Written by Kirsten Taggart
Watch out, world! Ecotourism is a rising trend in travel as tourists are eager to preserve beautiful sites all over the globe. Environmentally conscious individuals are doing their part in maintaining nature by participating in eco-friendly tourism programs in various countries. However, there’s more that can be done! Use the following tips to make your vacation as green as it can be.
Booking your trip
- Many hotels are going green! When researching, look for ones that are environmentally conscious. Here are some questions you may want to ask:
- Does the hotel actively recycle?
- In what ways does the hotel reduce consumption (i.e. energy-efficient lighting, eco-friendly power sources, water reducing appliances)?
- Public transportation is always better than taking your car, but the best ways to travel are by bus or train. If you do travel by plane, choose a direct flight to cut emissions.
- Purchase tickets online to avoid delivery charges and fees if the tickets are lost.
Before you leave:
- Unplug appliances – even if they are off, they can leak 40 watts per hour.
- Shut down your PCs – don’t keep them on “sleep” mode!
- Pack an environmental friendly water bottle in your carry-on to avoid buying multiple plastic bottles. You can purchase reusable bottles from companies like Sigg and Klean Kanteen.
- Pack your own snacks so you don’t have to resort to unhealthy, overpriced food at rest stops, airports, etc. I usually buy organic, prepackaged burritos to make just before I leave as a meal on the go. Other slow-burning snacks include granola, trail mix, nuts.
At the hotel
- Instead of throwing your towel on the floor after one shower, use it multiple times during your stay and inform management that you won’t need a daily towel change. The same goes for changing sheets. This will help cut water use.
- If you’re staying in a warm place, turn off the AC and open the windows.
- Switch off the lights on your way out.
- Some hotels allow you to review your bill on the hotel television. Use this option (if available) to save paper.
Traveling and Sightseeing
- Rent a hybrid car when you go sightseeing! You’ll save money on gas and cut emissions.
- If you’re traveling from place to place, take a train instead of a plane.
- Exploring one area? Skip the tour bus and opt for a walking tour (remember to bring your sneakers!). You’ll also get a greater chance to interact with the locals and experience the culture if you’re on foot.
- Purchase local products, but be sure that they are animal and environmentally friendly.
- As always, wait until you find a garbage can before you dispose of your trash
- Don’t forget to bring your reusable bottle and digital camera!