Every year, families throughout the world travel to different destinations for vacation. Although fun, traveling can make it difficult to maintain a low carbon footprint. From transportation pollution to tourist activities which endanger the environment, it can be hard to enjoy a family vacation while still being mindful of the environment. Here are some tips to consider for your family’s next vacation that will help you make lasting memories, while also helping conserve the environment.
Travel to “Green” Destinations
Preserving the environment is at the forefront of many people’s minds, but there are certain countries that are excelling at implementing environmentally friendly practices. Traveling to destinations that are making the environment a priority is a great way to support the tourism industry and environment simultaneously. The chances of you finding further eco-friendly choices in an already green destination are also higher. Costa Rica is known to be a frontrunner when it comes to protecting biodiversity and is a stunning destination worth visiting. Other green leaders include Norway, Iceland, and even San Francisco, California. All three destinations know that sustainability is key and are actively engaged in being environmentally friendly.
Choose Efficient Modes of Transportation
With the natural pollution associated with transportation, it can be tricky to get around without leaving a mark. If you are traveling a long distance, it’s almost impossible to avoid traveling by plane or car, but once you arrive at your destination you have more transportation options available. Traveling by foot eliminates any threat to the environment, so long as you are being courteous of your surroundings and is an easy way to get the family active during vacation. Biking through your destination is a much greener option than driving, and another scenic way to travel.
Stay in Eco-Friendly Lodging
Most accommodations realize that guests are looking for environmentally friendly options, but some lodging providers are better than others in terms of what they actually deliver. Before choosing your accommodations or your corporate event center, you should certainly do your research. Look for “green” certifications that hotels may have such as LEED Certification. This certification holds hotels to a certain standard and monitors sustainability efforts. In addition to staying somewhere LEED certified, you can act on your part to further ensure environmental consciousness during your stay. Ask that hotel staff do not wash your towels or linens during your stay to reduce water usage. Limit your electricity use and avoid use of plastic items. Depending on your destination, there may also be environmentally centric lodging options that create less waste than that of a hotel.
Engage in Environmentally-Friendly Activities
The cost of environmentally-friendly tours and activities may be higher, but the impact your family will have on the environment will be minimal. There are many options you can explore that will let you explore your destination while still being cautious of the environment. Consider traveling in smaller tour groups and utilizing energy-efficient modes of transportation. Participating in activities that connect your family with nature is a great way to interact with the environment and truly experience your destination. As long as you plan your activities accordingly, your family can take advantage of natural exploration without taking advantage of the environment.
Respect Local Scenery and Wildlife
Although ecotourism promotes interacting with natural elements, it is pertinent to still be cautious when doing so. If you’re traveling during the summer or to tropical destinations, it is likely that you will partake in water activities. A key way to be eco-friendly while enjoying the water is to monitor the products that you bring with you. Lathering up on sunscreen that is beneficial to you – but harmful to organisms in the water – could be detrimental. Instead, use non-toxic sunscreen that won’t pose a threat to you or other organisms. Be respectful of the flora and fauna around you while engaging in outdoor activities. In the water, steer clear of touching any coral, and when on the trails be sure to avoid endangering other natural habitats. Certainly avoid activities that put any living creatures at risk, such as fishing or whale watching.
Support Local Businesses
While supporting local businesses may not directly impact the environment, there are many benefits it can have to the locale of your destination. Dining in locally owned restaurants and purchasing souvenirs made by local residents reduces the demand for shipping items, which in turn reduces associated transportation emissions. Supporting local business owners also helps boost the economy. Dining and shopping local also helps use native resources, meaning your food quality will probably be higher and more beneficial than something that would be imported.
Mindful choices during your vacation can have a much bigger impact on the sustainability of the environment and on your conscious. Researching and properly planning before your next family vacation will ensure that you make lasting memories while giving back to the environment.