases, do not feed the wildlife, it isn’t a good idea for you or for them.

How do you keep your family safe from sharks at the beach? Are there tips I may have missed?

6 Ways to Green Your Summer Trip

summer-vacationSummer is in full swing and I hope your family is taking advantage of the warm weather and break from school to take a trip together! With all of the travel, eating away from home, and sightseeing, vacations can leave quite the carbon footprint. Here are 6 tips to help you make green choices on your summer trip.

  1. Travel locally
    Traveling closer to home (or taking a staycation) cuts down on fuel and emissions—not to mention the expense involved with longer car trips and flights. Who knows, you might just discover your new favorite getaway a few towns over!
  2. Rent a Hybrid
    Many car rental companies now offer the option to rent a Prius or other compact hybrid. Even if you don’t see a hybrid option when booking online, many companies have one or two on hand that you can ask for when you go to pick up your rental. Hybrids are quiet and cut down on fuel cost and waste immensely and are a great choice if you’re taking a sight-seeing road trip.
  3. Stay at a Green Hotel
    There is a growing number smaller hotels and B&B’s choosing to become Green Certified. The Green Certification process evaluates the hotel’s overall carbon footprint and what choices they are making to positively impact the environment as well as to minimize their otherwise negative impact. Areas evaluated include energy and water conservation, solid waste management, indoor air quality, building infrastructure, and community outreach, to name a few. Most green hotels that offer meals also buy organic and local.
  4. Eat Locally
    Isn’t it wonderful that you can travel to almost any city in the US and find a farmer’s market—or at least a local fruit stand? Since I live in the high desert of Colorado I love sampling local fruits and vegetables when I travel to states at lower elevation or with a more humid climate. I’ll never forget eating dozens of peaches in one sitting on a visit to Mississippi or a crate of strawberries in California! Put your money towards local business and sustainable living by picking up a few meals or snacks at the farmer’s market or small, local grocer on your next vacation.
  5. Explore the Local Environment
    One of my favorite things about vacation is the variety of trees, flowers, and animals native to the state I’m visiting. Exploring new environments is especially valuable when traveling with kids, who can learn about different species and ecosystems and by doing so appreciate and protect them better. States with protected open space or forests sometimes offer tours of wildlife sanctuaries—a fun, educational choice for families.
  6. Leave No Trace
    Whether you’re roughing it back country camping or staying in an upscale hotel on your vacation, the 7 principles of Leave No Trace are helpful guidelines to bring and follow. Don’t forget to educate kids about their impact on the places you visit!

YOUR TURN: What green tips does your family have for vacationing this summer?

Thanksgiving Planning: Island Edition

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Most years we host Thanksgiving dinner at our home – however, this year we don’t have family coming into town to visit so we decided to travel for Thanksgiving. We booked a week at a fun, red cottage on Sanibel Island. We are meeting the mister’s uncle and aunt there for a little fun in the sun!

On our way there, we plan to pick up Thanksgiving dinner from Whole Foods and of course, we will pack our favorite wine too! Our week will be spent outside beach combing (Sanibel is known as the best place to shell in the country!), biking the island (you don’t need a car!), checking out the local shops and eateries, and taking long walks with Noodles and Olive. We are super excited! While I love hosting Thanksgiving dinner, I think it will be nice to sleep in late on the big day (no housecleaning or cooking!) and enjoy Thanksgiving dinner outside next to the ocean.

How about you – do you have an unconventional Thanksgiving planned? Are you traveling? Where are you off to?

Mountain Apple Picking at the Historic Orchard at Altapass in North Carolina

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by Jennie

Before we left for our fall family trip to North Carolina, we made a list of all of the fun things that we wanted to do. The list encompassed all of our yearly must-do activities with a few new activities added in as well. I told the mister that the one thing I would like to do is visit a mountain apple orchard. He said to keep your eye out for one while on one of our many long drives on the Blue Ridge Parkway. Towards the end of our vacation, we still hadn’t come across an orchard, so I figured it just wasn’t going to happen. Then, one morning I thought we were headed towards another hiking adventure when the mister pulled off the main road down a very steep turn off. When I looked up I saw the Historic orchard at Altapass in front of us! Hooray! He was so excited to surprise me with this special treat and we ended up spending most of the day there. Read on to check it out.

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After browsing around in the Altapass Orchard shop, and stopping to listen to a group performing mountain music we decided to venture out into the orchard. There are several different trails that you could take throughout the orchard, and of course we picked the longest one! We ended up so far into the orchard that all of the visitors (and there were a lot that day) seized to exist, we were completely alone. We were able to observe all of the beautiful butterflies floating throughout the orchard and even came upon a buck who was happily munching in the apple trees! He darted out of there too fast to catch him on camera.

There were so many different types of apples, small tart ones, and huge juicy ones that barely fit in the misters hand. It was really cool to visit an orchard that has been around for more than 100 years!

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We walked so far that our trail eventually took us into a forest, it was still part of the orchard but so far removed that we didn’t even realize it was there until we were in it. We munched on apples as we walked (we paid for them later!), chatted and just had a wonderful time. By the time we made our way back to the apple-stand, almost everyone was gone except the employees. We bought a couple of root beer floats and sat on the deck relaxing after our 4 hour hike through the orchard. It was pretty amazing – I can’t wait to do it again next year!

+ The Historic Orchard at Altapass
Milepost 328.3 between Mt. Mitchell and Linville Falls.