Now, more than ever, tourists are aware of the impact of their travels, both ecologically and culturally. There is a growing desire to go green, and people are slowly but surely making a conscious effort to consider ethical and environmentally-friendly aspects when planning their trips, both at home and abroad.
People are moving away from the glitzy, chain hotels and pre-planned package holidays opting instead for small family-run establishments or holiday rentals. These eco-friendly alternatives to hotels are a much more sustainable way to travel, and often cheaper, too!
By renting private accommodation you control the air conditioning, heating, lighting and recycling, which are all impossible to maintain when staying at a large hotel. Of course, many people consider hotels to be the more luxurious option so don’t try to look for anything else; it’s what they always done. They are missing out. There’s no need to compromise on comfort when going ‘eco’. In fact, you’d be amazed at what’s on offer these days.
Ecolodges nearly always carry some sort of eco-accreditation, renovated farmhouses are lovingly resorted using green building techniques and luxury villas have solar-heated pools, with water recycled from rainwater runoff.
If this sounds like your idea of a holiday, then follow our top tips to ensure your stay is as eco-friendly as possible.
~ Research the Destination Carefully
With the rise of ecotourism, there are so many travel options available now it’s hard to choose where to go. Decide what type of holiday you’re looking for first, for example: beach, city, mountain; then narrow down your search to a country. If you’re not sure where to look, Costa Rica is one of the top choices for ecotourism holidays. Kerala, in Southern India has unique houseboats and homestays available, and of course Australia is positively brimming with excellent eco-friendly holiday rentals.
~ Choose Wisely
Just because a property says it’s eco-friendly, doesn’t mean it is. There are many accommodation owners who will use the ‘eco’ label because it is de riguer, but their practices are far from green. If you’re really keen on making the right decision, check the information carefully, or better still, contact the owner and ask them more about the eco credentials of the accommodation.
~ Pack Light
It’s easy to get excited when you’re heading off on holiday, but its pays to pack light. The less you carry, the less fuel is needed to carry it; therefore less carbon is emitted into the atmosphere. It also saves money on extra charges on your flight (if you fly), and you also avoid undue stress on your body – the last thing you need is a strained back from lifting heavy baggage. A good pointer is to lay all your gear out on the bed, check it over, then get rid of half – you’ll probably still end up with more than you actually need.
~ Be a Responsible Guest
If you take measures to look after the environment in your own home, there’s no reason why you can’t do the same when on holiday. Sure, the rental belongs to someone else so they pay the bills, but your actions still have an effect on the environment. Limit energy usage by only using the air con and heating when you need it. Conserve water where you can, don’t leave the lights on, reuse, recycle and compost food if there is the facility available. Many countries charge for plastic bag usage now or have banned them completely, so pack a light reusable bag everywhere you go – it will come in handy for going to the beach and grocery shopping.
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