BOSTON (TheStreet) -- While you may help the environment at home by biking to work or giving up your daily Starbucks (SBUX) - Get Report fix, you don't have to sacrifice comfort or style to go green while on vacation.
The green movement has gained momentum during the past year as more consumers find ways to preserve the environment as they go about their daily lives. Some have taken drastic measures, such as moving off the grid and growing their own food. But there are still ways for pampered jetsetters to maintain a luxurious lifestyle without harming the planet.
Carmakers have been working to create more
in recent years. The effort has worked its way up the food chain, and now luxury brands such as Mercedes and Lexus offer hybrid options for affluent consumers.
"There are supersized luxury hybrids like the Cadillac Escalade Hybrid, which is expensive and really not that miserly on gas," says Bradley Berman, editor of the Web sites
. "And there's the Lexus HS250h and the upcoming Lexus CT200h subcompact hybrid, which deliver really good mileage."
Last fall, Mercedes introduced a hybrid version of its luxury S-Class sedan. The Mercedes-Benz S400 Hybrid is the world's first retail hybrid vehicle to use lithium-ion batteries instead the nickel-metal hydride (NiMH) variety.
While the lithium-ion batteries cost more than NiMH cells they can store more energy in a smaller, lighter package. The new model gets 30 miles per gallon, 20% more than previous versions. Mercedes calls the S400 the "CO2 champion in the luxury class."
"At the end of the day it comes down to how many gallons you're burning," Berman says. He says consumers should keep an eye out for the Lincoln MKZ Hybrid coming out this fall. It is said to get over 40 miles per gallon in city driving.
While traveling, you can do your part for the environment by packing solid shampoos and conditioners instead of bottled ones.
began making solid shampoo when the company was starting out and couldn't afford plastic bottles. Liquid shampoos are mostly water and require preservatives for their shelf life. Solid shampoos often last twice as long as liquid varieties because they don't have water in them until you add it while using. More than half of Lush's products are free of packaging, including shampoo bars, shower jellies, body butters and facial cleansers.
When planning your next trip, consider a "sustainable" destination, says Tom Enderlin, sustainable tourism marketing coordinator for the Rainforest Alliance.
"Sustainable tourism isn't just for those who want to spend a week backpacking through the jungle, he says. "Travelers can find both rustic and luxury destinations that have sustainable practices."
While on the road, look for eco-friendly hotels, says Charles Graham, vice president of
, a Web site that helps consumers find hotels that are taking steps to conserve.
"Hotels have been doing more than just asking guests to hang their towels for extra use, and many are investing heavily in becoming more sustainable," Graham says.
Ecotourism has become a buzzword to hook consumers. Before booking, travelers should check out a hotel's Web site and look for green certifications from Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED), Green Globe or Green Seal. That means the hotel meets guidelines for sustainability, conservation and cultural inclusion.
Rainforest Alliance helps hotels to adopt many of these practices, Enderlin says.
"Some improvements hotel operators have made through working with us include installing waste treatment facilities, implementing water conservation plans and systems, buying local food and educating guests on ways they can help positively impact the local environment," he says.
People have been turning to solar power for years to supply energy to their homes, but it's possible to use the sun's rays on the road though solar-powered
and gadget rechargers. The
solar chargers allow you to recharge you phone, iPod and other electronic devices without electricity.
So no matter where you are, there are always ways to go green.
Reported by Theresa McCabe in Boston