Tips for Taking an Eco-Friendly Vacation
If you are green aware and green sensitive, then you’re not likely to enjoy a vacation to a location that is not. Plan your vacation early, so you can make sure that you’ve organized the perfect “green” vacation.
There are two broad classifications of green get-aways. The first is your classic tent-and-canteen camping trip. The second, becoming increasingly popular, is the resort green vacation.
Countries, people and businesses in the tourist industry are discovering that more and more travelers are eco-conscious, eco-savvy and eco-demanding. They are responding to the requests and expectations of their guests.
Tiny Carbon Footprints
Keeping our carbon presence to a minimum is the goal. Environmentally friendly vacations allow the traveler to experience the wonders of nature all over the world, without harming the delicate environments visited. There are ever-increasing numbers of resort locations becoming sensitive to being conservative.
Here are some of the ways these resorts and vacation destinations are contributing to being green. You can support them in their endeavors.
• Towels, washcloths and bed linens do not have to be changed every day. Getting more use out of them saves on water, cleaners, power and labor.
• Use the internet for things that previously came only in paper form such as maps, directories, listings of restaurants, museums, galleries, entertainment and other vacation location information. This saves trees, the chemistry that goes into printing inks, and the power that goes into printing. It also saves the money resort locations must spend on expensive, full-color printing – which every traveler sees reflected in their vacation package whether they pick up these printed materials or not.
• Eating locally not only gives you a true experience of the local culture and color, but it’s conservative. Whether home or abroad, eating produce that is grown locally is tastier, more nutritious and environmentally conservative. Under-ripe produce that is trucked and/or shipped from one place to another is expensive, and doesn’t taste nearly as delicious.
When in Rome
• Where ever you go, travel as the locals do, using public transportation when practical. Again, it gives you a true experience of being in the local culture, it is conservative to the environment, and it’s likely to be the cheapest mode of transportation. It’s not only conservative for the local eco-system, but it’s conservative on your pocketbook as well.
• Learn to pack light and travel light. Quite frankly, when you’re traveling, no one really cares what you’re wearing. Neither should you. The goal is about what you are getting to see, not about being seen. The advantages of traveling light are numerous. Here are a few:
1. You’ll enjoy your trip more if you’re not hauling a bunch of luggage around.
2. The less you carry, the less you’ll be charged for luggage.
3. The less weight everyone carries on planes, trains, ships and automobiles means it takes less power/energy to move what and who is aboard about.
4. If you leave light, it gives you room to bring home a few mementos or little gifts.
5. If your luggage gets lost, you have less to regret losing.
The most important of these, of course, is the conservation of power with the mode of transportation.
Keep in mind that flying uses the most energy per passenger, so when practical, take other modes of transportation.
Research travel destinations that are seriously committed to reducing their carbon footprint. Did you know that Costa Rica has pledged to be the first carbon-neutral country in the world, with a projection of being entirely carbon neutral by 2021? You might consider taking a trip to this example-setting county. Their electricity is already almost completely generated from geothermal energy and hydroelectric power wind farms. They have a gas tax that is paid to farmers and landowners to grow trees and to protect the forests.
Given that this small country has approximately 5% of the world’s animal and plant species, this is a win in every direction for both Costa Rica and the tourist. The Costa Rican environment will be sustained, while the traveler has the advantage of responsibly observing a remarkable wealth of flora and fauna diversity.
Close to Home
If, on the other hand, you’re considering a traditional, home-based camping get-away, you can keep in mind several of the above tips such as eating the local produce and traveling light. Your vehicle, too, will get better mileage if traveling lighter.
Or you might think about seeing the county by train, backpacking where ever you choose. Let the engineer do the driving while you sit back and watch the countryside go by, which, along train tracks, is more natural and breath-taking. Nature comes close to tracks, unlike along the broad expanses of freeways.
Taking these few point into consideration, you’ll discover that not only is your green-aware, eco-friendly vacation kind to mother earth, but you’ll return home feeling great about having stepped lightly on your journey.