Ecotourism has a lot of names: green travel, responsible travel, ethical travel, nature travel. It’s all the same idea though: you don’t leave anything behind (other than footprints) and you don’t take anything with you (other than pictures).
Ecotourism doesn’t ask you to stay put at home for the sake of decreasing your carbon footprint. Instead, it suggests that you travel responsibly in order to preserve wildlife, nature, and indigenous cultures, all of which rely on local ecosystems.
Becoming conscious of how you travel won’t cost you any extra money. In fact, it can actually cut down your budget. Combine that with car rental coupons and you may have extra spending money for your trip!
Ways to Travel Green
1. Pack light. You won’t spend as much on baggage fees and you’ll help to increase the plane’s fuel efficiency. Pack items that you can wash in the sink and that are quick-drying. You’ll be able to wear them several times during your trip, which will cut down on your luggage’s weight.
2. Save water by taking short showers, turning off the water while brushing your teeth or shaving, and reusing towels.
3. Avoid using the hotel’s laundry service. They wash each guest’s laundry separately, which results in a huge amount of wasted water.
4. When researching the cheapest car rentals, ask the agency for a car that has great fuel efficiency.
5. When leaving your hotel room, turn off the TV, lights, and air conditioning.
6. Leave the “Do Not Disturb” sign on your door. This will prevent the housekeeping staff from cleaning your room daily, which cuts down on the amount of harsh cleaning supplies. Plus, they won’t waste electricity with frequent vacuuming.
7. When you return your cheap car rental, also return any maps you borrowed from the agency. Return brochures to the hotel lobby, too.
8. When hiking, stick to marked trails so that you don’t disrupt any flora. Bring along a trash bag so that you don’t leave garbage behind.
9. Give something back! For example, if you’re going on a tour of a nearby village, bring along school supplies for the children.
One of the best ways to travel responsibly is to get involved. When shopping for souvenirs or food, buy local. Learn about the local culture, honor traditions, and make a point to get immersed in the area.