Pack it up, pack it in.

Editor’s note: Umbra’s on a hard-earned vacation herself, so instead of her regularly scheduled column, we’re pulling this gem out of the archives.

Stuck in a cubicle, straining your neck for a glimpse of summer sun? The 9-to-5 routine can be particularly irksome when the weather’s lovely. Daydreaming about future vacations can help ease the strain, and a little forethought can go a long way in making trips more sustainable. A Washington state reader wants to map out future travel with her husband:

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We’ve had the typical RV fantasy as we do love to travel, but we worry about the gas consumption and resulting emissions that would come of that route. We could tour around in our Prius and stay at budget hotels (and probably break even monetarily), but we’re concerned with their poor laundering, heating/cooling and other consumption choices. Of course we love foreign travel, but the emissions from airplanes are hard to justify, even with purchasing carbon offsets. Any ideas … ?”

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Read on for Umbra’s answer. She advises not to fret about hotels and recommends the Union of Concerned Scientists’ guide to lower-carbon vacations.