Who doesn’t love going on vacations, especially when it is to a far and exotic destination?
Fun as it is, however, such a trip can cost quite a bit in terms of its environmental impact. Nevertheless, you can have your pie and eat it too.
Yes, you can have a great vacation and still put your eco-oriented consciousness to ease. Here are five ideas on how to do so.
Minimize Your Carbon Footprint
Oh, there are so many options here, and contrary to popular belief, none of them will cause you inconvenience.
Let’s start with your method of transportation, which is one of the leading polluters worldwide. Could you switch the flight for a bus or a train trip? If that’s not feasible, you can still pick an airline with a carbon offset program. When you touch the ground, you have many more options to minimize your impact on the environment—riding a bike, renting an electric car, or using public transportation, for example.
Another thing to consider is your purchases. If you are planning to shop during your trip, do prior research on where you could find environmentally-friendly products.
Last but not least, think about the small things that add up. Opt for reusable straws, cups, and bottles, take shorter showers, and stay mindful of electricity use; these are all small steps you could take without sacrificing your enjoyment.
Pick Eco-Conscious Resorts
Few things are as relaxing as going to a beautiful resort where people will take care of your every whim. Unfortunately, pleasing many people with different tastes can come with a high cost for the environment. Just think about how much food goes to waste at such places, how much water and electricity a resort consumes, and how much waste it generates.
Fortunately, more and more resorts are paying attention to their impact on the environment and implementing eco-friendly changes to their operations. For example, the Six Senses Fiji resort is entirely powered by Tesla solar panels; the Indonesian Misool Eco Resort has come up with its own Responsible Tourism Policy including reef protection, among other things; and the Vdara Hotel and Spa at Vegas’ ARIA has earned six Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED®) Gold certifications for its sustainability efforts.
Have Fun Online
Speaking of Vegas, the city—one of the world’s top travel destinations—is not exactly famous for its friendliness towards the environment. Although many resorts and other venues in the city have joined the eco-movement, the place still has a long way to go before it can be called “green.” For example, a recent report by The American Lung Association (ALA) rated Vegas among the US cities with the worst air quality.
This doesn’t mean you have to choose between having fun and contributing to pollution.
Online casino operators provide alternatives for gamblers who are seeking entertainment but without the added carbon footprint that is associated with flights, and hotel and casino visits. On top of that, the company gives back to several charitable organizations that help people in need. Bottom line, if you are seeking some action during your trip, you can always pull out a mobile device while lying on a sunbed by the pool, and play whatever games float your boat.
Support Eco Initiatives
There’s a ton of opportunities for you to contribute to an eco-initiative and offset your vacation’s footprint.
One of the areas most impacted by travel, in general, is the ocean ecosystem. We’ve all seen what pollution, senseless fishing, and improper tourist behavior does to the natural water basins. This is why many organizations are vested in protecting and preserving this precious resource.
Another area that needs lots of help is the fight against unsustainable deforestation. From pamphlets and brochures to furniture there’s lots of wood that the travel industry needs; however, whether it is sustainably sourced is another question entirely.
Animal welfare is yet another suggestion for a cause that could use your helping hand in whatever form you can afford to give it.
Of course, we shouldn’t forget about the people, too. If you are planning on bringing back gifts or mementos from your travel, see if there are local giftshops that sustainably source their materials.
Mix Fun with Helpful
One of the best ideas for travelers who seek to do one better when going on vacation is to engage in “ecotourism.” The International Ecotourism Society defines it as “responsible travel to natural areas that conserves the environment, sustains the well-being of the local people and involves interpretation and education.”
In other words, you get to go on vacation, see breathtaking places, and on top of that engage in their preservation. Then you can spread the word about your fantastic experience and get more people involved.
In an article on the topic, USNews.com quotes eco-tourist Brandy Werner saying: “I don’t just want to see this beautiful planet and its creatures. I want my adventures to help protect them.” This quote best sums up the idea of mixing fun with being helpful.