The days are getting longer, and the smell of sunscreen, charcoal grills and fresh cut grass fill the air. For some, these summertime smells are a gentle reminder that life has shifted into a slower pace and their long-awaited vacation is approaching.

It is no secret that when you consume less energy, you help conserve the Earth’s ecosystem and natural resources. Why not make a habit of being energy efficient even when you're away from home and on vacation? Here are some tips that will keep you efficient while helping preserve your favorite destination.

Great Outdoors
Leaving the hustle and bustle of daily life and heading into the wilderness for your vacation? When booking, consider a campground that provides an energy-efficient experience. These sites power up using solar panels, wind energy or alternative energies. Staying at an energy-efficient site will help reduce your carbon footprint while affording some comforts of home.

When you check in, make sure you scope out the perfect spot. If possible, ask for the shadiest spot available. Whether you’re in a tent or in an RV, maximizing shade will not only keep you cool, but reduce the need for cooling systems and extra electricity use.

You may not be able to power down completely while exploring the great unknown. Use solar chargers to keep your devices up and running while you roam. The only thing needed is a sunny spot to power your charger. No electricity needed.

While the natural glow of the campfire is sure to light up most of your campsite, don’t get stuck in the dark. If you need to use lights, use LEDs. LEDs draw almost no power when charging and provide energy-efficient, long-lasting light. Plus, you can find battery-powered or solar charging options.

Toes in the Sand
Planning on road-tripping toward the sun, sand and sea? Before you hit the road, prepare your home to get some R&R while you’re out of town. Close the blinds, pull the curtains closed, adjust the temperature on your thermostat and water heater, and unplug all devices. You may find yourself coming home to savings on your energy bill.

Once settled, you will be ready to kick off your shoes and head right to the beach. Each time you leave the house, set the thermostat a couple degrees warmer so you’re not cooling an empty space.

After a packed day of building sun castles, catching waves or relaxing, rinse off at one of the showers by the beach. According to, heating water is the second-largest energy expense in a home. Pre-rinsing will reduce your shower time and conserve hot water.

Consider walking or riding your bike to dinner instead of jumping in the car. Not only will you feel less guilty about ordering the apple crisp AND peanut butter pie, you will be helping reduce emissions.

Preparing for the next day? Hang dry your towels, launder only full loads and wash in cold water when possible. Use liquid detergent rather than powder. Powder doesn’t dissolve as easily in cold water.

Backyard Staycation
Your plans may have changed this summer and your long-awaited vacation may be postponed or canceled. You don’t have to abandon the idea of a family vacation yet. Get creative and turn your backyard into a relaxing vacation destination. The more time you’re spending outside, the less energy you’re using inside!

If you had your heart set on enjoying the ocean or resort pool, get creative with the next best thing. Fill water balloons, turn on the garden hose or sprinkler and load up a baby pool. If the mountains were where your vacation hopes were, have a camp night. Bring out the sleeping bags, tents, s’more kits, and build your own camp under the stars.

Ditch cooking in the kitchen, fire up the grill and dine fancy al fresco. Cooking inside can make your house much warmer, prompting you to turn the AC up to cool down. Instead, have a family barbecue allowing every member to prepare his or her own dish for grilling.

Whether camping in the mountains, relaxing on the beach, or backyard staycationing, it's important to conserve energy wherever you choose to go.