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Green Tips: Sustainable Lodging & Travel for Fall Foliage Tourism

Green Tips | September 24, 2020

Autumn is filled with cozy drinks, sweaters, fall festivities, and changing leaves. Every year, thousands of travelers in America hit the road or take the train to see the fall leaves. A 2017 survey found that 28% of Americans planned a fall getaway, with “road trips, foliage viewing, fall festivals, and national parks” listed as the top autumn activities. COVID-19 has changed the way that people plan to travel this season, with 54% of U.S. travelers more likely to take a road trip now than before the pandemic. If you’re looking to take a fall getaway this season, check out this week’s Green Tips:


One of the joys of traveling is staying in a motel, hotel, or bed and breakfast, where you don’t have to worry about the upkeep of a home. While we are not discouraging you from fully enjoying your time away, it’s important to be mindful of the environmental impact associated with lodging. Here are a few simple practices to lower your ecological footprint: 

  • Electricity accounts for 60-70% of a hotel’s utility cost, so make sure to shut off lights when they’re not needed or in use. 
  • Of the total water used by commercial facilities, hotels and other lodgings use around 15%
    • Restrooms are the biggest source of water use, accounting for 30% of total hotel water use. Enjoy your shower, but don’t take too long! 
    • Laundry accounts for 16% of a typical hotel’s water use. Opt out of new sheets and towels during your stay to conserve water.
  • Don’t open or use disposable items (soap, toilet paper, paper towels, etc.) that you don’t need.
  • Pack an extra blanket instead of raising the heat.
  • Bring a reusable water bottle and fill it up using the hotel’s water dispenser, if available. 
  • Stay at a sustainable hotel or lodge.


The transportation sector is the largest source of greenhouse gas emissions in the United States. If you’re looking to lower your carbon footprint while enjoying the open road, we have some tips for you:

  • Use your getaway as an opportunity to rent an electric vehicle! Zero emission electric vehicles have a lower carbon footprint.
    • Find destinations throughout the Northeast that are close to charging stations through NYSERDA’s Destination Electric program!
    • Some lodges and hotels have electric vehicle charging, but be sure to inquire ahead of time. 
  • Visit destinations that are close to one another on the same trip. 
  • Take the bus or train if possible!
  • Carpool with those in your immediate family or household. 
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