Green Beings — How to Be Environmentally Responsible When Traveling

Staying environmentally friendly whilst on vacation isn’t such a difficult task if you stick to a few simple guidelines. And if you decide to jet off at short notice on late deals, you can still do your bit for the planet. You just have to respect your destination. You can also book through eco-travel companies and use carbon offsetting options. It all helps to make you a more (socially) responsible traveler.

Start with your airline

Airlines are becoming more responsible when it comes to offsetting the effect of carbon emissions. A lot of them now offer you the option to pay a little extra towards eliminating your carbon footprint when you book your flight, and some companies actually calculate the approximate cost needed to offset your carbon footprint during a flight. The customer then simply buys ‘offsets’ online and this money is donated to various eco-projects around the world.

Consider eco-travel companies

Most travel agencies offer a range of eco-friendly holiday options, not to mention the usual packages. Holidaymakers can choose to visit parts of the world known as being environmentally-friendly including Lapland, the Seychelles, and parts of the UK such as Scotland. You can book a wide range of nature and adventure holidays, which make great family options and include a wealth of outdoor activities. The popularity of eco-tourism has grown rapidly and your choice of destinations can include places not usually on the tourist map including certain parts of Africa and South America.

Respect the environment

Once you’ve reached your destination, respect it. Use your common sense and hold on to your litter, and let the local wildlife and natural surroundings be. Of course, it’s nice to purchase a souvenir to remind you of the fun times you’ve had on your holiday, but avoid buying items made from endangered animals or plants. This includes goods made from ivory. If you’revisiting a national park, follow the official guidelines so that you don’t cause any unintentional damage. It goes without saying that you don’t pick the flowers or anything from the trees.

Mix with the locals

One of the best ways to help support the environment of your intended destination is to support the local community. Buy goods at local markets (you might even get a better price than in the supermarket, to boot), use the services of the local guides, and eat in the traditional restaurants and taverns. Seek out the independent traders when buying hand-crafted goods and take part in activities run by local sellers. And why use a car if you can use a bike to get around? Failing that, use public transport rather than hire your own vehicle.

“Take only pictures and leave only footprints,” — it’s a handy reminder when you’re out and about. Travel is all about experiences, but not to the point of being disrespectful when you have them. The world is a beautiful place. Don’t treat like a thing.