It is getting more and more difficult for eco-friendly people to vacation without guilt, consider the transportation impact and consumption required to get away from it all. Airplanes and cars use large amounts of fossil fuels, depleting limited resources and producing harmful emissions. This makes it especially important to preserve the natural environment of any destination you visit, as you are already in the red from an environmental standpoint when you begin the trip. The following are some useful tips for ways to go on a vacation without compromising on your ideals about sustainability and the environment.
Following the logic from the introduction, airplanes are particularly problematic modes of transport, but there are issues with trains and buses as well. If you are traveling by car, choose a hybrid that uses electricity for at least part of its power. That will be an improvement over an old-style fossil fuel only car. Next, if you are traveling by plane, see if you can purchase carbon offset credits. Many airlines permit this: they allow passengers to put money towards carbon-reducing initiatives to compensate for the carbon they put into the atmosphere during the flight.
Seek out sustainable hotels and places to stay. Some hotel websites like Travelocity allow you to search for green hotels, but it might be better to stay at an explicitly sustainable location, such as an eco-tour with included accommodations. The sustainability of where you stay will depend on where you are going, because some locations and regions are more open to sustainability than others.
There are some activities that are clearly more sustainable than others. Hiking is much better than staying at a large resort, for example. Beyond that simple dichotomy, there are some good general guidelines to follow for making sure your activities are environmentally friendly. First, buy local. Goods and products from big chains had to be transported to the area rather than being produced locally, so their production is less sustainable. Next, look for local green businesses. Not all local business will be green-friendly, so you should try to do the best you can and find the most sustainable sources in the local community. Finally, seek out attractions created with sustainability in mind. Ecotourism destinations like Shallotte River Swamp Park provide excellent vacation spots for the sustainable traveler. Seek out these environmentally-friendly attractions so you can enjoy nature without endangering it.
If you follow these suggestions, then you will be much more comfortable with your vacations, because they will be friendly to sustainability and local communities. Simply use common sense to decide on the best green alternatives.