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Let’s Go On A Green Vacation

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Due to the increase in environmental awareness green vacations and green travel are becoming more popular. So what qualifies as an eco friendly vacation or travel?
The International Ecotourism Society (TIES), describes green vacation as “responsible travel to natural areas that conserves the environment and improves the well-being of local people.” TIES recommends following these eco friendly travel principles:

  • Leaves a minimal impact
  • Try to stay in local, eco-friendly accommodations
  • Support local businesses that promote sustainability. This also supports the local economy.
  • Use local guides or tour services

get green vacationSo as a green traveler you want to do two things:

1. Protect the places you visit and lessen or compensate for the carbon footprints from your travel. This means preserving, natural resources, plants, wildlife, and culture in the local communities.

2. It also means making a more eco friendly choices about transportation and lodging. You can choose to stay at a resort that practices sustainable operating practices. Since planes and cars give off the most carbon dioxide you may choose to travel by bus or train. If you must fly, consider purchasing a carbon offset or stay in a green hotel to compensate for the flight’s carbon emissions.
Carbon offsets are a form of trade. When you buy an offset, you fund projects that reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Carbon offsets let you pay to reduce the global greenhouse gas emissions instead of making radical or impossible reductions of your own. So it’s similar to restoring a balance.  Carbon offsetting is always voluntary.

Be aware though that some environmental activists believe that staying close to home is the best form of a green vacation or traveling.  There are downsides to this belief.  For example, developing countries rely greatly on tourism for their development. Well managed tourism can help fight poverty and promote growth. Also traveling far from home can provide long term educational benefits as in students exchange and learning first hand abroad. It also promotes opportunity to volunteer.

Some green vacation ideas are house swapping and camping. Consider an eco friendly travel adventure to places where you can camp and use your car and fuel minimally. This type of green vacation has the added benefit of allowing you to explore nature in a sustainable way.

Be careful of businesses who pretends to be environmentally friendly just to get your money. Pick up the phone and ask questions to verify their authenticity. Ask them exactly what they do to promote eco friendly travel and sustainable practices.  The following are some of the things that the hotels, and lodges can be doing to promote an eco friendly way of living:

Do they have a consumption reduction plan. For example do they use alternative energy sources like solar or wind power? Do they have low-flow toilets and showers, energy-efficient lighting?  Are they saving water, are there options for guess to re-use towels and sheets rather than every day changes? Do they recycle and what type?  Do they operate local or use local hire, how does the hotel contribute to the local community?

Also are the parks and beaches conserving energy by using energy-efficient lighting, enforcing recycling, and planting trees, etc?

Contrary to what some might think, green travelling doesn’t necessarily have to cost more. The sustainable operating techniques such as mentioned above can save an establishment a considerable amount of money.  What saves them money saves you money as a guest.  In fact you may find green travel is simply cheaper.

Supporting green travel makes way for better ecotourism growth for the future. So supporting places and countries that seriously endorses green vacations and travel will allow better funding for green trips and sustainable tours, allowing for a more enjoyable, healthier experience while saving the environment.