Greening Your Vacartions
For many people, ecological responsibility has become a way of life. “Going green” has never been more popular, and the concept now impacts almost every aspect of our lives, including our vacation time. One billion people travel every year, creating a huge amount of carbon emissions and waste. Therefore, environmentally conscious vacationers should try to implement green travel practices. Luckily, there are numerous ways to help create a cleaner, better Earth while still enjoying a wonderful holiday.
The biggest issue for many ecotourists is the amount of carbon emitted during air travel. Carbon offsets are a popular way to handle these emissions, and they are often surprisingly inexpensive; one can purchase offset credits for as little as $10 for a short flight, and even longer trips will only cost around $40.
Before leaving for your trip, remember to unplug your appliances and set your thermostat and water heater to the lowest possible settings. To reduce waste, consider stopping newspaper and magazine deliveries for the duration of your trip; many companies will happily allow you to donate your copies to local schools or libraries.
Ideally, your destination hotel will have an environmental program or certification from a green industry association. However, even at a hotel that does not participate in these programs, it’s possible to minimize your impact by doing a few simple things. First, turn off the lights and heat or air conditioning when you’re not in your room. Take short showers and avoid overusing water. Tell the front desk that you would prefer to reuse the sheets and towels rather than having them replaced daily. While out exploring, walk, bike, or use public transportation. Royal Holiday members, who have access to kitchenettes in many lodgings, can prepare their own meals using locally grown ingredients. Finally, when out in nature, whether it’s a trail in South Africa or the coral reefs of the Atlantic Ocean, be sure to leave no trace and to follow the rules closely to protect the local wildlife.