Green Travel Tips
Easy ecotourism advice to follow to become a more sustainable traveler
Take only what you need—mix and match clothing is fashionable. Don’t pack anything that will become waste. Consider packing 1 K (2 lbs.) of school supplies to donate.
Minimize air travel: choose to stay longer at one destination rather than taking several short duration trips. Long haul flights are the most polluting aspect of travel, contributing upwards of 10% to worldwide greenhouse gases emissions.
Opt for environmentally friendly public transport:take trains, buses and ferries as much as possible. Or better yet, bike and walk more – it’s good exercise as well!
Offset your carbon footprint: contribute to credible programs that support conservation or renewable and/or alternative energy projects; consider organizations such as TerraPass
Re-Charge, Re-Use, Reduce
Bring a refillable water bottle and use it whenever possible; read here to learn more about why this is important. For travel accessories such as flashlights, cameras, razors, alarms, etc., use rechargeable batteries, solar or kinetic energy powered products. Pack out and do not leave the hotel or lodge responsible for your trash.
Be Water Wise
Use only the amount of water needed when bathing, showering, brushing and washing clothes. Use the “second day” option for bed linens and towels, and stick to one pool towel daily.
Turn off lights and unnecessary household appliances while you are away from home. Lower the house thermostat and water heater to ‘stand by.’ Turn off lights, fans, air conditioners and/or heaters when not in your hotel room.
Know Your Environment
Culture: Before traveling, read about the area’s culture, its history, people and food, and about flora and fauna unique to the region. Learn words and phrases in the local language—use them.
Nature: Respect the natural environment. Do not touch, harvest or poach flora or fauna. Never buy crafts or products made from protected or endangered animals. Always follow designated trails and do not trespass beyond signs. Support conservation by paying full entrance fees at parks and protected reserves. Ask about the hotel’s environmental policies and practices.
People: Talk with staff about working conditions, extra benefits or training they receive, or how their families and community benefit from tourism. Meet and talk with local people. SLOW DOWN. Be Present.
Select locally owned or locally supporting lodges, hotels and B&Bs. Dine at locally owned and operated restaurants. Choose locally grown food that features regional recipes—likely unfamiliar yet part of the adventure! Shop markets to support area farmers and artisans, and attend or participate in regional festivals, events and sporting activities. Hire local guides and ask how they were licensed and trained, if they grew up in the area where they interpret. Some of the world’s best naturalists were poachers or hunters before sustainable tourism provided job skills and a steady income.
Be respectful of local citizens’ privacy. Ask permission before entering sacred places, homes, or walk on private land. Be mindful of local touching (or not) practices. Read about local conventions and cultural taboos. Dress appropriately—in many countries modest dress is important and a sign of respect. Be sensitive to when and where you take photos or videos of people, religious or tribal sites, etc. Always ask before taking pictures. Pay the fair price, remember many whom you bargain with make a living from that trade and selling their goods.
Sustainable tourism businesses assist locally-based social and environmental projects. These businesses aid projects that need your financial and material support. Travelers’ Philanthropy projects offers guests an opportunity to get involved, to give back in your travel destination. Be counted as a traveling steward: Contribute by supporting the travel companies that help make positive changes for its local hosts. Your participation enriches your own travel experience, forever linking you to the well-being of the people and resources you visited.