Friday, July 31, 2009

Econo Conscious? What's That?

One of the driving trends in the new economy is econo consciousness, which includes eco consciousness. What does econo conscious mean? And how can a vacation rental be econo conscious?

It's about the rise of the tightwad and freelance nation, the downsizing of the US consumer, and the demise of phantom wealth and the ownership society.

1. Thrifty is the New Frugal

2. Vogue Goes Budget Conscious

3. Why the current crisis may be our best chance. Money follows talent these days, not tax incentives.

4. Zero Waste Can Be Profitable and Eco Friendly

5. The End of Our Fling With Bling--why in-your-face consumption is so 2007.

6. I say more about this subject in my article, "The Illusion of Conspicuous Consumption" appearing in the next issue of Four Corners Magazine.
Look for my column, The Green Scene.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Five Easy Ways to Keep Pollutants Out of Your Home

Ninety percent of indoor air is more polluted than outdoor air according to the EPA. This may be one reason why guests at our vacation rentals often ask what they can do to make the indoor air quality as healthy at home as it was at while they were on vacation.

The map above from the American Lung Association shows spots in your home that can make you sick.

I suggest these five easy ways to keep your air healthy:

1. Furnace Filters.FChange the filter on your H/AC at least once every 30 days and use pleated filters with a MERV rating of 10 or higher.

2. Tobacco. Do not allow smoking inside or outside of your home. Second hand smoke is the largest source of indoor air pollution. Nearly one million children with asthma have their condition aggravated by second hand smoke. Even if guests smoke outside, the smoke can get trapped in cushions of outdoor furniture and it blows in open doors and windows.

3. Clean sheets. Wash linens once a week in water over 130 degrees Fahrenheit to eliminate dust mites. Use dust covers on mattresses and pillows that are free of stain guards, bleaches, and other chemicals used to produce fabric products. We use organic or chemical free dust covers in both vacation rentals.

4. No Fragrances. Stop using scented products with the ingredient "fragrance." Manufacturers can use synthetic fragrances in "natural" and "organic" products. Calling a product natural or organic does not mean it is free of chemicals. Air fresheners, incense, essential oils, scented candles, pesticides, and chemical or scented cleaners may contain harmful ingredients to keep the fragrance from fading. Carcinogenic at worst and respiratory irritants at best, there is no healthy reason to use products with these additives.

sells truly natural essential oils and if you know of others, please post a comment. While some incense may also be free of chemicals, it still creates smoke and should be avoided except for ceremonial purposes.

5. Let in the fresh air for 45 minutes a day, unless your area is under an ozone or pollution alert.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Econo Conscious Contests on Twitter

Retail Me Not has a Twitter contest going on right now with much bigger prizes than those offered by Whole Foods. Tweet your best money saving tip with the tag #retailmenot. They are giving away one $500 Macys gift card each day. The top tip will be picked at the end. That winner gets a $1,000 gift card to Macys. This contest combines an online only business with a physical store. Notice that the contest should seek submissions that relate to your kind of business.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Beat the Heat on Your Sedona Summer Vacation

It's not too hot in northern Arizona for outdoor lovers, not if you know where to go and what to do to beat the heat.

Cool Off Like a Cave Man. Arizona has many caves where temps remain the same as the night air. Thunder Mountain and Sycamore Canyon boast a few places to cool it. Cave men and femmes alike can also groove on the petroglyphs and pictographs of Platki or Honanki ruins which offer shade and shallow caves with cultural history.

Get Celestial. Lowell Observatory in Flagstaff, where once upon a planet Pluto was discovered is one of the best places to observe the night sky. On August 12, 13 the famous Perseid meteor shower makes it even more stellar for a starry, starry night. And it's only six bucks to get in. If you're watching from your vacation rental or the trails, go in the evening before the waning gibbous moon rises.

Not into biking? Try a short evening stroll to the lookout point in the Cultural Park for spectacular sunset views and reliable evening breezes. You'll also avoid the crowds at the popular sunset spots like Airport Mesa. And the views are just as good, maybe better.

Cool Getaways. Hiking doesn't have to be hot, even in August. Towering pines keep trails into canyons like Boynton, Sycamore, and Secret Canyons cool enough for a solid hike. Really want something Alpine? Kachina Trail hovers at 9,500 feet for most of its 5 miles. Picnic with the largest organisms on the planet, aspen groves.

Take a Mythic Journey. Check out the modern Hopi mural at the Museum of Northern Arizona.

Dunk in one of the "10 Best Swimming Holes." Rated by Outside Magazine as one of the best places to swim in a natural pool, Wet Beaver Creek is at the end of 179, about two miles past I 17.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Six Cheap Green Alternatives to Hotels: Green Your Summer Travel By Avoiding Hotels

Want to hit the road without breaking your budget or making your carbon footprint any bigger? One of the best ways to meet great people, experience local life in new places, save money, and minimize your impact is to get away from hotels altogether. There are some excellent ways to ditch the tourist scene and still have a comfortable place to stay—find locals who are offering their couch or spare room, or even swap houses or apartments during your vacation. Of course, I believe the best alternative is a green vacation with a rate specials posted on this blog, but here are five more fresh alternatives to hotels:


Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Dana's Five For Fun - July

Cool eco- and econo-conscious freebies and travel sites.

1. RANK finds and ranks travel routes based on criteria such as price, travel time and CO2 emissions. Unlike other solutions that consider only one means of transport at a time, routeRANK integrates rail, road and air options and shows them in a single view on one screen.

2. Green Explorer, new travel site from Nokia, "Not to make money or attract users to Nokia phones, but because it is a good thing to do."

3. HomeLink USA, one of the few home exchange sites that has European homes for swap with US homes. I find other home exchange sites are top heavy with listings from the US. and listings are old, free, or copied from other sites. Reminder: the vacation homes mentioned on this site also consider swaps.

4. Free advice about Sedona from locavores, trail experts, and guides. Also, search this blog for "Sedona" or "hiking."

5. Free eBooks for summer reading.

Send Free Starbucks Ice Cream to Your Fave Vacation Rental Owner?

Eco and econo conscious as I am, my vacation rentals are full of cool goodies for guests like coupons, discounts, and free stuff free stuff. Where do I get them, guests ask? Come on, you can Google anything... okay, okay, here are links to the ones I hit most often:
Current Offer Free Starbucks Ice Cream: Up to 20,000 coupons for a free pint will be shared every day through July 19. Send one friend a coupon to enjoy a complimentary pint of new Starbucks Ice Cream. Over 800 coupons for a free pint every hour. You can only send one coupon to one friend, so choose carefully! If it says restricted, try back later.

The Freebie Blogger has an offer now for free luggage tags.

I also check and

Just kidding about you sending me ice cream. Send me a video review of Casita Colibri instead and you can get a free week in the Sedona vacation rental (based on availability and a few excluded dates).

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Michael Jackson and the Illusion of the Consumer Culture sold as many Michael Jackson albums in the 24 hours after his death as in the previous 11 years. What does this say about us?

I'll explore this subject of consumerism in the context of the impact on our spirit and the planet in my upcoming column in 4CM. Join the conversation with comments here or email me privately...

How about these MJ jokes intended to cheer you up? Offensive or did you laugh? (Warning: Mature content)