As 2016 passes, we yearn for some R & R time with our friends and families (or a solo- vacation – nothing wrong with that).
Our budgets have us scavenging websites like Expedia, Kayak, and Groupon Travel for bargain deals. We either look for all- inclusive vacation packages or we go the DIY route and try to save a few hundred bucks. We consider ourselves as ‘citizens of the world’ and we believe that traveling is something we owe to ourselves after working so hard. We deserve to lounge beach side in Punta Cana, DR or backpack in Europe. We love being able to wake up in a different place without worrying about our basic nine to five or our small business.
Tourism has done a lot of great things for economies, countries, and travelers, but is it worth it at the risk of our environment?
Is it truly possible to travel the world without jeopardizing it? Well, we have great news for you. YES! It is possible to travel the world in an eco- friendly manner, and still promote sustainability. We compiled some tips for you to travel responsibly as we’re all ‘citizens of the world’.
-First and foremost, travel to places off- season. This will save you money, and put a lesser strain on the environment of that country. You’ll also be likely to explore the area without a herd of other tourists fighting for beach space. You’ll have peace and quiet, and first dibs on window seats on tour buses.
-Research about destinations you hope go to on your next vacation. Learn up on the havoc tourism has imposed upon countries. Be considerate, and travel responsibly.
-Look for housing that is eco- friendly, whether it’s resorts or hotels. Free Wi- Fi sounds like a suite deal, but is it really a vacation when you’re still maintaining your presence back home? Nope! Research hotels that utilize recycled products, promotes local economies, utilize alternative forms of energy, and have exceptional ventilation. When you support eco- friendly resorts or hotels, you become an ambassador of sustainability.
-Don’t waste electricity or water in your hotel room. Turn off fans or air conditioning units in your room. Make sure the faucets and shower heads are turned off. Opt for quick showers versus bubble baths. The world is slowly exhausting its natural resources. Water is at the verge of becoming a scarce commodity. ‘Well I paid big bucks for this room, and I will leave this TV on if I want to,” said Cousin Tim. Stop Cousin Tim immediately, and tell him that he may be off from work, but he can’t take time off from being a ‘citizen of the world’. Treat your hotel room just as you would treat your home.
-Hang your towels after using them. Let’s be honest, we don’t wash our towels at home every day either. Reusing towels will allow the hotel to conserve some energy and you’ll be supporting sustainability.
-Use your ‘Do Not Disturb’ sign at all times. This will spare the usage of electricity from vacuuming, the usage of cleaning agents, and the unnecessary washing of linens.
-Find a green form of transport. Walk a little, take a bike around town, or be a trooper and take the bus! Locals of countries with high tourism rates are usually very hospitable, and wouldn’t mind helping you get around town. For example, if you’re in Cancun, MX take the ADO Bus from the airport to your hotel. You’ll be saving a lot of pesos, a lot of time, and experiencing commute only a local would. This is significantly cheaper than taking hotel shuttles that cost $30- 45 USD per person one way. You also wouldn’t be contributing to the country’s preexisting pollution problems.
-Follow rules and regulations established by the government. They’re established for your safety and the preservation of eco- systems. For example, don’t litter or spit gum on sidewalks in Thailand. It’s against the law, and it deteriorates their environment. You could face hefty fines!
-Respect wildlife when you’re on your vacation. For example, don’t participate in motorized water sports when you’re in areas where coral and marine life thrive. Don’t take home shells or plants from beaches either.
-Support the local economy and eat at local restaurants. Why pay $15 for that frugal- portioned genetically modified salad at your resort? When you can enjoy a generous portion of conch salad in Nassau, BH for half the price at a local mom and pop restaurant? You’ll get a taste of local cuisine, benefit the small business owner, and save money you can spend elsewhere.
-Be careful when purchasing souvenirs. Ask a trusted source (that English speaking receptionist at the hotel, yep, her) about certain products that aren’t safe to purchase. Purchase souvenirs that help local economy, and don’t promote child labor. Ask about raw materials, where, and how the souvenir was manufactured.
-Invest in a large water bottle that can replenish you after all the exploring you’ll be doing. Don’t purchase several plastic bottles. Refill your bottle from a restaurant in a vicinity where tap water is safe to consume.
-Don’t litter, EVER! This is often illegal and very damaging to the environment. Even if you spot locals throwing wrappers around—DON’T. Always look for garbage cans to throw out your trash.
-Carry around a reusable tote so that you don’t support the usage of plastic bags. These plastic bags can single handedly destroy an ecosystem! Your reusable tote will be a safe place for delicate souvenirs as it wouldn’t rip like a plastic bag, and you would be purchasing souvenirs in style!
These may seem like very small adjustments, but they can help reduce your carbon footprint. When you plan your next vacation, please keep some of these tips in mind. Simple choices made today can sustain our planet for just one more generation. A very Bon Voyage from Bargain Dumpster and happy hunting your greencation.