Sustainable Vacations

August is the unofficial vacation month so, before you pack your bags, do the planet a favor and plan a sustainable vacation!  While the idea of an eco-friendly trip might conjure up ideas of backpacking up mountains or being swarmed by mosquitoes in the jungle–I know it did for me!–you can find a sustainable trip to suit almost any need.  A sustainable vacation means making green and responsible choices from hotels to food to activities.  In a 2003 survey by National Geographic’s Geotourism Study, 71% of Americans believed that it was important not to damage the environment while on vacation.  From the beach lounger to the 12-month-hippyvacafiji.jpga-year skier, there is a green vacation for you!

In National Geographic Traveler’s March 2004 issue, the magazine first came out with its 115 top spots to visit based on the destination-stewardship index.  This index rates places subject to pressures including development, pollution, globalization and tourism.  On the 0 to 100 scale, the destinations ranked between 41 and 82, encompassing places all over the globe from fjords in Norway and Chile to the heavy touristed South Island of New Zealand. On this list, environmental quality played an important role with credit given to places like Tuscany and Vermont that value aesthetics (Vermont’s Act 250 even bans billboards in the state).  While most low-scoring destinations were beaches, the rankings afforded a new awareness to places that have reduced environmental pressures.  Beaches in Florida, Thailand and Spain’s Balearic Islands are now in the process of finding innovative programs to reverse their formerly destructive ways.  


hippyvacaswiss.jpgWhat were some of the highest scorers on the 2009 list?  For the explorers,
there are the wetlands and forests of Brazil.  For the more mainstream traveler, take a visit to the Swiss
Alps, protected by Switzerland’s progressive environmental policies, or a desert Oasis in Dubai. 
Low-scoring destinations include the Turks and Caicos Islands and Greece, mainly due to overdevelopment, while the historic Pompeii
ruins were described by panelists as an “amazing site within terrible
surroundings.”  

Adventurers can plan trips through organizers like Wildland Adventures
or Earthfoot, both of which offer eco-friendly tours around the globe. 
For beach goers, many resorts on the Islands of Fiji boast
environmentally friendly green buildings, sustainable food and cultural
presentations.  Travelers can also check out Orbitz’s eco-friendly
link, which allows viewers tohippyvacaUAE.jpeg search for hotels and car rentals that
suit their needs.   

A sustainable vacation is definitely the way to go this August.  Check
out some of the possible destinations suggested by National Geographic
Traveler, calculate the carbon footprint you’ll leave (with
transportation), find ways to reduce it if you can, and then pack your
bags!

Melissa for My Wonderful World

4 responses to “Sustainable Vacations

  1. Sustainable travel may conjure up images of backpacking through virgin jungle or snorkeling in pristine waters off some far-flung coast. But earth-friendly trekking—the idea that your eco-footprint should remain small no matter where you go—can be the guiding principle behind any trip. Taking a sustainable vacation means making green and socially responsible choices every step of the way—from booking your trip with a green travel agent to staying in a eco-friendly hotel to volunteering while you’re there. In other words, wherever you wander, from the smallest village to the remotest mountaintop, you lighten your eco- and cultural-footprint.

  2. Sustainable travel may conjure up images of backpacking through virgin jungle or snorkeling in pristine waters off some far-flung coast. But earth-friendly trekking—the idea that your eco-footprint should remain small no matter where you go—can be the guiding principle behind any trip. Taking a sustainable vacation means making green and socially responsible choices every step of the way—from booking your trip with a green travel agent to staying in a eco-friendly hotel to volunteering while you’re there. In other words, wherever you wander, from the smallest village to the remotest mountaintop, you lighten your eco- and cultural-footprint.

  3. Sustainable travel may conjure up images of backpacking through virgin jungle or snorkeling in pristine waters off some far-flung coast. But earth-friendly trekking—the idea that your eco-footprint should remain small no matter where you go—can be the guiding principle behind any trip. Taking a sustainable vacation means making green and socially responsible choices every step of the way—from booking your trip with a green travel agent to staying in a eco-friendly hotel to volunteering while you’re there. In other words, wherever you wander, from the smallest village to the remotest mountaintop, you lighten your eco- and cultural-footprint.

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