The summer sun beckons outside and we know you’ve been sitting at your office desk, daydreaming about the ultimate summertime getaway. Whether you’re planning a trip with the family, a romantic getaway for two, a reunion with old friends or even a solo voyage, there are a variety of ways you can extend your green lifestyle to your vacation, too!
We’ve compiled a list of our favorite eco-friendly destinations, activities, and travel tips to help you plan the green getaway of your dreams.
For the outdoorsy, there are an infinite number of camping spots, hiking trails, rafting trips and rock climbing destinations to challenge your wild side. These trips are perfect for the eco-conscious traveler, and allow for an up-close-and-personal look at nature. Feel like hitting the trails? National Geographic has put together this helpful list of the best hiking trails in the world. Thinking of spending a week on a family camp out? Check out this list of amazing camping spots. If you’d like to stay local, remember that there are a number of wonderful, camping spots in both the United States and Canada, as well as all over the world. You might also consider visiting one of the famous National Parks in the U.S. or Canada, such as Yellowstone, the Grand Canyon, the Everglades, Banff or Fundy National Park.
For the truly adventurous nature lover, trips to the rainforest or ecological hot spots like the Galapagos Islands or New Zealand can provide an astonishing glimpse at some of our planet’s most stunning wildlife. An African safari may be another option for the thrill seeker. If you’re planning a trip like this, be sure to pack appropriately (bug spray, anyone?) and get the necessary vaccinations before you depart.
We get that hiking, roughing it outdoors and swatting away mosquitoes the size of bluebirds may not be everyone’s version of a relaxing summer getaway. A variety of eco-tourism spots around the world allow for the “close to nature” experience while still providing the luxuries of a resort.
If you’re looking for something a little more laid back (and a little more “vacation-y”), check out the Travel Channel’s list of luxury eco-friendly resorts, or consider a visit to a green, solar-powered or otherwise eco-friendly hotel. These sorts of hotels are springing up more and more, such as the Orchard Garden Hotel in San Francisco – the first LEED-certified hotel in the U.S. A simple Google search for “green hotels” provides a bounty of information for those interested in such accommodations, or you can ask your travel agent for information about the most sustainable hotels or resorts in your desired destination.
Some Eco-Friendly Travel Tips:
Love the outdoors? Adventure sports such as rock climbing, white water rafting or mountain biking can provide unparalleled views of nature and wildlife at their finest. Be sure to do your research and use reputable travel agencies, programs or organizations to plan these sorts of trips.
- Watch your carbon footprint, even while abroad. Try to walk or bike as often as possible and take the same precautions regarding energy and water conservation that you would in your own home.
- Interested in marine conservation? Consider learning how to SCUBA dive or snorkel. Divers often consider themselves the “ambassadors to the oceans,” and good divers take every precaution to leave unharmed the marine habitats they visit. PADI (The Professional Association of Dive Instructors) offers an advanced diving course specifically for those interested in underwater conservation.
- Want to stay green while getting around abroad? Many car rental agencies now offer the option to rent a hybrid or electric car. In addition, green taxis are beginning to take off in some destinations such as Santa Monica and New York City.
- Be sure to respect the local ecosystem. While it may be tempting to take home that live conch for the beautiful shell, remember that there’s a live animal inside that won’t survive outside of its native habitat. On a similar note, removing any vegetation, animals or plants from the local environment and bringing them home with you may lead to ecological repercussions – there’s likely a good reason that nature never introduced these animals or plants to your hometown.