Travel is always an enriching experience and generally has a positive financial impact on the region you're heading to. Still, some parts of the world who thrive on tourism can suffer from environmental problems if they (and their tourists) are not careful. If social and economic responsibility is something that's important to you, it can definitely change the way you travel; bringing you to exotic corners of the globe. Here's a few things to keep in mind when you're looking to stay green on your next trip.
Pick An Ethical Destination
You can do your own research to go somewhere that falls under your personal ethical standards, or head over to Ethical Traveler
, an independent nonprofit organization that ranks destinations each year by environmental protection standards, social and human rights views. Each year they release their list of the top 10 most ethical countries to travel to.
Find A Green Hotel
Many hotels around the globe use renewable energy, have a recycling program, or use natural cleaning products among other things; particularly in large cities. Another option are staying in smaller, local hotels vs. large chains, as well as B&Bs as a way to have a direct positive impact on the local economy.
Try your best to eat locally sourced and prepared foods and don't rely on pricey imports and often bland resort food. Not only will this give you a better sense of the region's cuisine, it puts your money back into the local economy and will help continue to bolster the community directly in areas supported mainly by tourism.
Take Your Garbage With You
This is easier said than done. For items that are biodegradable, it's fine to place them in the appropriate bins. For things like batteries and man made materials, try your best to bring them back with you as some developing countries may not have the means to dispose of them correctly and they may sit in landfills for years after your departure.
Use Transit, Bike or Walk
Skip the rental car and hit the ground running - or walking! Using public transit or a bike will not only save you money in the long run, but it will definitely decrease your carbon footprint as well as give you a chance to explore your destination in a more up close and personal way.
No matter where you end up staying, be sure to be well-prepared and pack using on of our Rise Gear