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Sustainable Tourism is the new buzz word for travelers who like to consider the Environmental Impacts of Tourism when they go on their adventures. So is the phrase Responsible Tourism. We have a little guide for you to help figure out where to go, where to stay, what to do, how to get there, and what to pack for your ecofriendly travel experience.
The Responsible Tourism EcoFriendly Travel Guide
Are you planning an eco-friendly vacation in the United States? Many places are beginning to take steps to attract those who are interested in ecofriendly travel and living. You don’t have to go far to find eco-friendly vacation spots. Some might be right in your back yard. Here are a few you might want to consider checking out in the United States.
Responsible Tourism Destinations in the U.S.
There’s so much beautiful nature you can take in while traveling to the great state of Alaska. There are the infamous Northern Lights of Aurora Borealis that’s a must-see. Then there’s the iceberg and Dawes Glacier at Endicott Arm Fjord and plenty of wildlife in the national parks of Alaska.
If you are looking for a tropical getaway, then this is where to go. You might want to avoid some of the typical tourist attractions that are standard for Hawaii. If you’re going to enjoy some ecofriendly tourism, then you need to visit the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. You will get to see tropical forests and barren lands and be at sea level or atop the highest volcano. You’ll enjoy such wildlife as humpback whales and green turtles.
The Rocky Mountain National Park is an excellent place for camping, trekking, and nature hikes. The Ute Trail is the most popular trail. The Never Summer Mountains, Longs Peak, Milner Pass, and Mesa Verde are some of the most visited destinations. The Garden of the Gods State Park has some fantastic rock formations that you are not going to want to miss.
Arizona is home to the Grand Canyon, so how could this not be on an eco-friendly travel destination place in the U.S.? In addition to the greatest tourist attraction of all, there are also six national forests, four different deserts, and three canyons in Arizona. There is also the Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park.
Home to Yellowstone National Park, of course, Montana is on the list of eco-friendly tourist destinations in the U.S. The park boasts of more than 1500 species of trees and plants, as well as hordes of wildlife like bobcats, cougars, black bears, bison, badgers, lynx, coyotes, elks, and much more. There are also other national parks like the Glacier National Park, which you can visit.
Aside from the longest coastline in all of the United States, California has several other attractions, which make it a great ecofriendly travel destination. With parks like Yosemite National Park and Emerald Bay, you can see many different animals and magnificent scenery, which provides a photographer’s and painter’s paradise. Emerald Bay is a national landmark.
The most important thing to remember when visiting these fantastic nature parks in the United States is to be sure to follow all posted rules. You will want to prevent things like forest fires and doing anything which can destroy the environment and the habitat that many of these animals call home.
Help restore the ecological balance and introduce our young people to nature and how to properly care for it with these eco-friendly travel destinations in the U.S.
Hotels and resorts are known for having a large carbon footprint. It can be challenging to maintain a green status in a hotel when you must accommodate so many guests coming and going at all different times of the day and night.
How to Find The Responsible Tourism Accommodations
It’s not impossible, though. A growing number of hotels and resorts are trying to do their part to reduce their carbon footprint and appeal to those ecofriendly customers. So you do not have to sacrifice your ecofriendly ways when you are traveling. You can find places to stay that accommodate your green spirit. If you’re looking for an eco-friendly hotel or resort, then here’s how to start finding these places.
Browsing the Green Hotel directory on sites like Orbitz or Travelocity will help you find an ecofriendly hotel or resort. Trusted travel websites will also have a list of ecofriendly hotels and resorts listed for you to search through.
LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Certified Hotels
There is a certification a hotel can receive for their attempts at being ecofriendly. They are rated based on what they have done. Hotels are ranked on a one-hundred point scale. The higher the rating, the better. There is a Silver level (50-59 points) Gold level (60-79) and Platinum level (80 and higher). Many large hotel chains have hotels that have achieved varying degrees of ecofriendliness.
Large hotel chains
Most major hotel chains will have a section on their site, which lists their ecofriendly travel accommodations. Their website will also display its LEED certification.
Consider house sitting
Another alternative to staying in a hotel is to be a house sitter. There are websites you can join where people will “hire” you to stay at their home while they’re away. When you do this, you can control your carbon footprint much easier by using limited electricity or watching how much water you’re running.
Look for shared accommodations
See if you can find a place that will allow you to stay with some locals for the time, to help reduce your carbon footprint together. Be sure to do your due diligence in researching anyone you meet over the internet before staying with them for your safety.
Avoid large cities
You might find that you’ll have better luck finding ecofriendly options for accommodations if you ditch the big city and stay in a less populated area. Big cities have multiple large hotels, often, to accommodate numerous travelers. But if you visit a neighboring town instead, you’ll find it to be less crowded and also much more ecofriendly in many circumstances.
Can’t find a hotel or resort at a price point that you’re comfortable with that will accommodate your eco-friendly needs? You can still do your part where you stay to reduce your carbon footprint. Don’t leave lights on when you leave, turn off the heat or air when you’re not in the room, and ask the hotel not to change towels and sheets every day. This will be a great way to stay green while on vacation.
Activities for Good Impacts of Environmental Tourism
When traveling and trying to reduce your carbon footprint while away from home, there are activities you’ll want to avoid and activities that are a must-do. Mostly you need to get out and enjoy nature. Here are some ecofriendly activities you might want to give a try while on your next green vacation.
Sustainable Tourism Activities at the Beach
If you’re headed to the beach for your vacation, then there are some things you will want to keep in mind. You don’t want to destroy the earth and the environment while you’re away from home and soaking up the rays.
*Get ecofriendly sand toys for digging in the sand.
* When using the outside showers, avoid any soap. The drain likely goes right back into the ocean. Use them to rinse the sand off your feet and body.
* Follow the rules. Signs like “Keep off the dunes” are essential to follow. These are habitats for many different species, so be respectful. “Don’t feed the ducks” is another vital important sign to follow.
Responsible Tourism Activities while Camping
Are you going camping? If so, here are some things you’ll want to keep in mind. Yes, even while camping, you have to take special steps to ensure you’re as ecofriendly as possible.
* Ditch the gadgets. You probably don’t want your laptop and/or cell phone on your camping trip. So if you have to blow up an air mattress, use a foot pump.
* When you go hiking, stay on the path. If there are markers, follow these. Not only is this important for safety, but it also prevents things like soil erosion from happening.
Responsible Tourism Travel Activities
* When vacationing, no matter where you go, you should be able to find activities that make every effort possible to reduce the carbon footprint. Find the ecofriendly shops and museums which are located in the city you’re visiting. Check out local parks and wildlife conservatories. Look for sporting venues that might have taken extra efforts to reduce their carbon footprint.
* Take a hike or find a walking tour you can take of the city you are visiting. Bike tours are a great way to learn your way around the area while getting exercise and learning history as well. Visiting local farmer’s markets and birdwatching are all perfect things you can do that have minimal to no impact on the environment. See a concert in the park while on vacation.
* When you take your trip, no matter where you go or what you do, always make the place cleaner than when you got there. If you see trash on your hike, pick it up and take it with you. Pack food in reusable containers. If that’s not an option, then make sure you carry out any trash you brought in.
Going on vacation doesn’t mean the environment has to suffer. While staying close to home for your getaway is excellent, it isn’t always an option. That is when doing your due diligence before your trip comes in handy. Look for what kind of ecofriendly travel activities are offered in and around the area you’re staying. That will help you maintain your green lifestyle even while vacationing.
There are ecofriendly ways to travel if you’re planning a trip. Once you get to your destination, you can ensure that any traveling you do is ecofriendly as well. You need to do a little planning in advance to find the most ecofriendly travel options.
Responsible Travel on Your Vacation
Planes, trains, and automobiles… Of these, planes are hands down the worst. Try to fly on an airline that has taken measures to reduce its carbon footprint by eliminating excess waste and recycling as much as possible. Southwest is an airline you might want to consider, which has done a lot to reduce their carbon footprint.
When it comes to trains, this isn’t the wrong way to travel, and it’s not terrible for the environment. Plus, it’s a very scenic way to go. If you are making a road trip and are driving, then consider renting a hybrid vehicle if you don’t own one.
Look for hotels that use green programs. Also, check the hotel’s location and make sure there is plenty of public transportation nearby that you can use to get to where you need to go. Once in your hotel, notify them that you don’t need new towels every day. Turn lights off when you leave the room and turn the thermostat up or down when you’re not in the place to use less electricity.
Travel When You’re There
Even though you checked your hotel to see that it has public transportation, also consider finding other ways to travel. Can you walk to many places instead of needing to be driven there? How about renting a bicycle for the week and traveling by bike instead? Finding alternative ways to get to destinations and then using nature as much as possible will help.
Leave It Cleaner Than When You Got There
While this isn’t about transportation, it’s always just good practice to pick up trash when you see it. It can help balance out your carbon footprint if you had trouble finding the most ecofriendly ways of transport. Support local efforts at ecofriendly by making donations or even volunteering some time while you’re there. Also, shop at local farms while you’re there instead of the grocery store. You’ll get to try out local produce. You might need to be careful with what you do if you’re out of the country, though. Check with your hotel to see what local produce shops you can go to; they should be able to point you in the right direction.
Staycations are also a great way to reduce your carbon footprint by exploring things right in your area and being in nature. Travel takes its toll on the environment, but if you do choose to go away, you can still reduce your carbon footprint when you travel.
Traveling doesn’t mean you have to let your ecofriendly habits go right out the window. You can still do your part for the environment, even when you’re away from home. It’s all going to start with what you pack. A lot of people have no idea What to Pack for an EcoFriendly Vacation.
First of all, it’s imperative to make sure that you make a list of everything that you need on your trip. This way, there are no rushed trips at the airport to buy a travel toothpaste, which is not going to be good for the environment. So write a list and check off what you packed as you go. Here are some ecofriendly things that should be on your list.
What to Pack for an EcoFriendly Vacation
Shampoo and conditioner and body soap
The key is, don’t buy the travel bottles at the store. Those are one-time use bottles. Get yourself some good silicone bottles to put all of your hair care products and body soap in. They can be used again and again. Something that will be allowed on an airplane will be helpful.
Reusable water bottle and/or travel mug
You need to stay hydrated and caffeinated. Bring your own water bottle and a travel mug for drinking water and coffee while you’re vacationing. Pack it in your carry on if you’re taking a flight somewhere, so you can use it on the plane and don’t have to use their non-biodegradable plastic cups.
A zinc oxide sunscreen
The standard sunscreens are harmful to the environment. Look for a sunscreen with minimal ingredients, and the only active ingredient being zinc oxide. Not only is it healthier for you, but it’s better for the environment as well. Chemicals will not be running off your body and into the surf and sand at the beach.
Reusable shopping bag
You know you’re going to be buying souvenirs and possibly even going to the grocery store while on your trip. Well, pack your reusable shopping bags to bring with you to the stores when you do your shopping, and say no thank you to the plastic bags that the stores offer you.
Bringing your electronics? Of course, you are. They need to be charged. Consider using solar chargers for your electronic devices. This way, you also don’t have to worry about finding a plug all the time to charge your device.
Reusable snack bags
You need to have a snack on the trip. Going to the beach? You might want to pack a lunch so it will be useful to have reusable containers to put the food in. Don’t forget a collapsible cooler. Take that doggy bag at the restaurant even if you’re not going right back to your hotel room. You can put it in your cooler bag to keep and, therefore, not have to worry about wasting any food simply because you don’t have time to make a pit stop at your hotel room before going to your next destination.
This is just a small sampling of what you should be packing on your eco-friendly vacation. What are some things you like to make sure you have to help you be conscious of the environment? Can you make them greener?
Bottom line? You can make a difference and be a proactive part of sustainable tourism, if you simply take a few small steps to plan ahead. We only have one planet, so let us do like we teach our kids; pick up after ourselves, and leave the place better for the next person.
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