As 2010 approaches, the prospect of New Years Resolutions looms large. Often calling for a lot of effort (lose weight, get fit), it’s no wonder resolutions aren’t always kept. But adventure travel specialist Intrepid Travel (www.intrepidtravel.com) would like to suggest one resolution that is not only affordable and easily achieved, it will be fun.
Why not resolve to make your travels a little greener?
5 Ways to green your travel in 2010
First, always take a hotel up on the option to not change your sheets and towels every day (do you do that at home?). That alone can save countless resources in water, electricity and detergent. “And if your hotel doesn’t offer that option – usually a tent card lets you know – leave a note for your chambermaid, and let management know that as a guest you’d like them to introduce that option,” suggests Larkin.
Second, why not try out the local public transit? From being served chai on the trains in India to riding the chicken buses in Guatemala, many Intrepid itineraries include the opportunity to travel like a local: easy on the wallet, even easier on the environment. Because Intrepid groups average just 10 travellers, small scale experiences like these are feasible.
Third, try purchasing local souvenirs. Speaking of wallets, as shopping is a highlight for so many travellers, why not do your bit by purchasing locally-made products? Colourful crafts, clothing and art not only support the local economy but often help sustain traditions and heritage.
Next, your choice of where you stay and eat can have an impact too. “Sure it’s easy to choose a restaurant whose name you recognize from home, or stay in a brand-name hotel,” says Larkin, “But we strive to have our travellers stay and eat in smaller, locally-owned establishments.” Often family-owned, he adds, these small restaurants and inns provide an authentic glimpse into the local way of life – and your outlay stays in the community.
Lastly, why not pick up a few words of the local language to help you connect with your host country? Intrepid has guides to 20 languages with fun lessons at www.intrepidtravel.com/languageguides which take less room on your Mp3 player than a CD – and way less room in your luggage than a dictionary! The guides are free to all, not just Intrepid clients.
Intrepid has already made its own New Years Resolution: by the end of the year, it plans to have measured the carbon footprint of the land portion of all of its 650 itineraries to over 120 countries, and it will proceed to carbon offset them. For other great tips on how to travel sustainably, visit www.intrepidtravel.com.
Looking for an eco-friendly trip? Check out the tripatlas.com/new Trip Builder where you can request a quote from over 104,000 local travel agents who are ready to offer you the best prices on your trip.