I have visited some of the cleanest cities in the world as well as some of the most polluted. I have seen some of the worlds worst air pollution in Beijing, rivers in Malaysia that are so over run with litter that a boat hardly moves through. But I have also visited places like Costa Rica working hard to protect species and natural habitat and cities like Vancouver where green roofs, renewable energy and full scale recycling & composting are standard. Tourism can reek havoc on our world but when we take the extra effort to educate ourselves on our surroundings and travel with companies that make our planet a priority, travel can have more benefits than any other industry. Here are some of my tips on how you can be a better responsible tourist.
Green Travel Tips
- Traveling by air? Purchase carbon offsets. Delta, Spirit and Air Canada ask you before checkout if you want to add these on to your ticket price. For short flights this can be as little as $10 additional dollars. Or you can go to Terrapass.com and purchase anytime.
- Choose a green certified hotel- Try TravGanic for a great selection.
- Take Public Transit whenever possible. Find hotels that have airport shuttles and walk or bike if you can instead of driving.
- If you do have to drive look into a low-E or hybrid car rental.
- Pack smart: the heavier your luggage the more fuel it takes to go from point A to Point B.
Be Water Conscience
- People’s need for water is expected to exceed our supply by as much as 40% by 2030. The hospitality industry is an industry that relies heavily on water and businesses often operate in highly water scarce areas.
- Always bring a reusable water bottle with a filter depending on what country you are visiting. I like the Ketadyn Water Filtration System.
- Be mindful of where you are. Don’t take an hour long shower when you are in drought pillaged area even if you are at the Four Seasons.
- Ask for your linens and towels to not be changed unless you really need them to be.
- Just because we are on vacation, doesn’t mean we need to be wasteful
- Turn off your TV & lights when you are not in your room
- More hotels are finding that when they educate their own staff and guests about local issues they become more involved in wanting to help out and conserve.
- Get out and experience nature wherever you travel.
- Visit a National Park or World Heritage Site.
- Check out my Tours/Expeditions page for some great socially responsible tours from companies like National Geographic, World Wildlife Federation, G Adventures and Baobab Travel. You can learn directly from experts in their fields about numerous topics like animals, photography, marine eco systems and many more.
- Looking to do something good without breaking the bank? You can volunteer on an organic farm for free room and board by visiting WWOOF.org .
- If you would rather get close to animals or help people there are thousands of charities around the world needing volunteers and catering to volunteer vacations.
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