5 Simple Tips to Have a Fun and Eco-Friendly Vacation

Make sure your memorable vacations are also environmentally-friendly.

Dec 27, 2018

(Photo by Jeremy Bishop on Unsplash)

Vacationing is one of life’s greatest pleasures. Whether it’s a relaxing stay-cation, a trip to the Caribbean, or adventures in the Far East, traveling reconnects us to ourselves; stimulates our senses with new sights, sounds, and flavors; and encourages us to be present. To make sure that your memorable vacations are also environmentally-friendly, we’ve put together some easy ways to green your holiday travels this year.

1. Think Local

You don’t necessarily need to leave the country or state for a successful and peaceful vacation. Flights are some of the most polluting parts of our vacations, so look into local activities that can fill your vacation needs- wineries, history, spas, and nature can be found almost everywhere! These vacations also tend to support the local economy, as you’ll be interacting with many mom-and-pop shops; save you money; and maximize your actual vacation time since there are no airport lines and jetlag to deal with!

(Photo by adrian on Unsplash)

2. Offset or Minimize Your Flight’s Emissions

If you do choose to go abroad, organizations like ClimateCare can help you offset your flight’s carbon emissions. Some airlines also have much greener practices than others; check out this website for some examples. Moreover, opt for direct flights whenever possible, since takeoff and landing are the most energy-intensive parts of the flight.

3. Use Public and Sustainable Transport Wherever Possible

Whether it's taking a train to get to your destination or busing around once you’re already there, taking public transportation offers more adventure, excitement, surprising views, and great book-time that cars just don’t offer. If you must rent a vehicle, go for an electric or hybrid car.

(Vassamon Anansukkasem / Shutterstock.com)

4. Immerse Yourself in Community-Based Tourism

Community-based tourism is a broad term for a vacation that centers around local culture and local businesses. This can mean staying at a guesthouse run by the local woman’s group or volunteering at a WWOOF farm (Worldwide Opportunities on Organic Farms) for example. Community-based tourism often provides a more authentic experience of the food, history, and culture, because the local community hosts you without the middle-men of international corporations. This type of tourism is more sustainable because locals are less likely to harm their immediate environment as compared to a chain hotel.

(GillianVann / Shutterstock.com)

5. Seek out Ecotourism Providers

Eco-tourism is in the same family as community-based tourism and is a method of providing tourists with attractions and accommodation using sustainable practices. Eco-tourism can be found almost everywhere - look for eco-lodges, for example, which are usually designed with green building techniques, purchase produce locally, and sell local artisan crafts. Greenwashing is a-plenty in these situations, so do your research before to make sure that the host really is green.

Taking a rest from the daily grind by vacationing is incredibly important for our wellbeing. What’s beautiful is that these tips are not only beneficial for the earth, they are also great ways to renew ourselves and our perspectives. The best way to travel is to be a conscious traveler- so ask the locals how you can be a ‘greener’ tourist. Maybe you’ll even end up leaving the region cleaner than when you got there!

HILLA BENZAKEN, CONTRIBUTOR
Hilla Benzaken is a dedicated optimist. Her happy place involves cooking, acting, gardening, and fighting for social justice. She writes about all things sustainability, innovation, and DIY.

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