How to Be an Eco-Friendly Tourist and Minimize Your Carbon Footprint

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Tourism is a huge industry, and the demand for eco-friendly accommodations and entertainment is growing. Eco-tourism has become popular because of factors such a globalization, diversification of options, travel motivation, population growth, and better standard of living. Thus many developing countries now offer eco-tourism options to reduce poverty levels and support local communities and rural livelihoods.

Packing Light

This is very important. Every pound counts when flying. Airplanes that are packed tight produce more greenhouse gas emissions. Take one bag only. This is not only good for the environment but allows you to carry it yourself. It is less likely that your luggage gets stolen, damaged, or lost. You can leave your bag under your seat on an airplane, taxi, train, or other means of transport.

Air traffic is a major pollutant that accounts for about 10 percent of the greenhouse gas emissions. You may want to plan your vacation as to minimize short-haul air flights and stay longer at your intended destination.

Leaving Footprints Only

Eco-tourists take souvenirs and pictures and not flowers, rocks, and other objects. They don’t litter. If 1,000 people take a volcano rock, this makes 1,000 rocks. Beach combing is also an issue. Starfish, sand dollars, and other species are also live organisms. Obviously, you shouldn’t buy anything that is made from turtle shells, ivory, and other bird or animal products. Hunting threatened and endangered species is illegal in many countries.

Buying Local

Buy local products and souvenirs and use local airlines, car rentals, buses, and trains. Choose locally-owned bed & breakfasts, hotels, lodges, hostels, and other types of accommodation. Attend local events, community initiatives, festivals, and festivities. Shop at local stores and markets and choose local diners, restaurants, and fast food joints. When hiring a guide, choose a native speaker. Ask tour operators and travel agencies for recommendation and check if they are licensed. This is a way to support local communities and economies.

Using Eco-Friendly Items

Never use disposable batteries when travelling. They contain and leach toxic substances into the environment. Bring a charger with you and use re-chargeable batteries instead. This is also a more affordable option. Buy a voltage converter plug as well. You can use it for your charger, laptop, mobile phone, and other devices. Some chargers come with a quick charge feature that saves time and power. Never use plastic bags for packing. They are non-biodegradable and represent a threat to the environment. In fact, some 12 million oil barrels are used to produce 100 billion plastic bags. Oil extraction, processing, and transportation contribute to environmental pollution. Plastic bags, bottles, and other items are to blame for marine and soil pollution. Ecologists warn that some 1 billion birds die each year because of this.

It is also a good idea to bring eco-friendly items such as biodegradable soaps and shampoos. Soaps are good for your laundry, body and hands. Non-toxic products are made from peppermint, lavender, eucalyptus, tree, and other organic oils as well as almond, castor, and jojoba oils. They are suitable for small children and people with allergies and sensitive skin. Biodegradable soaps are free of chemicals and do not irritate the skin. A liquid soap is a better option if you plan a hiking or backpacking trip because it is easy to pack.

Green Transport Options

While using a taxi or renting a car is convenient, biking and using public transport minimize the impact of greenhouse gas emissions on the environment. Many places of interest and attractions are serviced by train coaches and vehicles. And in most cases, public transport is less expensive than taking a taxi. You will have the opportunity to chat with locals while onboard and learn new things. Walking is also a great way to enjoy the landscape and get some exercise.

Respect Wildlife

Avoid getting too close to birds and animals and don’t chase them to take pictures. This can cause aggravation, fear, and stress. It is a good idea to get familiar with local laws that specify how close you can get to certain species.

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