Summer is a time for relaxation and vacations. Eco-tourism or Green Travel has been around for a long time, but with the Green Movement taking hold, it is now a part of the mainstream traveler’s mind. So what exactly is Eco-Tourism and how do you take part?
Most people think of hiking through the wilderness or sleeping a tree fort when the words Green Travel are used. This is just simply not true! Although, hiking and camping out is a great way to spend a vacation, it is not the only way to travel the world and still be environmentally friendly! Eco-tourism is defined by a vacation or trip that leaves minimal impact on the environment and culture one and is traveling to. There are plenty of hotels, resorts, and tour companies that boast their Green Travel attributes. But there are a few things you can do to minimize your own travel footprint and still enjoy your dream vacation. Below is a simple 5 step guide to making your summer or year round travels just a little more helpful for the environment!
- Alternative Transportation: Instead of the traditional summer road trip or the long flight across the world, try taking an alternate and more environmentally friendly mode of travel such as biking, train travel, bus, or sailboat. Of course if you do decide to drive you can always rent a hybrid or drive a veggie fuel car. Not only will you be helping environment, you will be saving yourself some sweet cash by dodging those ever-rising gas prices. Finally, if you are traveling somewhere by air, try offsetting your carbon impact with one of these companies.
- Stay Local: If you really want to make an impact, travel locally. Explore the exciting culture inside your own city or town. Or for a bit more excitement, adventure in the natural habitat close to your home. A good resource for local travel is your city or town’s local paper, chamber of commerce or the National and State Park System. It may seem boring to stay local, but you would be surprised by what your own backyard has in store for you!
- Choose Eco-Friendly Companies: When booking a lodging or tour company, make sure to research their environmental practices. You can always contact the particular company yourself or there are a number of websites that do the work for you! Check out these helpful websites when booking hotels, bed and breakfasts, tours, and restaurants. And if you really want to be sure the lodging company you are choosing is in fact Green, there are a number of Green Certification websites, that will assure you are making the greenest choices. Also, a great resource for finding green hotels is IStayGreen.Org, suggested by reader larryvance. This site not only lists hotels, but rates them on their “greeness” and provides social networking between travelers.
- Volunteer: Instead of just traveling to exotic locations, try combining your getaway into a experience that will not only help the social or ecological environmental you visit, but will also make you feel involved. There are a ton of organizations that will put you to good use while you explore the world! Instead of just rewarding yourself with just a vacation, reward your soul with a Volunteer Getaway!
- Be Responsible: Remember to be responsible when traveling in your own backyard or abroad. Take reusable items such as water bottles and always recycle. You can also conserve energy in your room, by turning out all lights and shutting off electric devices when not needed. Also, you can conserve water and energy by not using hotel laundry service everyday. And lastly, NEVER litter whether you are in a city or out in the wilderness.