Responsible Travel

Eco-Travel: 7 Exciting Ways to Reduce Your Carbon Footprint

If you’re looking for a new way to spend this year’s vacation, look no further than eco-travel. The trend is catching on in leaps and bounds, and best of all: it provides a unique experience not soon found on a traditional vacation. Here are six trends in Eco-travel that are sure to have you singing their praises:

7 New Trends to Follow in Eco-Travel

1. Voluntourism

If you’ve ever watched the news, read a newspaper or visited a website and wished there was a way you could help, you’ve found it. Voluntourism is an active way to spend your vacation helping others in need or simply doing your part for the environment. An example vacation allows guests to lend a hand on an organic farm in exchange for food and shelter.

Volunteering is a great way to interact with locals and learn what their lives are like, while lending a helping hand at the same time. There are lots of opportunities for volunteer-based travel, so you can pick and choose a location and activity that suits you best.

Consider using ProjectsAbroad to find opportunities. Some opportunities will be more eco-travel friendly than others, so consider how far you need to travel.

2. Traveler’s Philanthropy

Similar to missions undertaken by religious groups across the globe, these vacations are secular and help people in much the same way. Various vacations allow you to help build a library, a medical clinic, provide education, skills and social services to local peoples. Being philanthropic doesn’t have to mean tossing thousands of dollars around; by simply helping a community for a few weeks, you’ll be making a contribution to the lasting good.

Consider reading the Traveler’s Philanthropy Handbook from The Center for Responsible Travel if you would like to learn more.

3. Agroecotourism

Family-owned farms are taking advantage of the interest in eco-travel by allowing visitors to stay on their farms, for a set period of time, learning how to grow, cultivate and promote farm products. If you’ve wanted to learn more about sustainable agriculture, this type of vacation will be right up your ally.

4. Local Travel

Instead of staying at a four-star hotel, eating at Michelin star restaurants and renting expensive, gas guzzling vehicles, the trend is to travel like a local. Many communities have a group of home owners who will open their homes to travelers, for a low fee, allowing vacationers to immerse themselves into the local culture and, thereby, supporting the local economy.

If you’re like me, you probably don’t take enough advantage of things to do in your local area. So hit the beach or the hiking trails, hit up a locally-owned restaurant you’ve never visited, or try an activity you’ve always considered too touristy because you live nearby!

5. Staycations

Have you ever taken a week off of work and stayed home? You can easily turn your immediate area into a great vacation. Instead of hopping on a plane and heading to a far-off destination, stay local. Discover all there is to do in your area: parks, museums, shops and eateries that you’ve never visited.

In fact, staying home is one of the most friendly eco-travel options there is! Remember how the world’s waterways got cleaner during the COVID pandemic when everyone was staying home?

Staycations are a great way to unwind without racking up debt or spending your life savings. Be sure to let your coworkers know you’ll be unavailable, and then unplug from your email and smartphone, and try to enjoy every minute!

6. Green Vacation

If you simply must get out of your area to unwind and relax, look for a hotel that is environmentally-friendly and make your vacation as green as possible. Look for a hotel that uses organic linens, purchases food for their restaurants from local markets and uses green cleaning supplies. Many hotels are revamping themselves to fit in with the environmental movement!

When you reach your destination, consider renting a bike or walking instead of renting a car. Take advantage of public transportation if it is offered and support the local economy as often as possible.

7. Glamping

Glamping, or glamorous camping, is a new trend in the green travel industry. You’ll stay close to Mother Nature and not have to give up as many of the creature comforts of home when you go glamping. Even better, combine your glamping experience with voluntourism and you’ve killed two green birds with one stone!

Vacationing can be taxing on the environment. From fuel guzzling plane rides to rental cars, traveling can increase your carbon footprint tenfold. Instead of taking a traditional vacation this year, embrace your green side and follow one of these seven trends in the eco-travel industry. Whether you choose to go glamping or have a staycation, you’ll not only have a great time, but you’ll do so in an environmentally-friendly manner!

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