Whether you're travelling to a tropical sun-soaked destination or walking through the highlands of Scotland, you should be kind to the environment you are visiting. There are many ways to help protect and preserve nature along with its dwellers. Here are some tips on how to contribute eco-responsible acts of kindness and care while vacationing throughout the world.
- Leave the sand where it lies. Taking a picture of your surroundings is the best way to truly capture where you've been and keep a memory of it with you forever. Bringing home a piece of where you've been, however, is not so eco-friendly. It is best to leave the natural environment natural and not disturb it – whether it is sand, driftwood, or just leaves from the trees! Even slight alterations to eco-systems can have a large impact on land and wildlife – and may be illegal.
- Stick to existing trails and paths. Some great travel adventures involve walking in the footsteps of past kings and queens or other historical figures. In many cases, these tours may wind through the countryside, jungles, or other extraordinary surroundings. To ensure people will return and have the great experience you had, it is always best to avoid trampling or disturbing the land beneath your feet and stick to clearly marked trails. Ask local authorities about the environmental rules and regulations they follow so you can abide by their standards and encourage eco-friendly practices.
- Diving into the oceans, seas, or fresh waters? Splashing around or diving to explore the underwater world are among the most popular activities for travellers. But in sunny tropical destinations where coral reefs abound, avoiding contact with corals and underwater plants is essential to maintaining the delicate ocean eco-system. The corals act as a vital part of the underwater systems and many species depend on them for food and shelter. Just a brush with your flipper or hand can cause damage. And, if you see any candy wrappers or garbage floating in or near waterways, try and do your part by picking them up. Every little bit helps the environment!
- Respect the local culture and traditions! Read up on the traditions and culture of your travel destinations. Research the food markets so that you can buy quality local foods and contribute to the economy. Also try to purchase food that is abundant and sustainable in the area you are visiting. This helps reduce fossil fuel emissions created from planes, trains and vehicles that would otherwise need to transport the food. And, only buy souvenirs that are made from sustainable products. Never buy products made from ivory, coral, rare woods or an endangered species.
- Be a world citizen. Travel can be relaxing and exhilarating - not to mention, rewarding! One of the greatest things you can do when you travel is lend a hand to a local community housing project or even commit a few hours to teach the local children games or customs from your own home country. A lot of people you see when travelling may not be as fortunate to visit other reaches of the world and experience other cultures, so sharing with them is worthwhile.