Planning a vacation entails a lot of work, from selecting the right travel insurance to booking a ticket and hotel. Aside from the necessities of travel and personal arrangements, the question of traveling responsibly is also a major concern.
Many travelers feel guilty about leaving a large amount of carbon footprint while on vacation. However, we live in an age where environmentally-responsive solutions have been adapted to improve tourism and travel. By planning ahead, you can enjoy your vacation while being a responsible traveler.
How to Find Eco-Friendly Accommodations
One important aspect of eco-friendly travelling is booking a green hotel for your vacation. If you are planning to stay in a hotel that claims to be eco-friendly, I would advise you to do your research before booking your stay. The first step is to check the hotel’s website for a green policy or local certification. The US has an EPA Energy Star for Hospitality that is used as an environmental standard for the hotel industry. For green construction certification, the US follows the LEED standard. Find out if the hotel has a stamp of approval from the local green certification agency.
If the mainstream tourist hotels are not your cup of tea, I would advise exploring green-certified smaller accommodations like bed and breakfasts and lodges. Smaller accommodations usually operate on less energy and water, compared to high-rise hotels and resorts. A green travel forum is a great venue to ask around for information. Another option is to check online sites for ratings and comments by travelers who have stayed in the hotel before.
Another tip is to explore alternative options. Find out if there is an eco-tourism program that allows travelers to stay with a local family or in a community-owned lodge. Using local services and facilities ensure that revenues stay in the community.
Keeping Fit While on Vacation
Keeping fit while on a vacation shouldn’t be a challenge. Eco-friendly guided tours generally incorporate a host of outdoor activities in their itinerary. From walking, hiking, mountain climbing, to abseiling, there are a variety of choices for the active traveler.
Another way to keep fit and green is to purchase local food and fresh produce. Veer away from fast food restaurants and try local healthy options. Experience local culinary traditions by supporting food establishments in the community.
Nan Gibbons is an environmentalist and jet set fitness expert. She spends her time traveling to advise at sporting events, being a motivational speaker, and volunteering at various environmental charities. In her free time, she enjoys running the beach with her best friend and lab mix Cody.