Friday, October 31, 2008
The shrinking economy has some saying green was just a fad we can no longer afford. Travel writer, Paul Mansfield of Telegraph Media says, "It would be nice to think that the economic shock will usher in a period of sustainable travel. But my bet is that green will suddenly no longer be fashionable, as people demand the right to spend their limited money as they wish. Expect the term "green" to disappear overnight from many brochures.
And business travelers may be quick to abandon sustainable practices. Commenting on the results of a recent Business Travel World survey which shows a whopping 76% of CFOs plan to cut travel, editor in chief, Betty Low, said: “’Green’ initiatives seem to be disappearing from the corporate landscape as quickly as they arrived. Only last year companies were at pains to publicise their environmental policies which could include anything from using environmentally friendly taxi companies to sustainable sourcing. Since the onset of the credit crunch, however, many of those same companies are becoming increasingly concerned about their own sustainability and consequently such policies seem to have moved down the agenda.”
But TripAdvisor, the world’s largest travel community, recently announced contradicting findings. The results of its annual travel trends survey of more than 3,000 U.S. travelers show travelers appear to be going lean and green by visiting national parks, hiking, and engaging in adventure activities. A greater amount of Americans said they will be environmentally conscious in their travel decisions in 2009, and more plan to visit eco-friendly hotels in the coming year.
The green trend may be evident in their choice of transportation -- 22 percent said they'll go biking while on vacation this year, compared to 13 percent, last year. Forty-seven percent of travelers plan to go hiking this year, up from 43 percent, last year. Read more about the TripAdvisor survey results…
Readers of this blog also contradict that green is vanishing. They still plan to travel green according to the survey we ran in October. The majority, 91.8 percent said that all other things being equal, they would make the socially responsible choice or "go green even in tough times."
And being green is still what Eco Luxury prospects and guests report is the best feature of our properties. Findings indicate a need to clarify that when we say "luxury," we mean taking it easy, not stuff. But otherwise, respondents say going green hasn't vanished in a haze of economic self-preservation. In fact, taking care of the planet may be the very path to take to care for ourselves.
Thursday, October 30, 2008
Rates Slashed for Hawaii Vacation Rentals
By Conde Nast Traveler(Concierge.com)
The nightly rate for this Oahu vacation rental home that sleeps 10 has dropped to $120 per person. That's a remarkable price for a top-notch beachfront house in a central location. Tempted by those dirt-cheap air fares to Hawaii and dropping vacation rental prices over the holidays, read more...
The Perrin Post Travel Blog:... - http://www.concierge.com/cntraveler/blogs/perrinpost
Wednesday, October 29, 2008
VOCs from indoor air pollution don’t just make you sick at home or in a hotel, your car may also cause respiratory irritation or worse.
See how bad your car might be at HealthyCar.org, better yet, find one that is low toxin. Here’s what they recommend to reduce exposure:
Reduce Your Exposure
· Since heat and UV-rays accelerate the breakdown of toxic chemicals, we recommend that car owners use solar reflectors and park in the shade whenever possible.
· Car owners should ventilate their cars before entering them by opening doors and rolling down windows.
· Car owners can also reduce exposure by spending less time in their cars. We recommend walking, riding a bike or using public transportation whenever possible. This also helps reduce tailpipe emissions.
“As environment-friendly Martha Stewart might know, that new car smell is not a good thing. In fact, inhaling the fumes from your new car can be toxic and are created from a literal soup of chemicals such as arsenic and formaldehyde, which can take years to completely be "out-gassed" from your new car's interior materials.” Read more
Tuesday, October 28, 2008
For the big picture view of how the city is laid out and a taste of the natural wonder, start off with a sunset cruise with sweeping city and harbor views from the Schooner--Freedom--a 72-foot tall ship. Departs from the City Marina next to the Bridge of Lions. Or for more exercise, walk up the 219 stairs at the St. Augustine Lighthouse for views you’ll never forget. Beats a Stairmaster any day.
St. Augustine was founded in 1565, long before Jamestown, the English colony in Virginia and 55 years before Pilgrims landed on Plymouth Rock. One of it’s many claims to fame is it is the oldest European settlement in North America. Of course the Hopis were here long before the Spanish. With no cars allowed on some of the historic streets, the town is a walker's dream, full of quaint nooks and crannies to explore, quirky museums, unique shops, and art galleries with everything from Dr. Suess to work by local artists.
You can paddle 20 different runs to Anastasia Park or Crescent Beach from the Matanzas River where you can kayak or canoe alongside dolphin and manatee while bird watching, fishing or just reconnecting with yourself and the natural beauty.
Bald eagles nest from October to March and wright whales can be seen blowing as mothers and calves migrate from colder waters. Or catch Sea Monsters, a new film from National Geographic at the World Golf Hall of Fame and IMAX Theater.
New restaurants mean even world-traveling foodies can make mouth-watering discoveries and lasting memories. One such spot opened this summer. Fifth generation Chef Jean Stephane Poinard moved from the famed culinary region of Lyon with his charming, wine-making wife, Valerie, their children, and their sous chef to open Bistro de Leon. The name is a clever nod to the culture-combo. And when you're ready to recover from indulging in their baked goods and sauces, the revitalizing food of Present Moment Café offers an creative counterpoint across the tracks on King Street.
95 Cordova is an elegant spot to hit for a late dessert and quiet jazz. Don’t be afraid to wander in dressed in your touring clothes. Located in the Casa Monica Hotel where guests stroll through in everything from wedding attire to shorts, the gracious servers treat you the same in a business suit as in your coverup and bathing suit.
For a few laughs and an entertaining spin on accurate history, end another evening with a trip on Ripley's Ghost Tour. While many guides offer ghost outings, Ripley's includes a camera, an EMF meter and a spooky trip into the Ripley Museum after hours. You'll also find professionally trained guides give more fact than mythology with Ripleys. Believe it or not.
The St. Augustine Wild Reserve offers tours for small groups to see their rescued exotic pets, mostly big cats that didn't make Siegfried and Roy or other Hollywood pussycats.
See the EcoLuxury website for links to all the sites mentioned, suggestions for when to go, and how to save money. Caution: you’ll find no listings for tourist joints where you might overpay for the view and mediocre food. We figure you can find those on billboards and in hotel lobby brochures. We don’t get paid for advertising, we do it as a courtesy to our vacation rental guests.
Monday, October 27, 2008
Making a Home Greener, Healthier, and a $$ Saver
Save money on doctor bills, make your home healthier. Green Bedrooms Help Allergy Suffers
Tax Breaks for Going Green
Five Ways to Green Your House for Under $100 (And save money!)
Cut back on pesticides and irrigation and save big. Green Your Landscaping for Less
Save money and cut waste on vacation.
Travel Green Without Sacrificing Style Tips
Recession-proof travel tips: find cheap gas on the road, booking tips and more.
Sunday, October 26, 2008
The first comprehensive study conducted by an independent source validates the growing interest in vacation rentals. In uncertain economic times travelers indicate vacation home rentals offer significantly more value than hotels, timeshares, and resorts. This is evidenced by the fact that vacation rentals have become a $24 billion dollar industry in just a few short years.
The Home Away sites rank as the most-trusted and visited, surpassing all other vacation rental sites by a significant margin. Home Away, the largest vacation rental marketplace owns VRBO and VacationRentals.com. Our guests love HomeAway because they offer a vacation rental guarantee—for FREE. We list our green vacation rentals with Home Away so guests can relax when they take advantage of up to $5,000 in coverage. All you need is our property number, 159004/Sedona or 193216/St. Augustine and the link on the home page of Home Away.
And no, I don’t get paid for promoting Home Away.
WINTER GETAWAY TO DELRAY BEACH, FL $990 USD Jan 3-10, 2009. The Dover House Resort on A-1A. One bedroom unit with kitchen and pool all for less than a hotel. Contact us for details, this is a rental not available through the resort.
Delray Beach is a walkable town, rated "Very walkable" by Walk Score. Park your car and you won't have to drive it again on your vacation. Clean beach with blonde sand, not developed, all buildings are across the street. This charming "Village By The Sea" has a New England feel, if you splashed New England with color and a little salsa.
SAVE ON AIRFARE. Airfare costs dropped in the Orlando and San Francisco markets, check major airlines. Cheaper than driving. Some fares as low as $89.
Saturday, October 25, 2008
Ask and you shall receive.
Terra Furnishings is holding a drawing to give away cool home accessories (think “Free Holiday Gift” or keep it for yourself). Enter here. Don’t wait, last entry must be in by Halloween.
The Women Protecting Wilderness project invites you to help create a “wilderness quilt” of women's voices by submitting your photo and a 2-3 sentence statement about why wilderness matters to you. Learn More
Friday, October 24, 2008
This isn't a new age fantasy or a dream I had after watching Lord of the Rings, this is real. Dolphins blow silver donuts or air-core vortex rings-- some as large as a basketball rim.
Dolphin researcher, Don White writes, "The young dolphin gives a quick flip of her head and an undulating silver ring appears, as if by magic--in front of her. It stands erect in the water like the rim of a magic mirror or the doorway to an unseen dimension. She is an artist, sculpting in the water, for the pure joy of it. Read more
Online travel giant Orbitz Worldwide announced a partnership with Fox Rent A Car, an independent rental company that specializes in airport rentals of hybrid and fuel-efficient vehicles. Fox Rent A Car rents hybrids including Honda Civic, Toyota Camry, Toyota Prius and Toyota Highlander SUVs.
Thursday, October 23, 2008
Mufasa here enjoys playing with a pumpkin around this time of year. He's one of the many Hollywood pussycats and exotic pets who've found a home at the nonprofit reserve. He will not be at Casa Monica on Sunday. But you can see him on Saturdays, with a reservation and $25 donation.
Founder of the Reserve, Deborah Warrick began rescuing wolves in the 80s and now has her hands and cages full. Join us for a silent auction of golf packages, wildlife art and more. Tickets $55.
If you can't make it, donate online, check the wish list, or volunteer here.
Wednesday, October 22, 2008
Can I get your opinion? Answer my brief survey about travel and enter to win a DVD here. I'll enter you in a drawing to win a copy of a newly released film by Emmy Award winning director, Jan Nickman called Living Temples which takes you on a journey to feel nature's beauty and the importance it plays in our lives. Order your own from ThirdPlanetProductions.com.
The survey is at this link http://survey.constantcontact.com/survey/a07e2duq03ffmjwefyl/start
Tuesday, October 21, 2008
American Airlines plans to acquire 42 new Boeing 787 Dreamliner aircraft. This shows me the power of the consumer. It's actually a big deal because Boeing designed the 787 Dreamliner from the passenger perspective, thinking that people will book travel based on the plane.
I realize many of you won't fly anymore because it isn't green. But many of us have to fly to see ailing family or conduct business. If you have to, it's good to go as green as you can and as comfortable as this Dreamliner with improved air and water purification systems, as well as new humidification techniques and lower cabin pressure, which are expected to reduce passenger fatigue.
For the environment, the 787 advanced engine design provides a quieter operation, with an expected noise footprint 60 percent smaller than other aircraft of similar size, benefiting those in the air as well as those on the ground. The plane's lower overall weight and improved design means we also will reduce our impact on the environment by burning less fuel. The 787 aircraft also has the largest overhead bins in the industry – approximately 30 percent larger than comparable aircraft bins. The large 19-inch windows are designed to make the cabin feel more spacious.
Thursday, October 16, 2008
Wednesday, October 15, 2008
Each fall thousands of Ruby-throated Hummingbirds migrate from Canada through Mississippi to their winter home in Mexico and Central America. Moving like a river of birds, they traverse the fields and woods and then make a non-stop 500-mile flight over the Gulf of Mexico.
Vital to our ecosystem as pollinators, 9 species are Critically Endangered, 14 Endangered, 19 Near Threatened, and 6 Vulnerable, totaling 48 species worldwide.
Hummingbird habitat is being lost to development and fragmentation, as forests give way to logging, and crops. All of these changes can impact hummingbird populations. The status of the Ruby-throated population is robust, however, and bodes for a spectacular migration in Mississippi, where the little birds are already arriving.
8,100 people gathered to watch the Ruby-throated Hummingbirds fly over Mississippi, the largest crowd ever gathered at Strawberry Plains Audubon Center for the ninth Hummingbird Migration Celebration. Hummingbird banders tagged a record 281 birds over three days and recaptured one adult female that had been banded at the center on Sept. 9, 2006.
"Hummingbirds may be small in size, but they are mighty in their impact as ambassadors for nature and conservation," said Madge Lindsay, executive director of Audubon Mississippi. "When you see one of these fragile looking birds up close, you can't help but be inspired by the amazing diversity of life on our planet. It is breathtaking to think that a creature weighing a tenth of an ounce can survive such a perilous, long journey."
Tips for attracting hummers to your backyard from Audubon here.
Photo by Bill Stripling
Tuesday, October 14, 2008
While the 700 billion dollar bailout may help big business, it also gives a Federal tax break to people who ride a bike to work. Thanks to organizers from Oregon who worked for seven years to get a break for bikers, in 2009 those who cycle to work can get $20 a month from their employers for cycling expenses. Another good reason to get out of the car and onto a bike. Read more…
Monday, October 13, 2008
If you're longing for a vacation or a snorkeling trip but you're tied to your desk, this mini-documentary has a cool computer generated shipwreck and is the next best thing to diving. Sponsored by the United Nations' Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization, which is charged with safeguarding underwater cultural heritage. Watch with kids. Click here or on the photo to see the video and take a 12 minute vacation as an underwater archaeologist.
Saturday, October 11, 2008
"These days, it seems just about every business is finding a way to go green, making it that much harder for well-intentioned consumers to distinguish companies with green products and services." --Entrpreneur Magazine
Green guilt, extreme green, green washing—the over-exposure to green messages leaves me feeling eco-fatigued. Businesses greenwashing in hopes of getting attention has created a backlash of cynicism against the green trend. What's an easy going green gal to do?
I confess, I'm not a purist, I find it to be rigid and confusing. Twenty percent of going green requires expensive, complicated, difficult choices about which most people disagree. I focus on the 80% that has clear impacts instead of giving up because of the debatable and often painful 20%.
The way I see it, lots of people doing 80% makes a bigger difference than a few zealots doing 100%. I set a rational, reasonable example that people can follow, rather than condemn those who are unable or unwilling to adopt a perfectionist’s all-or-nothing approach.
Is that a cop-out? Is that nurturing? Economists say it is the law of diminishing return. The last 20% isn't worth the trouble it takes to go after.
Having said all that, I lose respect for businesses that claim to be green for common sense things like recycling. I find lodgings that claim to be green because they ask guests to use less water or because they switched to flourescent light bulbs laughable.
I give my business to those who assert their green-ness in writing. Certification from third parties that verify eco-friendly practices also offer credibility and I have a few for my business just for that reason. But the field of listings is so crowded, most consumers can't tell one from the other. What it seems we can tell is that it takes a variety of efforts to support local residents and protect the environment and no light coat of green can cover up for lack of substance.
Notice the trees growing out of the windows? Wildspirale (Forest Spiral) designed by Viennese artist, Friedensreich Hundertwasser, has become one of the more unique and visually stimulating buildings in the world. With over 1000 unique windows, individualized handles on windows and doors, a living roof, café, parking garage, restaurant, bar, playground, and a running stream, it is an architectural wonder. Upon first glance, second and third, one is simply enchanted and astonished.
Sorry, no vacation rentals here for Oktoberfest, I checked.
Must read and see more... Image by Hans S
Friday, October 10, 2008
Consumer resilience means 78% percent still plan to travel for the holidays according to a recent Travelocity poll. Also savvy, travelers can find more deals now than ever before. The biggest change isn’t that people have given up, but how they will travel—12% percent say they will not drive and 12% percent say they will avoid flying whenever possible due the new fees airlines charge. Go Southwest.
Thursday, October 9, 2008
Earlier this year I toyed with the idea of online selling the hip, green furnishings that our guests love to buy from our vacation rentals.
But my market research didn't support launching an effort with only 100 guests a year. My research did show it was a good idea for a business with a broader audience. And eBay must think like me cuz they just launched a beta site for socially responsible sellers.
If you wanted me to sell through EcoLuxury Lodging, I encourage you to try it. As for you shoppers, I'll keep you posted if I see the fab wash cloths, soft linens, green cookware, and other stuff we stash in our vacation homes for sale on World of Good, especially if it seems eBay has worked out the kinks in the beta site. You can shop for green gifts, fair trade handicrafts, delicious gourmet foods, unique arts and more at eBay's new WorldofGood.com online marketplace.
Wednesday, October 8, 2008
The most time consuming and frustrating part of my green remodels was the demolition and replacement. Contractors were unwilling or unable to recycle the useful appliances and fixtures. Usually they agreed upfront to haul things to the recycling center or to the local Habitat Restore, but that always seemed to work more in theory than in practice. Various failures ranged from reasonable to ridiculout, “It’s too late in the day," or "too far to drive with fuel prices this high." "I tossed the sinks and cabinets in the dumpster."
But my story has a happy ending. When I remodeled the bathroom last month at Casita Colibri, I found a socially responsible group of contractors, Green Demolitions who extract items for free and sell them in a self-sustaining nonprofit. I was in heaven--luxury home decor from cool places like kitchen display stores (birds eye maple!) and estates of the rich and famous, including Robert Kennedy.Proceeds fund programs to support addicts at Recovery Unlimited. The partnership is described as “Recycling Luxury for Recovery.” Donation items include furniture, vanities, and mobile homes. There is a sale through Halloween for 50-75% off.
The only catch is they’re on the east coast.
Tuesday, October 7, 2008
Feeling scared to death about our economic future? The VIX Index, a "fear gauge" which measures market volatility, hit record highs last week, showing we have more anxiety than we did following the 9/11 attacks. That's pretty spooky.
Experts tell us the best way to manage fear is to take action, stay productive to stave off failure. My uber eco-mom says, "The best cure for the blues is to stop focusing on yourself and start focusing on being of service. Do something for someone else, you'll feel better."
How about collecting the blues--as in jeans--instead of candy this Halloween? The average American throws away more than 68 pounds of clothing a year. Instead of filling up a landfill, you can turn denim into something far more useful: sustainable and eco-friendly housing insulation.
Fair Indigo’s goal is to collect 500 pairs of jeans by October 31st– enough to make insulation for a Habitat for Humanity home.
How do you do it? Gather up old jeans or any denim by Oct 31 and ship them to:
Fair Indigo Denim Drive
c/o Green Jeans Insulation Inc.
1109 W. Milwaukee St.
Stoughton, WI 53589
You’ll join young people inspired to change the world one pair of jeans at a time in the COTTON. FROM BLUE TO GREEN.® denim drive. Fair Indigo teams up with them, colleges, and other groups across the country to collect old blue jeans and make eco-friendly, hypo-allergenic, super acoustical insulation. See the ABC, Money Matters video here.
Since its inception in 2006 the COTTON. FROM BLUE TO GREEN.® denim drive has generated over 100,000 square feet of eco-friendly UltraTouch™ insulation and it has been installed in over 100 new homes in the gulf coast region through Habitat for Humanity.
Sunday, October 5, 2008
SEDONA, AZ. Save $174 Oct 25-31 at Casita Colibri. Use code Blog3 for discount.
CANYON De Chelly, Az $69 a night winter 2008.
Winter Specials in Yellowstone as low as $125.
SAVE ON AIR TO FLORIDA. Airfare costs dropped in the Orlando market, check major airlines. Fly in there and head to St. Augustine to catch the eagles returning to nest. Details on the vacation rental website.
MYRTLE BEACH, NC $29 a night. Beautiful Crown Reef Resort, unbelievable rate.
Friday, October 3, 2008
No, I'm not going to give you yet another suggestion to change your light bulbs. I get that eco-fatigue has some of you wishing you could donate to Bono's causes or buy those $200 organic sheets, but you just can't afford it. And yet, other greenies will ride their bike to work no matter which way the winds of the economy blow. I swing back and forth depending on my mood, cynical one day, optimistic the next. But whatever my inclination, I always love saving green. I love a sale, a deal, and every bargain.
Here's how I'm cutting back on spending and helping Mother Nature at the same time. Feel free to add your ideas.
Saving With Solar. For many years, adding solar panels was too expensive for me to install. But new leasing programs like those offered by Solar City help people with utility bills over $150 save money switching to solar, as NBC points out in their recent coverage. As a penny pincher, I get very excited watching the dial spin backwards on my utility meter. Take that APS!
Throw in the Towel. The average American has $497 worth of cleaning products in their house and only uses three of them more than once a year. Paper towels and tissue costs go up every few days. I've given up 80% of my cleaning products and paper towel use.
Dura-hooked microfiber clothes and hot water can replace chemicals and cleaners. I didn't believe it until I tried it, but it cleans better than abrasive cleaners or fume-filled sprays for most cleanups. As for getting rid of the unused products, if I have just a small amount of cleaner left, I wash or flush it down the drain with lots of water. For large quantities, I check Earth911 to see how to dispose of it. My neighbor sold her cleaning products at a yard sale! Didn't help the planet to keep those products in use, but in the long run Mother Nature wins because she won't be buying any more cleaners.
Give it Up. Cutting back on spending for me means less cash to donate to my favorite causes. Instead of feeling guilty, I'm cleaning out closets and clutter to recycle unwanted, unused household items through Freecycle.org. Artwork that no longer fits my decor and jewelry I no longer wear goes to the local silent aution.
I gave up shopping alone and joined a warehouse club with friends. BJs, Sam's Club and Costco can take a big bite out of shopping expenses. They also allow member's to bring a guest. I drive and shop with my friends for more fun, less gas, and lower fees. I also pick up tips about coupons and specials and new items by shopping with someone else.
The nearest health food store is 20 minutes away from my house by car. I've cut back on driving by buying in bulk from Amazon.com. Shipping is free when you sign up for auto delivery.
Cut the Plaque. Research makes a connection between poor dental health and heart health. Realizing that keeping your teeth clean now might prevent bill health care costs in the future, some health insurance companies have started offering inexpensive dental plans. Steve and I spent $600 on routine cleanings on our last visit to the dentist. All of that is covered in our new plan for $10 a month, no co-pays. We have to use the HMO providers, but there were two green dentists on the list which made going HMO easier to swallow.
All Washed Up. I switched from my expensive, organic soaps to Kirk's basic bar and saved $4.97 a bar. Available for $1.57 a bar on Amazon. But watch the shipping, if you're not in the Subscribe and Save program, the shipping is a ridiculous $6.00.
Check what food is in season locally and therefore, usually less expensive. Lime.com has a map for the entire US to help you find it.
For me, eco luxury is about making life easy on me and the planet, it's not about one or the other, it's both.
Wednesday, October 1, 2008
You want to live the good life – but you also want to make the world a better place. Finally, you can do both. Learn how to green your business, or if your business is already green, how to grow it, at the Co-op America Green Business Conference, November 12-13, 2008, in San Francisco. www.coopamerica.biz. And consider setting up shop at the Green Festival immediately after – www.greenfestivals.org