NEW YORK, Dec 28, 2008 / FW/ — With the holidays over and winter in full bloom, people are thinking of traveling to somewhere warmer. Recession or not, taking a trip is on the mind of a lot of people, landing #12 on the Top 14 Popular New Year’s Resolutions as listed by www.usa.gov.
With the bailout occupying most of the headlines, talks about being eco-friendly have been put in the backburner. Yet, even at the best of times, the focus on living green is about everyday life. But, according to Mariel Hemingway and Travelers Advantage, we should recycle, conserve and reuse even while we are traveling.
“Traveling eco-friendly is about traveling more thoughtfully,” said actress and author Mariel Hemingway. “By travelling greener we not only enjoy this world’s beautiful destinations, but also help preserve them for people to enjoy for years to come.”
Fortunately, it’s becoming easier than ever to travel green. In fact, according to the World Tourism Organisation, eco-tourism is considered the fastest growing market in the tourism industry, growing at a rate of 5 percent worldwide each year and representing 11.4 percent of all consumer spending.
“A greener vacation doesn’t necessarily mean premium price,” said Leslie Downey, director of Travelers Advantage and TravelersAdvantage.com.
Green travel can be defined in many ways. On one level, there is a whole segment of travel resorts and excursions that are targeted at providing a luxury experience sans carbon emissions. Others provide you with an intensely local experience, from native cuisine, locally owned lodging and unique area excursions greatly accessible by foot, bike or on the back of an animal.
And even if you are staying in a standard hotel or on your usual family road trip, there are things you can do to make your trip greener:
- Take a train instead of flying for shorter trips.
- Use public transportation instead of taxis or rental cars whenever possible.
- If you do have to take a rental car, consider a hybrid or smaller beconomy car instead of larger vehicles.
- Hang up your towels and leave a note to hotel staff that it is unnecessary to change your sheets every day.
- If your hotel doesn’t recycle, take your recyclables home with you.
Nearly 1 billion tourists travel around the globe each year. And if we all act more environmentally responsible when we travel, we can help ensure our world’s breathtaking locations and beautiful vacations remain that way forever.
If you’re interested in making your next trip a little greener, the experts at Travelers Advantage recommend researching the following unique locations:
Hotel Terra – Jackson Hole, Wyo. –
Hotel Terra offers an in-room recycling program and uses 100 percent organic cotton sheets, towels,bath mats and robes. The hotel is donned with non-toxic paints and carpets and uses chemical-free cleaning products among many other eco-conscious activities. Go for great skiing in the winter and enjoy sleigh rides, dog sledding and winter wildlife expeditions. This hotel is currently pending a LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification which would put it in an elite group of environmentally sustainable buildings in the U.S.
Jungle Bay Resort – Dominica –
This Caribbean resort was crafted from used wood and discarded stone from an old mining quarry, but the luxury accommodations are anything but second-hand. The resort’s restaurant serves 95 percent locally grown organic food and practices composting. All guests receive a reusable water bottle on arrival that can be filled at water stations throughout the property. Local guides trained in responsible travel techniques take guests on guided educational tours through fragile ecosystems.
Eco Lodges – Indonesia –
Boasting the prestigious Green Globe EC3certification for sustainability and highest environmental standards in global travel, the Udayana Eco Lodge in Bali is centrally located for easy walking to Bali’s beaches, shopping areas and fish restaurants. The hotel is tucked high in the Jimbaran hills in a conservation area for birds and butterflies with vista views abounding.