You’re in a quandary. You desperately need to take a vacation. You’ve worked hard and definitely deserve it. However, you also want to do your part in being “green.” What choices do you have?
Fortunately, the travel industry is one of the most progressive sectors in terms of being environmentally aware. Many travel companies are racing to put environmentally-friendly programs into place because they know consumers are much more conscientious than ever before about leaving a small footprint on the earth. So, what are the things to look for in a green travel company?
Carbon Offset Programs Look for a company that offers a carbon offset program. What is this? Since it’s impossible for a commercial jet to be “green”, some companies are offering programs to offset the carbon emissions by planting the exact number of trees it would take to clean the air because of your travel. So, while you may have to travel to your environmentally-friendly destination on a traditional “non-green” plane, the pollution is offset by the planting of new trees throughout the world to clean up the air. This is a good thing. You should look for companies that offer a carbon offset program.
Support Local Economies Companies that are truly “green” will be committed to supporting local economies by hiring local employees, as well as purchasing local goods whenever feasible. Stimulating the local economies of travel destinations is good for the planet. Why? It reduces pollution by avoiding long-range shipping. And, locals will have a vested interest in preserving their homeland and maintaining its beauty for future generations.
Water Conservation Many “green” travel companies are conscious about their water usage. Most have some sort of water reclamation program. A conscientious travel destination will offer organic soaps and shampoos and will reclaim their waste water for organic gardens, for watering landscape, etc.
Alternate Power Source Some “green” travel destinations have set up solar panels, windmills, or other types of alternative power sources. This is an expensive investment, but one that will pay for itself quickly. Creating clean energy is a step in the right direction and those travel destinations savvy enough to implement this should be rewarded for their efforts.
The Little Things Sometimes it’s the little things. Look for a company that offers organic food to its guests, or encourages travelers to share a car for site seeing. These little things can be a good indication of the dedication of the travel company to really be “green.” Also, many green travel companies are involved in donating some of their profits to worthwhile organizations cleaning up the environment in a variety of ways.
Conclusion And, last but not least, the most important thing is to find a green travel company that’s a good fit for you. Ultimately, make sure that you will have a great time and the things you need from the vacation (relaxation, adventure, culture, etc.) will be provided. If you had a good time, make sure to go online and write a glowing review.