A walking + cycling sign. Photo credit: TravelingGreener.com.
Carley Hollis wrote this guest post on how to be a responsible tourist. She is an Edinburgh-based freelance travel writer who is dedicated to finding out insider tips each time she travels and wants to live like a local at each new destination. Hollis is currently planning how to travel with a baby.
If you’re planning a summer holiday in July, you’ll be part of an exciting event known as Make Holidays Greener Month. This month is all about raising awareness of what greener holidays mean and what you can do to be a responsible tourist.
When planning your July summer holiday, begin by researching the area that you plan to visit. A responsible tourist respects the country and region they are traveling to. If you plan on taking a holiday in a country you are new to, take the time to learn a few phrases in the local language. Simply saying “please” and “thank you” while you’re on holiday will mean a great deal to the locals.
Although there are many restaurants in tourist areas that cater to foreigners, it is in your advantage to seek out local fare. Often, locally-produced foods are going to be far more delicious. Be adventurous and try something new while supporting the local community.
Another brilliant way to support the community you’re visiting is to purchase local crafts and other handmade items as souvenirs to take back home. Take the time to visit with the vendors and artists who created the unique item and learn a little more about the history and culture of the area you’re visiting. A sincere interest and the support of your purchase will go a long way. And you will get to take home a special and unique keepsake from your holiday.
Always keep in mind that you want to leave a positive impact on the area you visit. If you plan to take a holiday at the beach, be sure to keep the area clean by disposing of all rubbish in litter bins and recycle when you can. Support the local area by making purchases from local shops and cafes and using a local guide to give you a tour. While out snorkeling, do not step on, touch, or remove any coral. Aim to leave the environment as clean and as pristine as possible.
One of the simplest ways to be a responsible tourist while on holiday is to always use a local, trained guide who is extremely knowledgeable about the area wildlife and environment. These guides will ensure that you remain safe while also keeping the environment protected.
Take short showers instead of baths, and look into alternate transportation options while you’re touring on holiday. Exploring an area by bicycle or on foot is often a much more fun way of getting to know the region, city or town. You’ll save money and reduce your carbon footprint by not driving a private car. Public transportation is another excellent option to using a private car.
It’s both easy and highly enjoyable to make your holiday a green holiday. Immerse yourself in local culture, enjoy local foods and get to know local people. Some travel companies specialize in responsible holidays – specialists like Sunvil, who offer holidays to Greece, can help you organize a ‘green’ trip.
From Train Travel iPhone App. Photo credit: Amtrak.
Sophie McGovern wrote this guest post on greener travel ideas. She is a writer, freelance journalist and musician based in Bath, England.
You want to see the world, experience different cultures and not notch up a giant-sized carbon footprint along the way, right?
From rail holidays to ecotourism, the good news is that there are now loads of ways to enjoy greener travel. Here are some greener travel ideas to get you started:
From Riding The Orient Express. Photo credit: Orient-Express.
On a no-fly holiday, it’s possible to enjoy some of the most beautiful scenery on the planet without worrying about plane emissions. Trains are a low impact mode of transport that promote collective, slow travel. From the UK, it’s possible to travel anywhere in Europe by train, with popular journeys including London to Bruges, Rome or Paris.
A European rail pass gives you access to everywhere from Spain and Portugal to Italy and Slovenia.
From A Tree House In Paris. Photo credit: Keycamp.
When you’re visiting areas of outstanding natural beauty, it’s a good idea to stay in lodges and hotels that are striving to keep the area beautiful. Eco lodges around the world offer respectful, eco-friendly accommodation options that employ sustainable practices.
True eco-lodges are energy efficient, conserve natural resources, benefit local culture and protect the surrounding environment. Quirky, unique rooms in tree houses like in Paris (above), cute villas built from natural materials and converted farm buildings provide fun, interesting ways to stay. These hotels and lodges are typically located in tranquil, secluded places.
World Wide Opportunities in Organic Farming (WWOOF) is an international organization that provides a gateway to greener, responsible travel. Farmers all over the world have signed up, and offer visitors the chance to stay on their farm for free in exchange for help with farm chores. If you want to immerse yourself in a different culture, then staying with a local family is the perfect way to do it.
Chores range from harvesting fruit and vegetables to natural building and making cheese. All farms use organic, sustainable practises, offering you the chance to learn and develop lifelong skills to apply back home. Check the WWOOF website to discover farms offering accommodation and browse the myriad of stunning locations to explore.
From Green Traveler: Sarah Palmer. Photo credit: Dani Scism.
For backpackers or travelers who plan a longer stay in their destination, volunteering is a great way to give something back to the community. Whether you volunteer on a sustainable building project, environmental conservation project or for a local community group, you are sure to learn a lot and make friends while contributing to keeping the landscapes you enjoy beautiful.
Organizations such as ACDI/VOCA and VSO are examples of long established volunteer programs with excellent reputations. If you are asked to pay for a volunteering opportunity, be sure to check exactly where your money is going and read independent testimonies from previous volunteers. There are loads of organizations and projects out there that won’t ask for money.
Lost Property of London travel bags. Photo credit: Lost Property of London.
James Christie wrote this guest post on green travel accessories. Christie writes for Strenson Solar, provider of solar panels in Brighton.
Planning your next holiday and looking for travel accessories? Here are 5 Great Green Travel Accessories:
1. Green luggage
Don’t forget to include plenty of room for environmentally-friendly accessories in your suitcase. Your luggage too can speak volumes about how green you intend to be on your travels.
One stylish option is Lost Property of London travel bags which are made out of coffee sacks and vintage leather bomber jackets.
When shopping for sustainable luggage, it is a great idea to look out for shoulder bags, briefcases and rucksacks made of hemp. This material is very environmentally-friendly as it needs very few pesticides during the growing process.
Just tap ‘hemp luggage’ into a search engine and you can find lots of green luggage. There are a lot of cleverly-recycled bags out there too. Who knew that a plastic bottle could have a second life as a stylish piece of luggage?
2. Solar-powered radios
The Etón Raptor, a solar-powered radio. Photo credit: Etón.
Solar-powered radios have a definite old-school charm about them. They are the ideal accessory for taking to sunny destinations far away from the beaten tourist path where access to power sources is limited.
Solar-powered travel radio such as the Eton Solar radio come without batteries for a good reason – they don’t need them.
The Roberts Digital Solar radio is a pricier beast but does combine a vintage look with digital capacity.
3. Solar chargers
While re-charging your batteries on the sun lounger, why not place a portable solar charger next to your cocktail glass and mobile phone? The warm rays will enable your charger to re-energize your mobile phone, laptop and other gadgets.
Ingeniously, you can also get solar chargers integrated into backpacks – ideal for those who want to multi-task while on a hiking expedition.
4. Don’t forget your choice of toothbrush!
The Environmental Toothbrush does just what it says on its eco-friendly packaging. This toothbrush is made of bamboo – one of the fastest-growing plants in the world. Bamboo’s rapid rate of growth means it scores very highly in terms of ecological efficiency; it is also very easy to recycle.
There are lots of other eco-friendly toothbrushes out there. They take up such little room in green luggage so there’s no excuse not to pack one.
Bikini top, part of H&M Beachwear collection which benefited WaterAid. Photo credit: H&M.
5. Green beachwear
How can you help the environment just be lazing around on the beach? One answer is to snap up some snazzy environmentally-friendly beachwear. This year, H&M will again launch a range of swimwear in order to raise money for Water Aid.
Seven Mile Beach, Cayman Islands. Photo credit: Cayman Islands.
It’s easy to bliss out in the Cayman Islands with its island living, white sandy beaches, and pristine sea.
Now travelers can learn about responsible tourism in these Caribbean islands from an online guide by The Cayman Islands Department of Tourism and responsibletravel.com.
The insiders’ travel guide uses local tips and advice to share insights on places to stay, culture, food, local activities and events and holiday ideas.
This multimedia guide features video and podcasts of local people telling island stories like the blue iguana recovery program.
In 1503, Christopher Columbus and his crew discovered the Cayman Islands and named them ‘Las Tortugas’ because of their huge number of turtles.
The Cayman Islands actually boasts more species than the Galapagos, with 230 species of birds alone.
“Cayman has some of the clearest, cleanest seas in the world, unpolluted and unaffected by any run-off from rivers, and home to a colorful range of tropical fish, turtles and rays protected by some of the most stringent marine conservation laws in the world,” says responsibletravel.com.
See the Cayman Islands Travel Guide here.