Ready to Go Green? EC3 Global, an internationally recognised environmental advisory group offers responsible travel tips for the eco-conscious traveler.
THINGS TO CONSIDER…BEFORE YOU GO
When planning a holiday, don’t ask your travel agent for a lot of different brochures as all of the same information is available online. In fact, most travel companies have a website which will contain an electronic version of the brochure you are interested in. Travellers can utilise the internet for their research and this will provide a broader range of information about your destination.
Select hotels based on their demonstrated green credentials – many internet booking engines now offer information on eco-friendly hotel options. These accommodations have introduced eco-friendly practices and have made efforts to reduce their energy and water consumption and waste production.
If you intend to visit areas of natural or cultural significance, ensure you plan the visit with tour guides who have environmental accreditation – this will ensure that the visit does not have any negative impact on the surroundings.
Speak to your travel agent or visit the tourism website of your destination to learn more about their public transport system – in some destinations it is easier (and certainly less expensive) to use public transport than to rent private vehicles or hire taxis.
When booking your flight, ask your travel agent to organise an electronic ticket. It saves paper and ensures you are less likely to lose your documents when you travel.
Remember to unplug all of unnecessary electrical appliances (TVs and audio visual equipment, kitchen appliances such as kettles, microwaves and toasters) in your home prior to departing. These items still use energy when they are in off or standby mode. By unplugging them, you will decrease your home’s energy usage as well as reduce your electricity bill.
THINGS TO CONSIDER…WHILE YOU TRAVEL
Use the online check-in counter at the airport – most major airports offer this service, saving time in long queues and unnecessary paper.
Take advantage of public transport air transfers that are available upon arrival in your destination. Most major airports have this as an option, and in some instances (see London Heathrow www.heathrowairport.com for an example) coach transfers take you directly to your hotel.
When checking in to your hotel, ask the staff about the hotel’s environmental policies and what they can do as a guest to assist them (not having your sheets and towels changed every day to cut down on water usage etc).
Always turn off the lights in the hotel before you go out and explore the area.
Use a digital camera for photos – you can review the image instantly and decide whether they wish to keep it or need to shoot the photo again. Using traditional film-reliant cameras can lead to excess paper use, and often results in photos that you don’t want to keep.
Rather than send postcards from your destination, email friends and family e-cards. Most national tourism boards have e-cards available on their websites with images of significant landmarks. Doing this saves paper, postage and the CO2 emissions from the postcard’s journey.
Take advantage of the local restaurants in the area you are visiting. It is a fantastic way to experience the authentic culture of a destination, ensures you are supporting the local population, and assists the environment as the food was produced locally and hence hasn’t required excess transportation.
THINGS TO CONSIDER… WHEN YOU HAVE COMPLETED YOUR TRIP
Take advantage of the public transport options available upon your return home – most new airports are equipped with efficient transport services that will take you at least part of the way home.
If you struggled to find eco-friendly options at any of the accommodations you stayed in, send an email to let them know that you think they should consider adopting some of the other practices you have seen – it is only when customers take a stand that organisations start to change their practices!
Encourage others to take advantage of the responsible travel options you discovered – there are several good travel blogs where delegates can post their thoughts and recommendations.
Inform your travel agent of any positive/negative behaviour you witnessed while travelling – they are an invaluable source to people booking their trips and when it comes to accommodation, flight and tour options they encourage or dissuade travellers based on their former clients’ recommendations.
Source: EC3 Global