6 Tips To Be a Green Globe Trotter
With Americans taking 1.8 billion leisure trips in 2017, travel is a good place to consider when we green our lives. A desire for environmentally responsible vacations has led to the development of ecotourism, defined as “responsible travel to natural areas that conserves the environment, sustains the well-being of the local people, and involves interpretation and education.”
Follow these tips when planning your next green vacation!
Support Locally Owned Businesses
By supporting locally owned businesses, our travel dollars stay in the local economy, creating the multiplier effect. This is the principle that more jobs and wealth are created when we support locally owned businesses. One study in Austin, Texas, shows that purchases generate more than three times the local economic activity when shoppers make their purchases from locally owned merchants instead of chain stores.
Use Green Travel Companies
There are certainly different shades of green and cultural sensitivity associated with tour companies. Although mission statements can be deceiving, it is a good start to select a company with a positive green mission statement, such as this one for Arutam Ecotours. This is especially important when traveling to highly sensitive ecosystems or interacting with indigenous populations.
Seek Attractions That Protect Habitat
While traveling in Ecuador last month, I heard many locals express how creating national parks are attracting tourists. In other words, protecting wildlife habitat is attracting tourists and creating green jobs.
Most cities have decent public transportation systems, and many countries have good rail or bus systems throughout. Using mass transit will keep your carbon emissions down while traveling. Getting information on routes can be tricky and may require asking knowledgeable locals. Google Maps has public transportation routes information for some areas, with train stops indicated on most maps. If you have a GPS, this can help prevent you from getting hopelessly lost or missing your stop.
Reduce Your Home Energy Use
Don’t forget to taper down your home energy use while traveling. If your home will be unused, turn off your hot water heater to eliminate standby loss. Turn your heating system down and unplug any unnecessary gadgets, such as alarm clocks, electric toothbrushes, televisions, DVD players, computers, modems, and printers, which often drain electricity even when not in use.