Summer is coming along nicely, and a lot of people like you are away on holiday enjoying varying degrees of sunshine. There are various kinds of holidays for you to choose from, of course. Maybe you’re considering a big, multi-faceted excursion to a theme park, a cruise, or a full-on adventure tour to the sub-continent.
Whichever option you choose, there are some things which we’re coming to realize we can’t afford to go on vacation from. Of course here I’m talking about being aware of how our presence in any place has an impact on that environment. With this in mind, it doesn’t really matter where we are when we’re on holiday. The responsibility remains.
So, I thought it might be useful to take a look and see what some green experts are saying on the subject of taking holidays from our daily grinds, but not from our responsibilities to the natural world that sustains us. Here are 8 tips to do just that. Take a look.
1. Research your destination
There are a number of avenues to look at when you’re planning a trip. And knowing where you’re going as far as cultural attitudes, conditions, climate, local wildlife, will help you prepare all-around, and ultimately help you to get the most out of your trip. Researching your destination for things like green-friendly tours, green hotels, and other aspects of your trip that best fall in line with your environmentally conscious values is the first step when thinking about a more eco-friendly holiday.
For information about how to begin and where to find information about your chosen destination, take a look at this article by Erik Folgate of @GreenTravelHub that outlines sources of how to research a vacation online.
2. Take an ‘eco’ tour
Sometimes partnering with a touring company that knows the ropes as far as ecological sensitivity is concerned is the way to go. It can also involve a boost in your education on global ecological issues, and in some cases helps to raise awareness and money toward ecologically sensitive areas, too. In this sense, your vacation can be more than just a simple getaway. It can actually further the cause of preserving our environment, even as you’re minimizing your impact on it while you’re away.
3. Think about ecologically sound purchases/packaging before and during your holiday
Even if you’re not on an eco-tour, it doesn’t mean that you can’t be ecologically-minded while on your holiday. One guideline to this is being conscious that while you’re in a place, you will have some impact upon it. One of the biggest areas that contributes this impact is in the products you buy, which includes the ingredients found in things like sunscreen, and insect repellent. Also, the packaging that goes with the products you buy often ends up as waste you leave behind. As an eco-conscious traveler, a good mission is to leave your destination in the same condition you found it in, including being conscious of your contributions to trash cans, garbage trucks, landfill sites, and even to air and water.
4. Travel light
Simply put, the less you take, the less lasting impact you leave behind. Think about the essentials while including only choice creature comforts. Think of your holiday not so much as an exercise in transferring your belongings from one place to another but more as a chance to unwind by seeing how many items you can do without. This way, you’ll reduce the fuel requirements on plains, trains, and automobiles necessary to bear the weight of your belongings. And the stress of worrying about and carrying your belongings will be less, too. This makes for a more enjoyable experience, with a significant green value attached to it as well.
5. Choose low-impact transportation options
When it comes to modes of transportation, think about what your options really are for a holiday. Where possible, why not choose a destination you can get to via train travel, which has less impact than traveling by plane. And you get to see new landscapes on the way that you wouldn’t have seen thirty thousand feet in the air. When you get to where you’re going, think about renting bikes or using public transportation instead of renting a car, if possible. If not practical, think about options for renting a hybrid car while you’re on holiday.
Read this article for more information about choosing ecologically sound transportation options from Low Impact Living.
6. Take cues from the locals
This tip is particularly true if you’re going to the Third World, where laundry is regularly dried on a line instead of in energy-hungry dryers, where food that goes into local cuisine is harvested in season and grown locally, where re-use and recycling are a matter of course, and where bike riding is more common than car ownership. While there, why not follow suit, and do what the locals do? This will add authenticity and cultural enrichment to your trip. And maybe, you can bring some of that green-friendly wisdom home with you, too.
7. Buy an ‘Offset’
Sometimes, taking an international flight is the only option for your holiday, or business trip. Unfortunately, air travel tends to be one of the least-green modes of transportation there is. So, how can you add a green aspect to air travel? One way is by buying an offset, which means paying a premium that will be invested in a green initiative in the area to which you’ll be flying, or even in another area. Projects attached to carbon offset purchases are very specific like cleaning a river system, reforestation programs, or in the establishment of green energy.
8. Take a ‘stay-cation’
One way to avoid impact in an exotic or otherwise faraway locale is to take advantage of what your local area has to offer. The tendency for us not to enjoy the things that tourists to our cities do is pretty widespread. So, why not visit national parks, and nature spots as a series of day trips, or camping excursions? For the more urban-minded, check out the museums, art galleries, and walking tours that your city, or a city near to where you live, offers the rest of the world. This way, there’s no jet fuel burned up, no packaging left in foreign locales, and no extra resources consumed that you wouldn’t have consumed already. This can be a great way to make your holidaying dollar go farther, too.
For even more ideas, read this article on how to plan your ideal ‘stay-cation’ thanks to @SuperEco
An overarching principle when thinking about making your holiday more eco-friendly is that of the ‘leave no trace’ approach. Read this article for more tips on how to achieve no-trace results while on vacation from @ForDummies.
To learn more about environmentally responsible tourism in general, follow @STI_Travel (Sustainable Travel International) on Twitter.