As February drones on with the last of the winter weather, cabin fever tends to settle into our bones. The wanderlust for faraway places enters into our dreams, and vacation plans abound. If you are planning a vacation this summer that will take you farther than the neighborhood park, or a few day trips, here are a few eco-friendly tips to save on your energy bill I found on

Unplug everything: Sure you usually turn off your lights and turn the thermostat to a low usage level (up or down depending on the temperature outdoors), but do you usually unplug all of the incidental appliances throughout your house? Not only is this a better safety measure, it can save you 10 percent on your electric bill. Appliances such as TVs, DVD players, clock radios – anything that emits a light source or is “on “ even when it’s off – takes electricity. Unplug that appliance while you’re out and save some green!

Eat your food: You don’t want all of those perishables going to waste in your refrigerator; so, be sure you finish them off before you leave town. If you simply can’t consume them all, give them to your neighbors or friends. Then fill your refrigerator and freezer with milk jugs of water. A full refrigerator actually uses less energy than an empty one. This is another good practice even when you’re in town, especially for the freezer. (It’s probably a little impractical for the refrigerator if you’re home!) I keep jugs of water in the freezer for this reason, then when I go camping I have ice for the coolers ready, and as it melts drinking water is available!

Have the post office hold your mail: Your mail will be a lot more secure if someone picks it up for you daily. Rather than having a friend drive to your house for this chore, simply fill out the card and have the post office hold it for you. They can hold mail for up to 30 days, letting you relax on your trip knowing this has been done with little effort and no favors from a friend or neighbor.

Leave a light on: Many people leave a light on for a safety precaution. While this is effective, it is more energy efficient to use timers indoors and motion detectors outdoors. (Actually, motion detectors outdoors year-round are a better idea than keeping your flood light on all of the time. It also cuts down on light pollution.)

With a little planning, your vacation can be a relaxing respite from the daily grind and you can still be Green while you’re away from home!