There’s a reason why ecotourism is entering the mainstream. Tourism accounts for about 5 percent of global CO2 emissions. However, tourism is a huge boost to the economy, and it’s necessary in most places. We don’t want to stop exploring the world, either. Here are some eco-friendly vacation ideas so you can keep traveling but make less of a mark on the planet while doing it.
- Try Backpacking
Backpacking can be one of the most eco-friendly ways to travel if done right. Eco-conscious backpackers follow the leave no trace principles to minimize their impact on the environment. It involves leaving the place you’re camping in the same or better than when you got there.
Some of the principles include:
- Not taking rocks or anything from the site
- Disposing of any waste properly
- Making sure you stay on established paths and sites
You don’t want to disturb any area that isn’t specifically for camping and recreation. If you focus on leaving a minimal impact, you’re keeping the place natural and beautiful.
- Stay in Eco-Friendly Resorts
If you want a luxurious vacation, there’s still a way to make it eco-friendly. They come with all the fancy features you want in a resort. For example, one in Costa Rica has infinity pools and a spa. However, these resorts are known for sustainable tourism, and many have won awards for their efforts.
They still offer the exotic locales, luxury treatment and adrenaline-pumping activities you’re looking for. They just do it in a more sustainable way than other resorts. Instead of looking into the usual places, go out of your way to find something eco-friendly.
- Take a Volunteer Vacation
Volunteer vacations let you experience the areas you want to see while giving you an opportunity to give back. There are all sorts of ways you can get involved, too. Whether it’s rainforest conservation, marine conservation or helping animals, you’ll find something you’re passionate about.
These are a great way to immerse yourself in local culture and work alongside people in the community. And you do that while you’re making a difference in the world. Even if you don’t go specifically to volunteer, see if there’s a cleanup or something you can get involved in. There’s always a need for more help.
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- Plan a Staycation
Air travel is one reason traveling isn’t great for the environment. Remedy this by considering a vacation spent at home. While you might think this sounds dull, there are so many activities you might not have thought of to do. Camp in your backyard, take a long bike ride, or have fun at the local park.
It doesn’t have to be just staying in your house. Driving should stay at a minimum, but try a day trip to something near you. There are so many hidden gems it’s impossible to explore them all. Do some research and visit that awesome museum in the next town that you never even knew existed.
- Use Public Transportation. Or Bike. Or Walk.
All of these are better options than driving a car around everywhere you want to go. Plus, they all give you unique ways to explore the place you’re visiting. Bike rides through parks and scenic parts of town can be absolutely beautiful. It’s also really easy to stop at places that catch your eye along the way — places you might not have even seen from a car.
If you want to use public transportation, try getting off in a random neighborhood that looks interesting and walking around. It’s a good way to find places that don’t make the guidebook. You might end up finding your favorite shop or restaurant of the trip this way.
Eco-friendly traveling doesn’t have to be hard. You can still do exciting things that make a vacation awesome. Just go a bit out of your way to make sustainable and eco-friendly choices. Every little bit helps.