Are you ready to travel but worried that you’re going to leave a carbon footprint stain along the way? Eco-friendly travel can feel intimidating because it can feel very all of nothing. Whether you are just dipping your toes into a more sustainable way of travel or you already have your eco-friendly toiletries ready and are biking your way to your destination, eco-friendly travel is for everyone.
Eco-friendly travel allows you to really examine your motivations for travel and the impact it has on local environments and communities. Read all about it in my Beginner’s Guide to Eco-Friendly Travel.
Here are seven ideas to help jumpstart your eco-friendly travel planning, but keep in mind that you can practice eco-friendly travel anywhere:
Iceland continually tops lists as one of the most environmentally conscious countries in the world. It leans heavily on geothermal and hydro power for heat and electricity and is a leader in the fight against single use plastic. It’s also a leader in the fight for more sustainable fishing practices. Iceland has become more popular over the last 15 or so years, in regard to tourism, so be mindful of when you travel there and where within Iceland you travel, as well.
Working to be fossil fuel free by 2025, New Zealand is transitioning to take advantage of their abundant geothermal energy resources instead. 30% of New Zealand’s total area is national parks land, and many other areas are protected lands like the Wai-O-Tapu Geothermal Reserve.
Kruger National Park, South Africa
Kruger is home to The Big Five: lions, leopards, elephants, rhinos and buffalo, as well as hundreds of other mammals that call this land home. Hundreds of bird species also call Kruger home. Kruger National Park has nearly two million hectares of unfenced land where more mammals roam free than any other game reserve. It is considered one of the finest wildlife sanctuaries on the planet.
A model of low impact tourism has greatly helped in supporting Galapagos National Park and its total of 21 islands (with 18 of them considered significant). This park is also a UNESCO world heritage site. Wildlife in the Galapagos Islands is world renowned, including the Galapagos land iguana, marine iguana, and the giant Galapagos tortoise. They created the National Park to protect these endemic species that are believed to appear nowhere else in the world.
Costa Rica has been ranked as one of the best eco-friendly travel destinations in the world for years now. They are considered a leader in the ecotourism movement. They also banned hunting in 2012. Approximately 25% of Costa Rica is made up of national parks and biodiverse reserves. In the race to become carbon neutral, Costa Rica leads the way, as well. As a result of all of the above, it’s no surprise their biodiversity is virtually unparalleled.
San Francisco, California, USA
In 2003, San Francisco announced its plan to become zero waste. Since then, it continues to rank as one of the most eco-friendly cities in the world and is considered a global powerhouse in the eco-friendly scene. More than half of its local community either walks, bikes, or takes public transportation to work. It also prides itself on more sustainable food options, including a high number of vegetarian and vegan restaurants per capita.
Since 2009, Palau has been working on developing conservation initiatives to protect their diverse marine resources and promote ecotourism, while still understanding the importance of revenue from things like tourism. Palau is dedicated to not only protecting their reefs, where no fishing is allowed, but also educating locals and tourists alike so we can all understand the value and importance of reefs to a marine ecosystem. When you visit, check out an eco-lodge as potential accommodation.