08 May 2014

How to book an environmentally friendly vacation

The travel industry has recently started to take their environmental responsibilities seriously with measures such as carbon offsetting and eco-tourism options. It’s not too hard to stay green and enjoy a great holiday by following these simple measures.

Booking with a responsible provider
There are travel companies specifically designed around eco-holidays and responsible travel. In fact, many online travel companies offer a wealth of eco-friendly holidays to destinations around the world.

These companies actually vet the hotels, all-inclusive package providers and tour operators to ensure they meet specific standards. These standards can include recycling policies, energy use and sustainability requirements, which are calculated to create an eco-scorecard before being offered to customers.

Types of Eco-holiday
Eco-holidays have expanded recently and there are options to suit all tastes and budgets. All-inclusive packages on luxury trips, adventure holidays and eco-expeditions to far flung corners of the globe are all now available.

You can choose to avoid the mass tourist routes with specialist travel companies that focus on remote locations in Africa or you can get back to nature with discovery holidays to Scandinavia. The choice is now pretty much unlimited when it comes to travelling the world in an eco-friendly manner.

Use the offset options
Many airlines offer the option of paying a little extra to offset your carbon footprint and all you have to do is check the box during booking. There are companies that go one better and can calculate exactly how much carbon emission will be used during your flight and then provides you with the cost required to offset this amount.

Buy from the locals
Once you’re at your intended holiday destination you can do your bit to support the local population by buying local goods. Buying your souvenirs from the smaller independent traders will help to support the community you are vacationing in. Purchasing goods at the local markets, eating at traditional restaurants and taking tours from local guides will all help to sustain the community. Taking public transport at your destination rather than renting a car is another good way to help the environment or go one better and simply hire a bicycle.

Being eco-friendly abroad isn’t just about paying for carbon offsetting but can start from the moment you book your holiday via responsible travel companies. Be mindful of the destination you are visiting and treat the environment with the respect it deserves.

Tina Garcia is a well-established traveler with a real interest in the environment and green issues. In her spare time she likes to read books and test out new recipes in the kitchen.

Image by Thomas Leuthard, shared under a Creative Commons License