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Every traveler leaves a trail of black emissions in their wake. The Eco-Conscious Traveler wants to do everything they can to erase these ugly marks they are responsible for.

Their passion starts at home and lucky for them the Eco-Conscious trend is an entirely portable lifestyle choice. Ultimately their concern lies with minimizing the impact of travel on the environment while protecting resources and guarding against unintended consequences that any activities might have upon the earth.

Efficiency Tips for Eco-Conscious Travelers

Find your focus. You cannot solve all the problems and you will be most effective if you are clear about what matters most to you personally and then pour all your energy and efforts into that cause.

Calculate the CO2 from your trip and donate the corresponding amount to an organization your carrier (or you!) supports. With Cathay Pacific this is a cooking and heating project in China’s Shanxi Province for instance. You can also offset your entire vacation by selecting a program you would like to donate to and then use a company like Carbon Fund and Carbon Neutral to help you with your calculations and vetting.

Cautions for Courteous
Eco Conscious Travelers

The latest and greatest green discovery sometimes needs some practical application before it can ultimately be declared a success. Don’t feel like you need to jump on every bandwagon and don’t become despondent when everything doesn’t turn out as advertised.

Check your facts against various reputable sources. Greenwashing is a reality… but the industry around eco consciousness is often guilty of massaging facts and figures to elicit the maximum emotive response.

… and Warnings for the Rest of Humanity

Don’t waste water around these travelers. They know hotels may create severe consequences through the use of swimming pools and laundry etc.

Keep references to Ocean Cruises, all-inclusive resorts and any travel involving riding, touching or domesticating wild animals out of your conversation.

How to Spot the
Eco Conscious Traveler on Safari

Why would you want to find an Eco Conscious Traveler? Just because it says things like green and eco-friendly on the tin it does not mean the ingredients are the real McCoy. This is where the Eco Conscious Traveler comes in – they will keep you on the straight and narrow and perfectly informed. Green washers beware.

The tourism industry has great potential. Conscious travelling can result in meeting the needs of both tourists and local inhabitants. Both parties coming away satisfied will only increase respectful intercultural and economic exchange around the world.

This is what you look for:

Self-Propelled

These guys never use any form of transportation if their own steam can get them where they are going!

Asking the 25km Question

Eco-Travelers will want to know how much of the produce at any restaurant has been sourced within 25 km.

Telling Luggage Tags

They will have tags from Norwegian Air, Finn Air, Alaska Air, Virgin Atlantic and Cathay Pacific because they will insist on a fuel-efficient fleet delivering them wherever they go. They will also fly Conservationist Coach rather than Thriftless First Class.

The Personal Water Bottle

Because plastic is evil and refillable is the way of the future.

They Decline Laundry and Housekeeping

Often spotted in the same clothes for another day, they are conscious about water usage.

The Darkness Follows Them

The Eco-Travelers cannot leave the room without turning off the lights.

Excellent Travel Destinations for
Eco Conscious Travelers

Costa Rica

The gold standard of eco-friendly, the lush jungles and incredible diversity of Costa Rica is protected by a tourism industry specializing in environmentally friendly practices. The country’s sustainability policy also relies on the abundance of electricity from hydro-electric dams – a clean energy source that currently generates around 75 per cent of the nation’s power needs.

Nepal

In this tiny nation blessed with extreme beauty it is very possible to explore the culture and landscape of the Himalayas in a perfectly safe and sustainably green manner. From wildlife safaris to trekking or canoeing, Nepal will have an environmentally responsible tourism option to match your plans and goals

Ecuador

Ecuador has placed 97 percent of the Galápagos’ landmass under the watchful gaze of its national park service. This small Andean country is the first to recognize the rights of nature in its constitution. Ecuador is packed full of diverse eco-systems and exotic wildlife. Consisting of three distinct terrains: the Andes Mountains, the Amazon rainforest and the Pacific coastline.

Namibia

With a constitution that includes provision for habitat conservation and the protection of natural resources this fragile beauty, complete with geological extremes is at the forefront of environmental, economic, cultural and resource protection. It is scarcely populated but has the largest quotient of free-roaming animals in the world as well as desert-adapted plants and wildlife.

Uzbekistan

The sun shines year-round in Uzbekistan. The country has alternative lodging in the Nuratau-Kyzylkum Biosphere Reserve coupled with an outdoor culture that includes skiing, mountaineering, white-water rafting and birding as well as over 1,000 native varieties of apples. All of this together with the government’s commitment through the constitutional act called the ‘Ecological Movement of Uzbekistan’ is fast turning this former Soviet republic into a burgeoning eco-destination

Zambia

As large as Texas but with fewer than 15 people per km2 Zambia is a country of abundance. Water, waterfalls, wildlife, space, friendly local people and beauty. It is the country where the African walking safari is king, where the world’s biggest waterfall thunders into the gorges and where peace reigns supreme and adrenaline activities supply the drama. It is also well ahead of the game as far as environmental conservation goes.

Images via jean wimmerlinDebora TingleyKyle SterkChris CharlesRohan ReddyIswanto ArifVolha FlaxecoDavid Marcu