Tag: roadtrip

Plan Your Fall Foliage Excursion

Autumn means different things to many people. Students may embrace the dawn of a new school year, while others might embrace the crisp weather after a season of heat. One of the more widely enjoyed aspects of autumn is the chance to take in the brilliant foliage.

Although New England may be renowned for its bright, orange, red and yellow panoramas, dazzling displays of foliage can be witnessed anywhere temperatures descend enough for deciduous trees to shed their leaves.

The first step to a successful fall foliage excursion is to find the right spot. The Catskill and Adirondack Mountains of New York, Amish Country in Pennsylvania, the Great Lakes from Michigan to Ohio, and many other areas can be great places to witness nature at its most colorful. To make the most of fall foliage road trips, drivers can keep the following suggestions in mind.

· Get off the highway. To see great fall vistas, take a detour from major thoroughfares and visit small towns and mountain passes. Invest in some maps, as cellular networks may be inaccessible in remote locales.

· Avoid tourist-heavy areas. Drivers may prefer less crowded roadways to accompany the great scenery. Such drivers should visit areas that are not tourist meccas. Any area that plays home to forests and sprawling landscapes will do.

· Go on foot. To get the best photos, head out at sunrise or sunset. Soft, golden light dappled by leaves will bring out the golden tones in photos. Going on foot will help you discover the nuances of the season and slow down for a change.

· Don’t overlook overcast days. Traveling in the rain may not be fun, but overcast days might be ideal. On such days, the sun won’t be too warm and drown out the colors.

· Bring along binoculars. Wildlife is often mobile and abundant in the fall, as animals scurry to feed and gather supplies before the winter. As a result, autumn is a great time to spot wildlife that’s normally hiding in thickets and woodland areas.

· Plan for stops along the way. Don’t forget to bring some spending money in the form of cash so that you can enjoy the small farm stands and shops that often dot rural landscapes. Pick up farm-fresh produce or choose a plump pumpkin. Yard sales also are abundant this time of year. Small shops may not take credit cards, so if you plan to buy, cash is king.

Trees begin shedding their leaves as early as the beginning of September in Canada and the northern United States. As the days press on, the fall finery will gradually shift southward. For those who can afford to take a weekday off, do so, as weekends might be overcome with fellow nature enthusiasts.

Travel Can Be Fun & Eco-Friendly, Too

Many people go to great lengths to adhere to eco-friendly lifestyles at home. That devotion to the environment may or may not continue when those same people travel, but it is entirely possible for travelers to take their eco-conscious behaviors with them on the road.

Whether traveling for personal or professional reasons, travelers can implement a handful of simple strategies to reduce their carbon footprints while away from home.

· Rent a hybrid or eco-friendly vehicle. If you will be renting a car during your trip, book a hybrid vehicle or a small, fuel-efficient model to cut back on fuel consumption. Many vehicles are now equipped with “eco mode,” a feature that typically forces the transmission to upshift sooner than it normally would in an effort to conserve fuel. Cars in eco mode may seem somewhat sluggish, but that sluggishness is actually the eco mode doing its job. It might take some getting used to, but driving in eco mode can help travelers reduce their vehicles’ fuel consumption.

· Reuse towels at the hotel. Many hotels now ask guests to reuse towels in order to conserve water. Guests who want to make their hotel stays as eco-friendly as possible should work with hotels and reuse their towels for as long as possible. If visiting a resort, try to use the same pool or beach towel for as long as possible as well.

· Patronize restaurants that offer locally grown foods. Another way to be eco-friendly when traveling is to eat your meals at restaurants that use only locally grown foods and ingredients. Eating local reduces the need to transport foods across long distances, cutting back on fuel costs as a result. In addition, proponents of eating local foods insist that locally grown foods taste fresher than foods brought in from afar.

· Use mass transportation. When possible, use mass transportation rather than relying on taxis or car services. Take a bus or train from the airport to your hotel, and ride the subway or just walk when sightseeing. Many travelers insist that riding mass transportation when visiting a city provides a much more realistic experience of life in that city than traveling by cab or driving alone.

Travelers need not leave their eco-friendly sensibilities at home when traveling.