It’s fairly easy to be environmentally friendly at home, where you have easy access to recycling facilities and reusable goods. But when you travel abroad, you’ll often find that these services and items don’t exist. In an effort to visit natural areas and have little to no impact, educate yourself and practice these green traveling tips.
Choose a Green Hotel
Green hotels incorporate environmentally friendly practices that can greatly lower their impact on the surrounding ecosystems. According to the Green Hotels Association, a good hotel recycling program can keep more than $1,000 worth of establishment-related items out of the waste stream every month. Other eco-friendly hotel practices include using low-energy lighting, encouraging the reuse of towels and other linens, and even installing new, more efficient HVAC equipment.
Discourage Illegal Trading
In some areas, locals may sell historic artifacts, endangered species or products made from these species. Help preserve the local area by refusing to buy these items. Sometimes, shady dealers are willing to sell even more than what is readily available around them— like your credit card information. Keep your personal information in a safe place in a hotel safe or money belt you wear. Travelers shouldn’t carry their Social Security cards, according to USA.gov. Also, be aware of “shoulder surfers” who could be spying on your passwords or other personal information. Learn more about ID theft facts before you go by visiting Lifelock.com. This company specializes in protecting users from the illegal trading of their personal data and the effects of such trading.
Volunteer on Vacation
Forget about joining throngs of tourists at all the popular sightseeing spots and instead experience a culture by helping it. Many people are taking volunteer vacations to spend time cleaning a community affected by a natural disaster, helping out in an orphanage or teaching language skills. Habitat for Humanity sponsors a Global Village volunteer program where teams together with community locals build or renovate homes around the world. Visit Habitat.org to learn more about joining or supporting the Global Village program.
Geotourism supports the sustaining or enhancing of the local environment at a tourist destination. According to National Geographic’s Center for Sustainable Destinations, this practice isn’t just for the tourists. The governments of allied tourist destinations pledge to help prevent their areas from being “loved to death.” They place limits on the amount of tourists that are allowed, use sustainable practices and measure tourism success by things like length of stay and amount of money spent instead of merely recording how many people visit. To support geotourism, make a point of visiting places with a government that has signed on to these policies.
Take Your Junk Home with You
Since many locations don’t have recycling facilities, be prepared to take your waste home with you for proper disposal. This will ensure that your stay doesn’t result in more garbage for the local landfill. If you use bottled water, crush the bottles for easy transport back to your home for recycling.
About the author: Jennifer Craver loves the outdoors and sharing ideas with readers on the right car to get for the great outdoors and camping with the family.