Nontoxic Travel

While you're on the road, there's no need to compromise on the purity of your environment. Many hotels—both chains and independents—now offer the pristine surroundings you're used to at home: filtered air, pure water, even nontoxic cleaning products.

Best Inns & Suites, for example, a chain of economy hotels, has more than 2,200 "evergreen rooms" with air and water filtration systems. (Select Holiday Inns, Ramadas, and Best Westerns have green rooms as well.) Guests requesting an evergreen room will find a space virtually free of airborne allergens, dust, and odors, as well as tap water from which all iron, sulfur, chlorine, and calcium have been removed.

If your travels take you east, check out the Sheraton Rittenhouse Square in Philadelphia. The smoke-free hotel recycles the air throughout its 193 rooms twice a day. The lobby itself contains a mini-jungle of palm trees that freshly oxygenate the atmosphere. To enhance the quality of your sleep, sheets, pillows, bedspreads, and mattresses are made from 100 percent organically grown unbleached cotton and wool. The paint and wallcoverings are nontoxic and chemical free. Even the cleaning products are pedigreed; most are made by Envirosafe Inc., whose products are recommended by Green Seal, a Washington, D.C.-based organization that promotes environmentally responsible products and practices in the lodging industry.

Another chain that has instituted sound ecological policies is the Green Hotel Group and Ecotel, an international collection of inns, hotels, and resorts that mandates for its facilities the conservation of water, recycling, and the reduction of waste. One hotel that's received its certification is the Benjamin in midtown Manhattan, thanks to its low-flow showerheads and an extensive recycling program. For more information on traveling green, log on to www.greenhotels.com and www.evergreenrooms.com.