Traveling -- without compromising your green lifestyle -- can be difficult and frustrating. Be it vacation or pleasure, it's challenging to eat with the same focus on organic and local foods, to meditate daily, to conserve resources, and to get from point A to point B in the same fuel-efficient hybrid vehicle that you drive at home.
Companies are Choosing Hybrid Car Service
On a recent trip to meet with the famed eco-conscious jewelry designer John Hardy, a car was sent to pick me up and deliver me to his apartment in New York City. Usually this would be the standard black Lincoln sedan: Instead, a Toyota Prius rolled up. I was thrilled, and impressed! Rarely does this happen.
On another trip to L.A. for an appearance, a car was rented for me to drive myself around in. They booked a Prius. Again, I was thrilled and impressed.
Unfortunately, there is only one rental car agency, Fox, that I have found that rents hybrid vehicles from Los Angeles International Airport. In L.A.! So I rent from them every time. They have a couple of hybrids and compact, fuel-efficient vehicles to choose from.
More Pick-Up Agencies Offer Hybrid Options
On a positive note, the number of limo companies offering hybrid pick-ups is rising. I was collected in a hybrid Ford Escape a while back in D.C. and a hybrid Lexus in another city.
People frequently contact me through my Web site, SaraSnow.com, and the other day I received an email from a woman who told me about a new company started by her dad and her brother called Driven Eco. She wrote, "Driven Eco is committed to proving there does not need to be 'two worlds,' Black Car or Green Car." The firm provides the white-glove services synonymous with black car limousines, in a hybrid.
Traveling Green is Possible
This email affirms what I've already known and practiced for some time —- that you don't have to sacrifice yourself and your eco-ideals when you're on the road. Small demands and changes make a big difference.
If a car is sent to pick you up, request that it be a hybrid. When you check into a hotel let them know you'll be placing the "do not disturb" placard on your door so that housekeeping isn't even tempted to come in and change your sheets or vacuum your floor. When you pick up carryout or pick a place for dinner, seek out restaurants that specialize in locals and organics and avoid the excess. You don't need 20 napkins with your order to-go, you don't need five courses when you're only hungry for two and you don't need bottled water when what runs from the tap is still cool and clear.
There doesn't have to be two worlds involving the dark-green you at home and the other you, a few shades lighter, when you're on foreign soil.
More on the Hybrid Market
Green Basics: Hybrid-Electric Cars
More on the Toyota Prius
::Solar-Powered Toyota Prius Project
::Toyota Prius Hybrid: 1 Million Served
More on the Lexux Hybrid
::Lexus' High-End Hybrid: the LS 600h L
::Lexus's New Hybrid: Will the Fast Make You Furious?
More on the Ford Escape
::Now That's Sexy: LA County Lifeguards Get Ford Escape Hybrids
::Hybrid Taxis Finally Arrive in New York City
Sara Snow is Planet Green's lifestyle expert, and a regular contributor to TreeHugger via her Green Eyes On columns. She can also be seen on CNN.com on Thursdays from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m.
Photos from top: Lexus; Ford; Getty Images.