There are a number of things that you can do to reduce the environmental footprint of your vacation and make it more ecofriendly. We have put together a number of green traveler tips for you.
Please let us know if you have a green travel tip that you would like to share. Just email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We will be happy to include your idea on our green traveller tips page.
Planning your holiday :
- Patronize hotels, airlines, tour operators that have credible reputations for their environmental- and socially responsible operations.
- Demand documentation of sustainable practices to make the final decision between two options or properties. Any environmentally-interested person can “walk their talk” by choosing a “green” hotel. As a guest you can easily and simply influence the environmental awareness of the whole tourist industry by careful placement of your $’s with hotels that are genuinely “green”.
- Use the internet as far as possible to gather information rather than having brochures sent and taking home many tour operator catalogues.
- Most travel guide books are now also on the internet or can be borrowed from the library rather than purchasing books that you may not use after the one trip to a particular country.
If you do buy one, pass it on to a friend who will also be grateful for your personal insights.
- Call up the local or regional Tourist Board offices of the country you plan to visit. They are generally knowledgeable and happy to help with planning your individually tailored vacation.
- Enquire if the hotel has a programme to which you could donate old clothes, books etc. with you. You can clear up some of the items you do not use anymore and give it as a gift to needy people in your holiday destination. A good way of recycling and helping others!
Before you Leave Home :
- Appliances such as TVs and cable converter boxes should be unplugged because they can draw as much as 40 watts per hour even when they’re off.
- Stop your newspaper. You may be able to donate it to a school or some other needy person.
- Consider carefully the packaging of toiletries and sun protection products. Many developing countries do not have recycling programmes for aluminium, plastics, toxic batteries etc. and the local infrastructure can not deal with these products either. Make sure you do not leave behind packaging that the hotel cannot deal with locally. Even better is to carry such items back with you.
- If you take detergent with you, please make sure it is phosphate free.
- To be on the safe side, do bring some mosquito repellent with you. Citronella is a very effective natural mosquito repellent – and smells very pleasant.
- Pack your binoculars with you.
Travel :Getting to Jamaica naturally means that you have to fly and with all the discussions about global warming and reducing carbon emissions many people feel that flying is a no-no. The aviation industry is often singled out as a major cause of global greenhouse gases when in fact its emissions are smaller than either road transport, power generation or deforestation. The airlines must meet the cost of thier environmental impact and they must work towards being as fuel efficient as possible. Those who plan flight routes should ensure that these are the shortest possible between destinations. Those of us who fly should fly more responsibly, look at offsetting programmes to neutralise the impact of our flights and try and strike a balance on a daily basis through conscious changes in lifestyle. So, before you decide to have a driving holiday somewhere rather than flying to Jamaica, just look at these numbers:
The average CO2 emissions (grams per passenger/kilometre travelled) produced by a 1.4 – 2 litre car: 136
The average CO2 emissions (grams per passenger/kilometre travelled) produced by a short haul flight: 132
The average CO2 emissions (grams per passenger/kilometre travelled) produced by a long haul flight: 107
Instead of those weekend short haul short-hops consider one long haul holiday destination for a memorable vacation. Jamaica, like most developing countries, depends heavily on tourism to drive its economy. Choose socially responsible accommodations, get out and discover the country, meet the people and leave your holiday dollars where they really count.
And there are some little things that you can do:
- Purchase electronic tickets for airline travel whenever possible. Less waste and you’re also apt to move ahead of the lines of people waiting with paper tickets.
- Enjoy walking tours. Walk where sensible.
- If you are driving, turn your motor off when idling. Encourage tour/bus driver to turn the motor off when idling.
- Don’t allow anything to be thrown out of your car windows – ever. Prevent littering by also addressing others who may do so.
- Take a thermos or water bottle with you. Get it filled at your hotel rather than buying plastic bottles and creating more waste.
- Take re-usable bags or light rucksacks for your shopping rather than taking plastic bags at the supermarkets. Help raise awareness that plastic bags add to the garbage problem by declining them and using your own bags.
Hotel Stays :
- When you leave your hotel room, turn off the fans/AC, lights, radio and any other electrical appliance.
- Recycle. Place recyclables in appropriate bins or on the counter.
Food / Restaurants :
- Avoid Styrofoam. Carry your own cup and snack box.
- Avoid carry-out.
- Respect and observe any close-out seasons such as for lobster. Do not order items that are on the endangered list such as conch.
- Try out local alternatives instead of always demanding foreign brand names or products.
Use the opportunity to discover new flavours and interesting new things.
- Take photos with a regular camera. Disposable cameras are very wasteful.
- Buy souvenirs made by local organisations and co-operatives. The money¬† benefits the communities and helps to ensure a higher quality of life for the host community.
- Avoid the standard “made in Taiwan or China” products that are mass produced and do not have contribute towards a sustainable and viable development. Do not buy souvenirs that use black coral or other protected plants and species.
Take only photographs. Do not take “souvenirs” from protected natural or heritage areas.
Leave only footprints. Take everything that you brought with you.
- Choose outdoor activities that do not pose a threat to the environment such as motor watersports.
- Enquire about community based tours. You can really learn a lot about the culture and learn from meeting people by taking tours organised by local organisations.
- Support conservation programmes.
- Volunteer your time, whether to speak to children in the school and share information about your career or assist with a specific project . Your contribution will have an impact.
- Build relations with destinations, by supporting destination stakeholders’ efforts to address sustainability issues and proactively contributing to conservation and development projects.
- Offset the carbon emissions resulting from your trip to Jamaica by supporting our carbon offsetting programme:
Buy eco-friendly products such as pump sprays, (no pressured aerosol tins), body care products in refillable bottles. Use plant and herbal based products. Avoid products that contain phosphates and chlorine as well as other dangerous chemicals
- Leave or donate your first aid kit to a school or organisatons such as local Aids groups that are grateful for every bit of assistance.
- Give yourself a pat on the back for doing all you can to protect Mother Earth.