Most of us try to incorporate green practices in our daily routine so as to minimize our environmental impact. If we didn’t put this habit on hold when we go on vacation, we’d never leave the house.
Traveling green takes less resources and has a positive impact on the environment. So why not use it to help you gain a deeper understanding of where you’ve traveled and its culture? Green tourism can be fun! Here are six easy ways to make sure that your next vacation is fun and eco-friendly.
Say Yes to Green Methods of Transportation
Choose a mode of travel that minimizes its carbon emissions as much as possible. Though traveling by road is usually a better choice for the environment than flying, it may not always be possible. The best way to reduce the environmental impact of air travel is to take an air-conditioned or direct flight, choose light baggage, and pack as few items as possible.
Some airlines allow you to reduce your environmental impact through carbon offsetting, which means that they’ll add a small fee to your flight ticket which would be used for funding eco-friendly programs.
There are lots of things to think about when you reach your destination. First, get comfortable with the area; then make sure you’re in the right place. After that, you can choose what to do or how to get around.
Get off your chair and explore the area. You may be surprised at what you find, and you’ll get to know the city better when you get to see it in a different way. This is important. There are many great hotels in the area that don’t offer regular shuttle service to popular attractions like Disney World or the beach.
Choose Eco-Friendly Hotels
Stay at eco-friendly hotels that follow green practices such as rain water harvesting, responsible waste and sewage disposal and use of alternative energy sources. There are many types of hotel rooms, some of which have been made from recycled materials. Many hotels even go a step further and use a combination of natural and recycled materials.
However, beware of greenwashing or hotels that only claim to be “green” without implementing even the simplest of eco-friendly measures. When choosing a financial services institution, try to find one that’s been certified by an independent auditor.
There is no need to stay in basic accommodations when visiting an eco-tourism site. You can easily enjoy all of the perks and comforts you usually look forward to during your vacation. Travel Channel says that some of the most luxurious hotels and resorts are eco-friendly and offer all modern amenities.
If you’re traveling to a place that doesn’t have eco-friendly accommodations, there are things you can do to reduce the environmental impact of your stay. Take a shower, you will feel fresher after that. Save water. Reduce your energy consumption by asking your staff to not replace your bedding daily. While leaving the room, turn off the fans, the light and all other electrical appliances.
Reuse and Recycle
While sightseeing on a hot day you can use up to four to eight bottles of water per day. If you want to minimize the amount of plastic you have to toss in the recycling bin, carry your own reusable water bottle with you.
Recycling centres are usually located at the destination, and if they don’t exist, look for local resources to recycle. Remember that plastic bags are also recyclable! Carry a spare battery for your camera or flashlight.
Most airline carriers don’t recycle, so it’s important that you do. Airlines only recycle about 20% of the waste they produce, but that’s okay, because that means we still have a lot of work to do.
You may not be able to change your airline’s eco-policies, but you can minimize the impact of your travel by carrying the little water bottles they give you off the plane and disposing them in a recycle bin at the airport terminal.
Engage Your Family in Green Activities
Find eco-friendly activities for your family at your destination. If conducted responsibly, horseback riding, hiking, scuba diving, and birding tours, etc, offer plenty of opportunities to learn, relax and enjoy without harming the environment.
Always stay within the guidelines and rules given by your guide. Coral reefs are living organisms which are sensitive to even the tiniest disturbance.
The best diving spots for coral reefs are often near to areas with reefs, such as the Great Barrier Reef in Australia. These locations often require you to use chemical sunscreens that don’t damage or bleach coral.
When hiking, stay on the paths to avoid damaging the plants and wildlife that live in and around them. Don’t forget to clean up after yourself! Always follow the “no-trace” policy and leave the place as if you had never been there.
Support the Local Economy
Instead of choosing between local food flavors and chain restaurants, you might want to try out some local specialty foods in addition to local food flavors. While shopping for souvenirs, look for items that represent the region’s culture, history, and traditions. Buy them from local craftsmen.
Don’t buy jewelry or other knick-knacks that are made from endangered species or other wild animals. It’s easy to imagine yourself keeping a little piece of that coral reef as a souvenir to take home. To preserve natural beauty, we have to do what’s best for the world’s future generations, not just our own.
Try a Volunteer Vacation
To contribute to the environment in a more concrete, hands-on way than what we’ve discussed here so far, then you should definitely consider a volunteer vacation. Voluntourism is a great alternative to vacationing and volunteering at the same time.
It’s a great way to get out and about and make a positive impact in a new community while having fun. Volunteering with a reputable organization that asks people to work as trail builders is a good idea, so that you don’t have any bad experiences. Register for a trip, preferably one that lasts several weeks.