When we take a break from our daily green routines, we don’t have to leave our eco-friendliness behind. By applying our environmental awareness to our vacations, be it a local road trip or foreign extravaganza. Eco-friendly vacations have become so popular that many online travel sites also have a website devoted to planning your eco-vacation.
Eco-friendly travel is travel with the lowest impact on our planet and it includes everything from planning, transport, and stays,
You can search hotels or packages, just as you do for any other vacation, with the other benefit of knowing how eco-friendly your hotel will be, for example, the use of energy-saving light bulbs, organic bedding, and earth-friendly bath products.
An eco-friendly vacation can start with something as simple as renting a hybrid or biodiesel car and
hitting the open road. Vacations in your own country keep the economy strong and traveling by ground cuts back on the hundreds of tons of CO2 released by air travel.
Of course, trains are another fun and eco-friendly option for traveling around the country. Although a relatively small industry, aviation accounts for 49% of the total impact of climate change on human activities.
For the times when air travel is unavoidable, consider participating in carbon offsetting programs, also visit www.climatecare.org and www.nativeenergy.com/travel sites that provide calculators for determining your vacation carbon emissions, as well as ideas and ways to offset your travel carbon footprint.
Although it is not as glamorous as renting a hybrid or flying first class, taking the shared transportation is a great way to share your emissions output. As a bonus, you can see and meet many interesting people who might not otherwise cross your path.
Once you’ve decided how to get there, you can look at the Green Hotels Association’s website (www.greenhotels.com) for a list of lodgings with green standards in nearly every state. The site provides mini summaries of each hotel’s provisions as well as contact information. Or filter your search on Booking.com and other websites to eco friendly. Nowadays is quite easy.
The Kimpton hotel chain is a great example, their mission is to support sustainability through non-invasive, high quality and environmentally friendly products and services. They use eco-friendly cleaning products, print with soy inks on recycled paper, serve organic beverages, and suggest that guests reuse their towels and linens. They also use low energy water bulb systems, paperless check-in/out, and hanger recycling. You won’t find any styrofoam cups at Kimpton, but you will find organic flowers, organic snacks, and designer recycling bins in the bedroom, plus recycled glass items and organic bedding in the gift shop.
Unsurprisingly, Kimpton has won numerous awards including the National GeoTourism Award, American Hotel and Lodging, Good Earthkeeping Award from the Association, and Model State for Conservation, California State Green Lodging Program Award. Kimpton is setting an excellent example and the more we support them, the more other hotel chains will follow.
If you want to spend your eco-friendly vacation actively helping the planet, check for group tours and volunteer opportunities offered by environmental organizations. Working ecotours are a great way to learn about other cultures while helping the planet too. The Sierra Club offers many opportunities for green travel, ranging from the United States to Antarctica.
Of course, the further you travel, the more it is likely to cost in dollars and emissions output.
For an especially eco-friendly, ultra-healthy, and economical vacation, check World Opportunities on Organic Farms (WWOOF) at www.wwoof.org.This organization gives people volunteer opportunities to work on organic farms and learn how to grow fruits and vegetables and build whatever you are needed to operate these farms without using chemicals and pesticides that contribute to global warming. Some farms provide food and shelter, while others require you to bring your own tent. WWOOF gives you the names and contact information, but it is up to you to find out the details of what you need to bring and what the farm will provide.
For an international list of eco-vacations, check out The International Ecotourism Society (TIES), where you will find a list of places to explore in an environmentally friendly way and guidelines on how to behave and what to expect once you arrive at your destination. This is important because often the most popular ecosystems are found in the countries on which they depend.
Enjoy the economic benefits of tourism, but also have few environmental protection policies in place.TIES helps you ensure you have a positive impact by providing everything you need to know to spend an eco-responsible holiday connecting you with green travel agents, lodging, and transportation services on literally every continent.
As you can see, escaping from your everyday routine doesn’t have to mean more emissions output, as there are plenty of eco-vacations that can help keep global warming in check.