Ecotourism, or “green travel”, is on the rise. Increasing numbers of us are concerned about how our travels impact the environments and local communities of our destinations. Luckily, there are lots of things we can do to ensure that the world’s most beautiful places stay that way for future generations. From adjusting our travelling habits to selecting eco-friendly destinations, here are some simple tips on how to travel responsibly and still have an amazing time.
Wherever you’re headed, there are tons of things you can do to ensure that your trip is an earth-friendly one. Start at the planning stage – how will you get there? If it’s possible to drive to your destination instead of flying, then do so. If it’s possible to take the train, even better! The CO2 emissions on an average Eurail Global Pass trip – which is also a highly enjoyable way to see some of the world’s most amazing locations – is about 3 times less per person than taking the same route by car and 4 times less than traveling by plane. If you must fly, choose an airline with high occupancy rates, and always choose to offset your carbon emissions if there’s an option to do so – it usually won’t add much to the price of your ticket. Pack light to consume less fuel – if you’ve cash to spare, check out Travel & Leisure’s cool selection of handy eco-friendly travel gadgets. And always remember that your environmental responsibility begins before you step out of your front door. Unplug all appliances (TVs, microwaves, toasters, stereos and the like can all consume power in their “off” mode) and remember to turn down your thermostat and water heater.
Where Should I Go?
When planning your trip, look for an environmentally friendly place to stay – many hotels and other types of accommodation now have energy efficiency policies in place. Planning a shorter vacation, or on a budget? Consider driving or taking the train to a closer destination than you’d normally choose, or even taking a carbon-neutral “staycation” at home – believe it or not, they can be fun!
If you want to spend more or go a little further, consider choosing a specialised ecotourism destination – the experts at ecotourism.org offer some great ideas, while responsibletravel.com makes it super-easy to book your eco-friendly trip. When you get there, always remember to conserve water (using a refillable water container is a great way to start), limit your energy use and reduce and recycle wherever possible. Choose environmentally friendly transport – hire bikes (it’s a great way to see your destination!) or take public transport instead of renting a car. Avoid damaging recreational activities and watch your choice of souvenirs. Finally, don’t forget enjoy the amazing natural and cultural wonders you’re making so much effort to preserve!
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