Cruising seems more eco-friendly than flying — after all, a cruise's carbon footprint can't be as bad as that of a round-the-world flight, right? Unfortunately, going by ship might not be any better for Mother Earth. At sea, untreated cruise-ship waste (including raw sewage) can legally be dumped directly into the ocean as long as it's at least three miles out from shore. (Think about that the next time you're swimming.)
Cruise ships contaminate more than water: Their emissions seriously contribute to air pollution. Some cruise ships work to manage their sewage and pollution in an environmentally friendly manner, but others don't. If you care about the environment, research the eco-policies of your ship before you cruise. Friends of the Earth's cruise-ship report card is a good place to start.
Pilots Are Overworked and Underpaid
Here's something you don't want to hear from the pilot who literally has your life in his or her hands: "The truth is, we're exhausted. Our work rules allow us to be on duty 16 hours without a break. That's many more hours than a truck driver. And unlike a truck driver who can pull over at the next rest stop, we can't pull over at the next cloud." That quote, from an anonymous captain at a major airline, is just one of many included in a Reader's Digest interview.
If you want to be even more scared, read this Los Angeles Times article that describes a typical workday in the life of a regional airline copilot — one who makes about $28,000 per year to be on duty 12 to 13 hours a day, four days a week, often enduring a long commute and even sleeping in the airport just to get to his first flight.
Hotel Beds Are Disgusting
It's bad enough that most hotels don't change the bedspreads between guests (only the sheets), but did you know that the mattresses themselves are probably pretty filthy as well? Many hotels don't use waterproof mattress covers to protect the mattresses from the millions of skin cells, bodily secretions, bacteria, dust mites, and other allergens that guests leave behind.
And as for those not-so-fresh bedspreads, Reneta McCarthy, a lecturer at Cornell University's School of Hotel Administration, tells CNN, "Is it possible that a bedspread might only be changed four times a year? Yeah, it is." Sweet dreams!