(Eep! Arenal Volcano in Costa Rica, erupting. I've seen this! And I want to see it again! - Pic from guano.)
I've had a hankering lately to travel, although I'm in no way financially able. So in lieu of my dreamed travels, I wanted to talk about traveling responsibly. By traveling responsibly I mean (definition via Go Green Travel Green):
-Thinking about your impact on the environment (both the physical and social environment) when you travel.
-Doing your part to minimize your impact on the environment – so that tourism in your destination can be maintained in the long run.
-Understanding eco-friendly choices you can make.
-Making eco-friendly choices when they are options.
-Doing your research to be a responsible traveler.
-Saving money by making low-impact choices.
In this day and age it's absolutely vital that you travel responsibly. How far you go and how you get there is, no matter what, going to have an impact on the environment. Traveling by airplane has by far the worst affect on our environment. And the further you travel away from your home the more potential harm you will incur. But there are ways to cut down on this damage.
For instance, "voluntourism tours" are avaiable. These tours are where you volunteer in the area you are seeing so that you can do something good for the community you are visiting. Or, instead of paying someone to do it for you, you could just look into what local organizations are located in the particular area and contact the person in charge to set up some time where you could help them.
For accommodations, you could stay at a local (mom n' pop) hotel or do a home stay with a local family. It's important that you try to support the local businesses and economy and shop at places that has their profits go directly to the area, instead of shopping at big, commercial stores that you can find anywhere else in the U.S.
Here's some more resources you should check out if you are concerned about traveling responsibly on your next vayk!
-And check out Go Green Travel Green's blog. It's super-informative and fun to read!